As human beings, we instinctively long for connection with other people. Yet sometimes, creating a connection is difficult. If you want to have a loving relationship but are having trouble creating one, it’s helpful to look at your inner thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes. You may be blocking yourself from love without even realizing it.
The Three Blocks to Love
The most important factor in forming a deep connection with another person is found within your own mind. There are three things to consider. They are self-love, unrealistic expectations, and resentments.
Let’s start with self-love. Self-love is an unconditional feeling of love, acceptance and appreciation for yourself. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being. Self-love doesn’t mean that you are egotistical. Instead, self-love allows you to see both your abilities and your limitations without allowing them to determine your self-worth. Self-love is more than just taking time out to pamper yourself; it is an ongoing awareness of your emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
With self-love, you view yourself as deserving the love of others rather than seeing yourself as inadequate or unworthy. Self-love is essential for loving relationships. If you’re unable to love yourself, it’s difficult to love other people. Simply put, what you don’t have you can’t give.
Self-love in relationships gives you the confidence to communicate your true feelings, even at the risk of disappointing your loved one. You won’t feel guilty when you say “no” to someone. You’ll feel confident when choosing the right person to date and determining what you’ll put up with or walk away from. Perhaps most importantly, self-love allows you to feel good about yourself without needing validation from others. You can be content, with or without a significant other in your life.
What hinders self-love?
The critical voices inside your head can block you from self-love. Sadly, most of us find it easier to judge ourselves rather than to love ourselves. The problem is that if you’re in the habit of judging yourself, you’ll be prone to judging your loved ones too. In the words of Mother Theresa, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
These critical voices originated from our childhood influences, most notably, our parents and caregivers. They acted like mirrors and reflected back to you an image of who they wanted you to be. So rather than embracing your own uniqueness, you had little choice but to meet their expectations. This may have set you up for a life-long pattern of needing acceptance from other people at the expense of being true to yourself.
The way to develop self-love is to begin talking to yourself with compassion and love. Consider the idea that there is no “right” or “wrong” way for you to be, you only need to be who you authentically are. By doing this, you’ll be able to love others without trying to change them.
The second block to love is having unrealistic expectations. An expectation is a strong belief in something happening in the future and being disappointed when it doesn’t happen. It’s unrealistic to think that falling in love will solve all your problems or that your partner will always know what you need from him or her. The truth is that a relationship reflects how happy you are within yourself.
The falling in love stage of a relationship is wonderful. However, after a few months or years, the exuberance you once felt wanes, and a new reality sets in. You may not be as happy as you once were or begin to see things about your partner that you don’t like. Many people don’t realize these things are a normal part of every relationship and not something you need to pull away from.
If you’ve ever made a list of the qualities you desire in your significant other you may have written down things like, “affectionate, trustworthy, and supportive.” While your desire for these qualities is valid, it’s important to understand that they are subjective. Sometimes our partner can’t be there the way we expect him or her to be. And likewise, we can’t be who our partner wants us to be all the time. Making demands based on unrealistic expectations can cause your partner to pull away or even leave the relationship.
The way to transform unrealistic expectations is to identify them and let them go. It’s good to communicate your expectations to your partner, without making demands. The more transparent you are with your partner, the clearer you are about how to be there for each other and what your limitations are.
The third way to open yourself to love is by letting go of resentments. A resentment is a negative emotional reaction arising from your perception of being treated unfairly by another person. You may be carrying resentments about your parents, siblings, exes, or others.
Resentments are blocks to love because they can act like ticking time bombs. If you’ve ever felt triggered by something another person said or did, it’s because of an underlying resentment. A common term for this is “baggage.” Baggage makes it difficult to form a deep connection with another person.
The way to release your resentments and make peace with your past is through forgiveness. When you practice forgiveness, it doesn’t mean that what happened to you was right. Rather, it means that you are no longer going to let the negative emotions associated with it continue to affect your life. You don’t have to forget what happened but when you forgive you no longer feel angry or hurt by it.
Many of us think that if we let go of a resentment it benefits the person that caused the resentment. Contrary to that belief, letting go of a resentment helps you by releasing the toxic energy the resentment causes while festering in your body. The common phrase “Holding on to resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die” is a powerful way to help you see that the only person that you’re hurting when you hold onto a resentment is yourself.
Forgiveness helps you cultivate compassion, both towards yourself and others. Becoming a more compassionate person also builds gratitude. You’ll be able to see your partner with kindness and acceptance, which are the cornerstones of loving relationships.
In conclusion, the key to building loving relationships is within your own mind. Your inner beliefs create your outer reality. You don’t have to allow pain from the past to interfere with finding love today. Through insight and awareness, you gain the power to form deep loving connections with yourself and others.
Article by Elizabeth Golembiewski
Elizabeth Golembiewski is a Certified Dating, Relationship, and Spiritual Life Coach in Austin, TX specializing in codependency. Elizabeth helps people gain deep insight into the cause of their difficulties and then guides them to heal the emotional wounds and thought processes that keep them stuck. Her past struggles with dating, relationships, and codependency serve as a powerful source for the work she does with clients. She has over ten years of successfully coaching singles and couples, facilitating singles groups, and holding workshops. Her expertise has been sought out by local and national media. She welcomes your connection!
Learn more about Elizabeth’s work at https://www.buildlovingrelationships.com.