We’ve been fueled by fairytales of being rescued from drudgery like Cinderella or awakened from a long sleep by the magic of a kiss like Sleeping Beauty. We women have envisioned ourselves as damsels to be rescued, while men pictured themselves as heroes riding up on white horses.
Classic literature, modern music, and movies haven’t done us any favors either. We’ve mooned over the obsessive love of Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights with its “I can’t survive without you” mentality. Love songs have taught us that passion is all about somehow blending into each other until there are no boundaries left. This has left us conditioned to believe that we aren’t in love unless we lose ourselves. While a certain amount of surrender to love is both necessary and beneficial, giving ourselves up to another person is not.
Then, there’s the “finding The One” mentality, underwritten by countless movies and romance novels. But have you noticed how almost all romantic comedies end right before all the hard stuff begins? By the “hard stuff,” I mean the reality of living together day-to-day, among the stresses of paying the bills, doing chores, and taking care of the kids. Not to mention all the psycho-emotional baggage we all carry with us from childhood.
Many of the people I’ve coached, both men and women, have assimilated the belief that if they find “The One,” they won’t ever have to feel lonely, sad, or rejected again. We look for a relationship that will provide us with validation and approval. But that’s a myth, and that myth is a trap. My apologies if I’m the one breaking the bad news here, but relationship won’t prevent you from feeling any of those unpleasant emotions. The only person who can ease your feelings of loneliness, sadness, or rejection is you. The only person who can validate you and give you the approval you seek is you.
I do believe that “true love” and easy relationships are possible for people who’ve already done the hard work of learning these lessons. But the truth is that until you love and accept yourself, no one else’s validation is going to stick. You’ll want to believe their praise, but you won’t believe it at the deepest unconscious levels. Because of this, you’ll just need validation again the next day…and the next day…and the next. Have you ever known anyone who needed to be validated all the time? It’s exhausting.
That’s what I meant when I said that healthy relationship is really about loving yourself. Relationships remain on shaky ground when you require someone else to determine your worthiness. That’s because no one else can guarantee your worth. You’re inherently worthy, and it’s up to you to take that in and truly believe it.