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To find love, you have to unlearn all you know about it.
I am in conversation with one of my clients:
“It was when I shared some of my poetry with him—which made me feel more naked than naked—that I got hooked. This is when I fell in love with him. This is when it became important.”
I celebrate her ability to witness her own process, to notice the moment when she got access to the feeling of love that we all crave and usually expect to come from outside.
This moment is key to understanding the origin of love.
Our love dwells within us. It gets activated in moments of vulnerable sharing of ourselves with others. It is not something we get from anyone. The misconception that love gets delivered to us by others is at the root of much of our suffering.
As children, we had our needs for love and attention filled by other people, the caregivers in our lives. Since then, we have held on to this idea that love is something we get from others. Depending on our attachment history—how well and consistently our caregivers were able to respond to our needs—we seek for love to be delivered in a particular way. Through further cultural imprint, we learn that love is received and given via various love languages, which we must know and master.
There is a whole coded dance around the “delivery” of love as we try to ensure that we can “get” it in the specific way that we crave it.
Meanwhile, the reality of romantic relationships often seems to be disempowering, codependent, possessive, and focused on preventing heartbreak. Because of our woundedness, most of our conversation around love these days has to do with boundaries, barriers, and walls, as well as cautionary stories of narcissists, gaslighting, and cancel culture.
So love—this transformative force that has inspired unlimited creative output—has become in our modern relationships something to protect, to be vigilant with, and not “give away” to just anyone.
Of course, I used to be caught in that dance, too. It led me to become a bitter, disappointed, and shriveled-up version of myself.
A wife in a decades-long marriage and a mother of three children, I was expected to be thriving in the stability of a love supply that such an arrangement was supposed to provide me with.
Except, contrary to this popular myth, I was not thriving at all. I got to the point of complete and utter exhaustion, depression, and apathy. The love that I worked so hard on “getting”—mostly through self-sacrifice and extinguishing of my own desires and needs for the benefit of others—was not forthcoming in any lasting or sustainable way.
Having worked with hundreds of women since, I know that what happened to me is more the norm than the exception.
What our codependent parents did not model to us and what we never learned from Disney movies is that love is an internal process. It does not come from the outside, and we do not have to sacrifice ourselves to get it.
Love is fully self-sourced. And it is our responsibility to cultivate it from within.
It was only through finally understanding this precious nugget of truth that I have been able to come back to a life of passion, vibrancy, and meaning. I have become a better mother, a better partner, and now have the privilege of guiding others to reconnect to their own love supply and become fully self-sourced in love and in life.
When we enter our relationships not as beggars, but as generous givers from the overflow of our own love supply, our relationships become transformed.
Love is an energy rising due to something that correlates to our attachment wounds. Yes, the person with whom we develop a romantic story has something that we want. But it is not love.
That something we seek is connection—a safe space where we can finally take off our masks and be ourselves, where our own vulnerability is reflected back to us through the admiring eyes of another. We want to be reassured that we are lovable and worthy, regardless of how imperfect we think we are. It gets complicated when we seek acceptance from others before we’ve worked on accepting ourselves.
The love we think we want from others does not come from them.
Have you ever been aching from a breakup or an unreciprocated love when someone else told you they loved you? These words spoken by someone else did not heal the ache, right? No, only the person for whom we were pining could “fix” the ache.
This means it is not love from the outside that we need. Rather, it is healing our own specific wound around rejection or abandonment that will heal our pain.
The fact is, we shut off our own love supply when someone rejects us. Often, that feeling of rejection is what our ego-mind jumps to in a familiar mind loop, sourced from our past. The actual situation may not even be a rejection, but our own perception of what happened, filtered through our baggage, which leads to the familiar feeling of unworthiness that shut off our love supply the first time the wound happened.
How many of us actually understand what Rumi meant in his beloved words: “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it?”
The work I promote—the work of freeing our love supply by identifying and removing inner barriers—is centered around reconnecting to ourselves through somatic exercises. When we process and transmute our emotions from amorphous feelings to tangible physical sensations, we free the energy trapped in the disempowering mind-based story about what happened to us in the past.
This process allows the suppressed and discarded parts of ourselves—the parts trapped in the stories we have created in response to our trauma—to come back online. It is this integration of these fractured parts of ourselves that releases the euphoric flow of energy we call love: our own coming to wholeness.
Self-sourcing love is empowering. Reestablishing the connection with self, we remove the obstacles to the love supply within us. We can then share ourselves vulnerably and give love generously through an open heart and the resulting sense of abundance.
We no longer give love in order to get love.
We now give love from an overflow, moved by our own overwhelming impulse to share, not requiring anything in return. We’ve let go of the past and can live fully in the present moment, allowing the experience with another to unfold organically, not holding them responsible for healing our wounds, nor obliging them to stay forever in order to avoid any future heartache.
So, what I was able to unpack with my client was that the moment she felt in love was actually the moment of her own vulnerable self-revelation. It was before any feedback came from the outside. It was an act of surrender and trust.
This is the ultimate act of self-love: we love and value ourselves enough to reveal our most delicate parts, our inner treasure, beyond boundaries and self-protecting walls. It is through this act of giving of oneself that we actually receive love—our own.
When we are met and understood in that moment of self-revelation, when our precious gift is cherished and celebrated, a strong sense of connection is established. We feel safe to be our vulnerable selves and we bask in our own beauty reflected in the loving and admiring eyes of another.
When we are safe and free to be ourselves, love is sure to grow.
And when the person to whom we have shown ourselves in our nakedness is not capable to receive our love—due to their own inner barriers to love—we must remember that we shared from the overflow of our own love supply. That our love is ours and that no one can ever take it away.
We can go on with our lives, connected to our wholeness and inner abundance, not needing to manipulate anyone to stay, or to persuade the person unable to see us that we are lovable.
The future of our relationships, and indeed the future of humanity, hinges on our ability to tap into our own love supply. To tap into this love—which is really our life force—and let it flow through us, unhindered, spilling on everyone and everything in our lives through uncensored creative self-expression, for the benefit of all.