I just returned from a 10-day chip to China with my Dad. For me, that’s huge.
I don’t think I’ve ever spent 10 days straight with my Dad since my parents got divorced and he moved out when I was 11.
Just a few years ago, just going out to dinner with my Dad gave me anxiety. I was anxious and on edge around him.
My story about my dad was that he was critical and uncaring.
He did criticize me a lot when I was younger. He called me fat, laughed at me when I cried or made mistakes and would negatively focus on the one A minus in a report card full of A’s.
What I made that mean was that I wasn’t good enough. That he didn’t love me and that I had to be better to get his love.
And this hurt.
I had to find a way to protect myself.
So, what I learned to do every time his words stabbed me like a knife was shut down. I held my tears in until my throat felt like it would burst and closed my heart.
As a child, I didn’t have the tools to heal. To let my emotions out in a healthy way and let them move through me. So they stayed in me, buried underneath layers of “I’m tough.” “I don’t care” and “I don’t need his love anyway.”
But I did.
And since I didn’t think I had it, I went to men to get it.
As you can imagine, this didn’t work and ended in disaster every time.
What I didn’t know then that I know now, is that we project anything that is unhealed within us from our relationship with our dad onto our romantic partners.
Until we’re healed, men don’t really stand a chance, even if they’re great guys.
That was the case for me. I had men who literally adored and worshipped me, but somehow their love was never enough. I would invent reasons to be angry at them anyway, because subconsciously, I had been expecting them to fill the hole of my Dad’s love and was mad that it didn’t work.
Projection makes perception.
I found a way to recreate my past pain anyway no matter who I was with.
I’ve been working on healing myself for years and have come very far, but there was still a missing piece until my recent trip, some lingering pain that I could tell was negatively impacting my relationships with men.
I didn’t want to be in defense mode on the trip, bracing myself for the next criticism, so I made the decision before I went that I was just going to be present to the moment. That I was going to enter the trip as Nicole, the adult and that if my inner child felt hurt in any way, I would take care of her.
And a funny thing happened.
Because I finally chose to stop reacting to my Dad as if I was the wounded child, he literally changed before my eyes.
Since I wasn’t busy trying to protect myself from his next attack, I was able to just be with him and also be with my reactions to him.
I detached from my story of him and just saw him for who he was.
He stopped being the critical, uncaring father and he started being a real person, with his own weaknesses and strengths that have nothing whatsoever to do with me.
I saw that he just has a natural tendency to criticize, not just me but also his wife, my sister, people in the street…that’s just the way he is. (and it’s just a reflection of his relationship with himself)
When I was a kid and we were rushing to catch an Amtrak train, he would walk so far ahead of me and my sister and never turn his head back to see if we were still there. I though to myself “wow, he must not care about losing us!” I felt abandoned.
But as we walked the Great Wall of China, I noticed he did the same exact thing to his wife when she had to slow down to take a break! He didn’t look back..that’s just the way he is. And it doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her, just like it didn’t mean that he doesn’t love me.
Because I was more open to seeing my Dad for who he is, rather than the character in the story I had created about him, I was awake to his love. I noticed moments of tenderness where he would come by and squeeze my shoulder. I noticed that he cared enough about having my sister and me wit’s him that he paid for our entire trip.
The healing that I got on this trip was that I finally and truly understood that it’s not personal…he is the way he is. And that I don’t have to make his inability to love me perfectly mean anything bad about me.
What I feel now is freedom and release. A deep healing has begun. I feel a little more complete.
Do you have anything unhealed with your dad and could it be affecting your relationships with men?
Which of your Dad’s actions have you taken personally? What story have you made up about him that might not be the truth?
What did you make his inability to love you perfectly and exactly how you wanted mean about you?
Choose to step back from the story and the drama today and see your Dad for who he is/was. Another soul on this planet doing the best he can with what he’s got.
It’s not personal. Nothing really is anyway.
And you are already loved. I promise.
My life makes me cry…really.
Sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my life that tears of gratitude fall down my face. I really love my life.
I posted this comment on Facebook last week that illustrates exactly how I feel:
“Sometimes I cry when I remember how beautiful the world is.
Moments like these usually happen through the senses…hearing beautiful music, smelling a rose, tasting something so good it makes me smile, reading an exquisite poem, taking in gorgeous scenery.
Sometimes it happens through watching people. And of course, there are those moments that can only be felt with the heart.
Find the things, people and experiences that make you feel so damn lucky to be alive. It makes life a lot more fun. ”
Now, I know you might be thinking “yeah, well great for her….she must just be a naturally happy person. But it’s not true.
In fact, not too long ago I cried almost every day but for a very different reason. I felt miserable all of the time and I was so severely addicted to negativity that every day was a struggle.
I felt like a failure because I couldn’t enjoy my life.
Have you ever felt like that?
Well, as you might guess, my negative state took a severe toll on my love life….I’ve even had multiple men dump me because they tried everything they could to make me happy and it didn’t work….OUCH.
And I see it happening for a lot of women right now too.
I see that a lot of women are simply miserable and they’re secretly hoping for a man to come in and save them from their misery.
Or, they’ve got a man but they’re still miserable and they’re trying to fix their life through fixing him.
It’s not our fault. It’s been ingrained in us since childhood.
