When our hearts become clouded with the complex circumstances of life, our romantic lives often suffer. Even psychotherapists, like myself, are human and need strategies to navigate our romantic lives! The good news is that we possess the power to create compassionate, loving relationships with ourselves, ergo fostering fertile ground to grow abundant love in our lives.
Love is our birthright and there are so many barriers that stand between us and the love we seek. Love also spans far beyond romantic love. In fact, self-love is truly the most transformative love of all.
Managing our inner weather is a key component to staying connected to a deep sense of love within. Imagine the bright, radiating sun on a stormy day. Although grey and ominous clouds blanket the sky, the sun continues to reside behind the clouds, emanating with warmth. Imagine your heart as the radiant sun and the clouds as depression, anxiety, stress, insecurity and self-destructive thoughts. When our hearts are clouded, and our inner light feels dim, it becomes difficult to connect with a sense of self-love, connection, and belonging. Awareness of our “cloudiness” provides a powerful opportunity to shift from darkness to light.
It starts with you. Below I’ve mapped out 3 Strategies for Mindfully Creating Love In Your Life:
We can easily become preoccupied with love we’re seeking externally, overlooking our deep need for self-love. Remember, there’s a correlation between how we feel towards ourselves and how others feel about us. In other words, the more we can align with truly loving our authentic self, the more we can create love through romantic relationships and beyond. As a mindfulness-based psychotherapist, I often encourage my clients to create a mantra of love for themselves. For example, as you breathe in and out, repeat the mantra “I love the human that I am.” Our inner narrative matters and begins to create how we see ourselves in the world. We ALL are deserving of untethered loved ~ but it begins within. Make self-love a daily practice to awaken your heart to joy, meaning and presence.
Compassion is an emotion characterized by the sense of shared suffering in the world. We see compassion through acts of empathy, kindness and acceptance. Our hearts are fertile ground to plant seeds of compassion that we can nurture every day. For starters, begin each morning with a simple ritual. The Dalai Lama suggests meditating on this passage: “Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” When we practice compassion towards self, the world shines compassion back at us. Remember, others are on a path just like ours.
Feeling a sense of love in your life starts from the inside out. In order to create the space for authentic love in your life, it’s imperative that you learn about your blind spots through vulnerability. Do you react with aggressive contempt when you perceive that your partner is blaming you for something? Be curious about your patterns of emotional reaction, communication and ways of connecting (or disconnecting). Acknowledge that part of being human means having blind spots and approach your heart with kindness when exploring your patterns of being in the world (cue your compassion practice). Cultivating awareness of maladaptive patterns creates freedom from the shackles of our destructive default modes of interacting. But it takes vulnerability to shift into authentic love. Psychotherapy, meditating, journaling, introspection and talking with loved ones all support the heart opening and healing process.
It’s important to approach this process with acceptance – we’re exactly where we should be on our journey’s path at any given moment. With our thoughts, inner spirits and intentions, we create the world. Cultivate self-love, compassion, and self-awareness to clear space for the love you deserve both within and without.