It’s well past time to redefine and reprogram the definition of love. The days of wanting to have the Leave it to Beaver family are over! I grew up in the quintessential era of eighties romance novels. I genuinely believed that my whole value in life was based on a man asking to marry me. A ring meant I was valuable, worthy and loveable. Imagine my dismay when I realized that marriage was when the real work of “love” actually began. I learned that relationships didn’t solve all my problems like they did in the books. There were no hero's to rescue me and even worse I learned the intimacy I read about was merely that - a work of fiction. I believed in the version of love I had been conditioned to believe in so fully that even if I was being lied to, cheated on, and yelled at, I simply felt that if I just got to the third act it would all work out. It would of course work out, I had the ring after all.
After a brutal divorce, I decided to give into the pressure of everyone telling me that it was time to date again. You know that old adage- misery loves company :-) I still believed that I needed a partner to be happy. I met a man who started pouting at dinner because I offered to pay for my meal and he accepted the offer. He then fell into a bizarre display of accusing me of judging him. I reminded him I offered so why would I care? He just refused to believe me and ruined the whole evening. Another guy went on and on about how much more successful I was than him. It wasn’t a one-off comment, it was in every conversation- every single time. The message was clear he would never be happy unless he was more successful than me. Then there was this amazing man who was heartbroken that his wife had cheated on him and he had decided that I was going to be the one. I felt much more like his therapist than anything else, but he was looking me dead in the eyes and telling me that I was his forever and I remember sitting there realizing that he didn’t see me, he was seeing his own version of love and I was simply the placeholder for it.
I decided then and there that I was going to reprogram my definition of love and if that meant I was going to be single- well I was okay with that. Being alone was better than being a place holder. I truly and genuinely decided that I wanted real love in my life. Because of that life-changing decision, love has expanded so much in my life. I stopped chasing romantic love to be happy and focused instead on the love I had in my life. I have amazing kids that I love to hang out with. I have some amazing friends that challenge me, love me and support me. I have the most amazing loving dog that picks me all of the time. I have family members that love me and show up for me. I absolutely love the work that I do. I even bought myself a ring or two. I have the best memories over the last ten years and have worked extremely hard to look at myself in the mirror every day and say, “I love you.” It’s never been perfect, but man have I felt so incredibly blessed and loved.
Love for me is no longer just about a special relationship. If that happens and he can show up in a way where we lift each other up- then fantastic. If not, then I am quite content. I love myself enough, I know that I am extremely loved by some amazing people. That means never having to be upset about not having someone "special" on Valentine’s Day. Do you know how many Valentine Day’s were ruined for me because of arguments and false expectations? Way too many to count! No matter your relationship status today on this manufactured day of love- make the commitment to yourself that you are going to redefine your definition of love so that instead of waiting for someone else to show up, you can embody love and attract love for the expansion container/lesson that it is.
Questions to help you redefine your definition of love:
What programs are you still running from your childhood about how love should be showing up in your life?
If you could redefine love in your life what would it look like?
What would it look like to be free of past hurts and to love openly and freely?
What requests can you make, boundaries can you set to help you improve your current relationship?
Can you look in the mirror and say, “I love you, you incredible soul!!!”
Tune into what you have allowed love to mean in your life and make the decision today to challenge it. Define love for you in a way that works and let the rest go. There are no fairy tales, no rom com's or hero's. Just human's doing the best they can. Stop living for the "should's" and just choose to be loved as you are right now.
I love you!!