Think of all of those fairytales we grew up with. Cinderella was sweeping floors, Sleeping Beauty was asleep, Ariel was trapped in the ocean….those women were leading downright boring and dull lives until their princes came in and saved them!
As women, we’re trained since birth to source our happiness and love from outside of ourselves. But it doesn’t work that way.
And here’s what I know to be true from personal experience: If you’re not happy to begin with, a guy can’t magically make you happy.
If you make romantic love your only source of happiness or love, you’re setting yourself up for disaster.
The truth is: the only way you and your relationship can survive is if you cultivate love and happiness on your own.
If you want to be a better girlfriend, wife or date, or be the one he chooses, your own happiness is the key.
Are you crying more out of misery than out of joy right now?
Here are 3 steps to cultivate more happiness from within starting now:
Step 1: DECIDE to be Happy – A Course in Miracles says, “Happiness is a decision I must make.” You must decide that from now on, you feeling good is your #1 priority. Start every day telling yourself “I want to feel good” and orient your day toward making sure that happens.
Step 2: Make a list of all the things that make you happy/all the things that bring you pleasure. (If this is hard to do at first, don’t sweat it. Think back to when you were a kid and go from there.)
Step 3: Do at least 1 thing a day that makes you feel happy, pleasured or grateful.
It’s deceptively simple but, over time, the small shifts add up.
If you want to fall in love, start by falling in love with life. Seek the beauty and happiness that is available to you every day. It’s there already…all you have to do is pay more attention.
Then your man can be another beautiful thing in your already beautiful life.
PS: Not being happy and being addicted to negative thinking is one of the biggest ways women sabotage themselves in love. If you want to break free from what’s blocking you from being a confident, happy woman in love, The Save Your Love Life Intensive is perfect for you.
You’ve been deeply hurt in love before. And it’s scary to really open up again.
I get it. Really, I do.
I’ve been dumped by my first love (who said he would marry me), cheated on, rejected, had my soul mate break up with me (we got back together) and been through hell and back in love numerous times.
So I know firsthand that when you feel hurt by someone you love, the first instinct is to want to close your heart to protect you from more pain.
If feels safer to hold back, put up walls, be cautious and never ever risk your heart fully so you don’t end up repeating the same mistake or looking like a fool.
But that’s actually the most dangerous thing you can do.
Because, here’s the thing: love does not equal pain. And if you conflate the two, you may find yourself staying stuck and never really getting the love that you want.
Human beings naturally move toward pleasure and away from pain.
So if you’ve mixed up love with pain in your mind, there’s a good chance that you will block yourself from what you want most as a form of protection.
Think about it:
What’s the thing that happened in love that you NEVER want to have happen again. Maybe you were left, cheated on, rejected or never chosen by the ones you chose.
I invite you to consider that if you don’t have the love that you want right now it’s because you’re spending way too much time (in your thoughts actions and reactions) trying to prevent that thing from ever happening again.
This might look like not dating for 3 years straight because you don’t want to face rejection again or dates that lead to nowhere.
Or not being able to trust your current boyfriend because you were cheated on in the past.
Or pushing someone away first because you’re terrified of being left again.
The voice of fear tells you that you need to listen to it in order to stay safe.
But that’s the biggest lie there is.
Because Fear DOES NOT keep you safe, it keeps you from what you want most.
And if you take actions from a place of fear it only ever leads to more fear.
A Course in Miracles says “we create what we defend against”.
If you fear rejection, you create it.
If you fear being left, you create it.
So if you’re trying to protect yourself from being hurt again in love right now, I’m here to tell you that that it simply doesn’t work.
That pain that you imagine will happen if you go for it in love hasn’t actually happened yet. In this moment you are safe. And it’s in this present moment where the love that you want can be created.
The real truth is that your self-protection actually makes you most vulnerable to the thing you probably fear most, which is never experiencing deep, unshakable love.
That kind of love only happens when your walls are down and you are truly open to love.
So, take a moment and get really present. Ask yourself: what do I most want in love right now?
And what am I afraid will happen if I go for it?
What pain from the past am I putting into the future and assuming will happen if I do?
Here’s the good news: The thing that you fear most…that pain you never want to experience again. You’ve already been through it.
You’ve already faced your worst fear AND lived through it. You may still be bruised from what you went though.
But even bruised, you are so much stronger than you think. And if you were hit with pain again, you would be able to handle it. I promise.
And if you think about it, it’s a lot scarier to never have what you want in love than to face something you’ve’ve already been through and survived.
It makes no sense to deprive yourself of something pleasurable in the present (love) because you’re afraid of pain (loss, heartbreak) in the future.
When you really, really get that, your life will shift. Mine certainly did.
And when I got it, I decided that I was going to go for love in the present moment, no matter what.
Because the truth is, there are no guarantees in love. And no matter what we do, we are all going to experience hurt again.
So why not pack the present with as much pleasure (love) as possible and leave the pain for when it actually happens?
If you’ve been waiting for permission to go for it anyway, even if you’re scared, here it is.
Go for it anyway. Go for love, because it’s what you really want.
PS: If you want to detox the past pain and fear from your love life (LOVE BLOCKS) so you can move confidently and fearlessly toward love, The Save Your Love Life Intensive is the PERFECT next step!