I remember when being single over the age of 30 was a shameful stigma. The cock of the eyebrow and the annoying questions, “Oh really? What’s wrong, dear? Why aren’t you married yet?” As though that were really anyone’s business. Thankfully, that horrid humiliation is quickly becoming a distant memory, as two years ago, for the very first time, unmarried people in America surpassed married ones by .2%.
Making ours the most unmarried generation in recorded human history.
The reasons for this are one of great debate. Yes, we’re collectively waiting longer to marry. Yes, it’s easier now to get a divorce than it was a generation ago. Yes, the crazy internet culture has now given us so many choices that it’s harder than ever to just choose one person. And yes, new and creative “alternative families” that do not fit the traditional forms of family are popping up at an unprecedented rate and messing with our stats.
But basically, if you’re someone who really wants to fall in love and settle down, as the years tick tick tick by with no mate in site, then you’re basically just sad and confused. And trying desperately to at least understand why it’s been so insanely hard to find something we assumed was just our birthright.
In trying to make sense of our perpetual single status,
most of us assume that our biggest obstacles to love
are outside of ourselves, and therefore not really in our control.
In all of our questing for answers, we finally arrive at some tough-to-face conclusions.
That there really are no good men out there.
That women are just gold diggers.
That by now, all the good ones really have already been taken.
That men really don’t like women who are more successful than they are.
Or that women just want too much. (Putting men in the impossible position of having to be financially successful while also spiritually and psychologically sophisticated in ways only those who’ve had the idle time to grow these capacities might have.)
At some point, though, most of us will come to the conclusion that we just haven’t met the right person, covertly putting the blame on our careers and/or our educational and creative pursuits. (All the while, secretly fearing that maybe we’ve never actually been the right person, pointing to our jagged histories in love as evidence that a great relationship just might not be in the stars for us this lifetime.)
Yet all of these notions have one thing in common. They leave us utterly powerless to manifest the loving and fulfilling relationship we desire.
Yet, what if I told you
that your biggest barriers to love
are internal rather than external?
And that these inner obstacles, once identified, are easily transformed? That once you understand the unconscious ways you may be covertly sabotaging your chances for love and what you can do instead, your power of choice is restored, and you will be liberated to evolve beyond your serial disappointments in love.
After all, over 4 million people find love
and get married in America each year.
Why shouldn’t you be one of them?
While you may be wishing, hoping and praying to meet “The One,” there may be some parts of you that may be ambivalent about and actually working against finding committed love. There are parts of you that may still be stuck in the past. Or operating out of some antiquated ideas that have you feel unsafe to open up your heart up fully to another person. That deep down inside, you might question whether or not you deserve to have love, or clandestinely believe that if you let yourself find love, that you’d somehow be hurting someone else (like your mom who was never very happy in love, or your older sister who never had much luck in love.)
Let’s look at some of these most common internal barriers to finding love that could be preventing you from finding happiness in love, and find out what we can do to become internally congruent with the relationships we are wanting to bring into our lives.
Festering Resentments (Particularly Towards a Former Love)
If you’re still struggling with unresolved feelings of hurt and anger, it’s probably for good reason. Your former love probably did do some pretty rotten things that cost you greatly. He did lie to you. She was incredibly selfish.
Yet here’s the thing about resentment. Whenever we find ourselves still ruminating about what someone else did or did not do that left us feeling victimized, mistreated, abused or abandoned, we are failing to use our pain to help us learn from our mistakes.
Even if it was 97% the other person’s fault,
you want to be really interested in your 3%.
Because in understanding your part (even if it was passive like “I didn’t speak up,” “I ignored the red flags,” or “I turned away from my own knowing”) is what will point you in the direction of the growth you’ll need to make in order to trust yourself to never make those same mistakes again.
Bottom line: Learn your lessons! Look to discover your part clearly so you can identify the amends you’ll need to make to yourself moving forward by promising to never, ever do that again. In doing so, you will begin to trust yourself to do things differently from now on so you can then open your heart to someone new.
Old Agreements That Now Need Renegotiating
Another one of our biggest internal obstacles to love has to do with the prior agreements we’ve made that may be limiting what’s possible for us to create at this stage of our lives. The vow you made to your former lover that you’d never love anyone more than you loved him. Or the promise you made to your kids to always be there for them 110%. Or the pact you made with yourself to never ever, ever allow anyone to ever hurt you again.
The agreements you’ve made will serve as intentions
and covertly influence your actions & choices
for years after you’ve made them, even if you’ve long ago
forgotten you even made them.
Bottom line: Take an inventory of all of the old agreements you’ve made with the various people you’ve loved over the years and update the ones that no longer serve you or anyone else!
“Toxic Tie” Relational Dynamics with People Who Are Important to You
A “Toxic Tie” is an on-going relationship that is characterized by fear, obligation and guilt, where you may be continually losing personal power and showing up as less than who you are.
These connections tend to be with people who are important to us, and who we depend upon in some way; a boss, a parent or a life-long friend. We think we have to put up with their abuse or we fear we’ll lose the relationship. And so we give in, and allow the person with the least amount of maturity to dictate the terms of the connection.
Yet it’s impossible to create a mutually empowering
romantic partnership that brings out the best of who you are,
while staying in a “toxic tie” relationship
that is clearly bringing out the worst.
Bottom line: Notice who you’ve been giving your power away to and begin to set appropriate boundaries to restore integrity and health to the relationship. The other person may not like it but he or she will learn to adjust. You will feel a greater sense of self-esteem, which is imperative to attracting in the highest and best partner for you in this lifetime.
Once you become internally congruent with the future you are committed to creating for yourself, you will begin to feel much more empowered to be one of the lucky ones in love.