I suppose now is as good a time as any to get up close and personal; lets talk about love.
I grew up with my head firmly stuck to every romance novel I could get my hands on, including, the great loves of Heathcliff and Cathy (Wuthering Heights) and Romeo and Juliet (which I can still quote word for word!). I would spend many summer days, riding on my bicycle dreaming of moments in time when I would finally be swept off my feet by the love of my life, who would whisper sweet, loving words to fill my soul and dance with me in the moonlight.
You can imagine my horror then at discovering that love was more complex than that. From the minute I started dating as a teen, I went through a landslide of bad relationships, kissing far too many frogs who didn't turn into princes, and yet, every time thinking that maybe, just maybe, this one would be different. Sure enough, all it took was a little time and my dreams would be shattered again.
And with each broken heart this is what happened, the light within me started to dim, I started to believe it was MY fault because I wasn't loveable. I told myself that love escaped me because I didn't deserve it, I wasn't fun enough, or beautiful enough, or smart enough, I simply just wasn't enough. A boyfriend of 5 years actually told me that there were women you want to have at home and women you want on your arm. I apparently was a woman you wanted to have at home - it was meant as a compliment but hit me like a slap in the face.
The trouble was that these beliefs became my truths. And those truths followed me into every relationship I had and patterns started to emerge, one after the other. The trouble with core beliefs is that unless you look them square in the face and stand up to them, challenging the "truth" about them, they stick like glue and follow you wherever you go. I have often said to my clients who want to walk away from relationships, to be mindful, because wherever they go, they will be taking themselves with them.
And that's what happened to me, recreating the same old story over and over again and every bottom line ended up reaffirming the belief that I wasn't worthy of love. That is, until I realised that all this conditioning designed to falsely keep me safe, was actually hindering me from finding true love. I started to look at my beliefs and stand up to them. I started to unpick them, I laid them out in all their ugliness and I thanked them for trying to keep me safe but that I no longer needed them. I saw every bad relationship of my past and rewrote each story to set myself free. And truth is, I tapped the heck out of it.
For sure, even now, there will be the odd occasion when a smidge of old thinking creeps back in and wrecks havoc but I am more equipt now to see it for what it is and am able to remind myself that every negative thought I think will simple produce negative results, and this allows me the space to shift out of who I believed I was, into who I wish to be and most importantly, into who I really am.
Am I still a believer of true love? Yes I am. Love makes the world keep turning - you just need to step out of your own way! Truth is, I remain true to who I was without all the limitations and false beliefs; I am openly obsessive about love, believing that it is the cure to all ills and the reason we exist, to love fully, openly and wildly. Give me any difficult situation and I can turn it around with a slathering of pure love. With all things in life, I am learning with each experience, with each unravelling of the old, that my true happiness doesn't lie with anyone else, my true happiness lies within me and it begins where I always knew it did, with love.
May this Valentine's Day be a true reminder that love can change the world beginning with your own. Love yourself first and the rest will follow.
"To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance" - Oscar Wilde
Now that's the truth.