Every single one of us is looking for love whether we’re conscious of it or not. Some of us rationalize their desire away by hiding it under a thick layer of fear and uncertainty, but deep down we all know that we’re yearning for this feeling of experiencing and sharing love. It’s imprinted in our human DNA and there’s no way of escaping it. Unfortunately, many of us have had some bad experiences in the name of “love” which has created resistance towards this blissful experience. Some manage to ignore the desire for a couple of months or even years and others project their love on their children or an animal, but deep inside we feel that we’re merely filling a gap. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with these forms of love, but most people continue feeling this emptiness inside, no matter how hard they try to create love in their lives. Why is it so difficult for us to find love? In my opinion, it’s because we try to control and “catch” love instead of just allowing it into our lives.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers you have built against it.”
There’s no better way to put it. The goal is to clear the barriers which keep us from letting in the love. The reason we’re so afraid of love is not because of love, but because of the obstacles we’ve created. What we perceive as love is not necessarily love and deep inside we know that, which is why we continue longing it for it. The problem is when we expect the answer to come from the outside (simply meeting a better, more considerate, more loving etc. partner), rather than looking for the solution inside. I don’t mean that you as a person have to change, that you have to become a better person. No, all you have to do is to have an honest look at your inner blocks. Those blocks have nothing to do with your personality, but do affect the way that you behave which eventually influences your chances of receiving love. We might think that we simply don’t meet the right person (or any person for that matters), but since we are vibrational beings, we always attract whatever vibrates within us. What we see in our outside world is a reflection of what goes on inside. Does that mean that pure and loving souls never encounter problems or difficulties? No, they do live through hardship, but will most probably regard those experiences as lessons.
So, if you’re finding yourself in a situation where you’d really want to attract love or you’re feeling empty and lonely, let me help you to uncover some of the most common love-barriers which are actually always based on false beliefs. If we wouldn’t hold a false belief about love and we’d be able to see it just the way it is, we’d undoubtedly attract it in no time and the feeling of emptiness would vanish instantly.
Limiting Belief #1: Love is Painful & Pain is Bad
This is probably the number 1 reason for people to either stay single or to only commit on a superficial level. We all probably know someone (or have been this person) who allegedly is “not ready” for a relationship or who downright doesn’t want to have one. There’s no problem in being a happy single, but whenever people actively refuse a relationship or any form of love, something smells fishy to me. Maybe because I’ve uttered those words far too often myself and I know that those statements didn’t come from the bottom of my heart.
Does it make sense that people would actively not want to experience love? Obviously not and that’s why those people only say those things when they hold the false belief that love is painful. When we believe that love is painful, we might feel very vulnerable and defenseless when we fully open our hearts. Keeping love at bay and erecting an armour around our hearts, makes us believe we are safe from harm. Some people choose this protective shield consciously by proclaiming that they’re happier alone than with a partner or that a friend with benefit is just so much easier than a real partner. But in some cases (and I’m talking from my own experience again), this protection is a lot more subconscious. I always thought that I was open to love (most of the time) and that I was willing to meet someone. The fact that I never met anyone and spent most of my life single, was simply the result of me being a very happy single who wasn’t actively searching for anyone. To a certain extent this was true, but once I started to observe myself a little closer, I realized that this was partially a subconscious self- sabotage which would keep me from having a relationship and therefore from harm.
First of all, I noticed that I placed 99.9% of every guy I met directly into the friend zone. After all, friends are safer than partners, right? I get along with guys very well and I still want to keep my male friendships, but at a certain point I realized that even when I met some potentially great guys, I wouldn’t even give them a chance. As much as I wanted to fall for a “good guy”, I kept falling for the bad guys. Obviously, on a vibrational level they were exactly what I needed and I’m very grateful for the many lessons I have learnt which has been reflected by my most recent ex-partner, who, for a change, was a good guy.
Next to not giving a guy a fair chance and directing them instantly into the friend zone, I also started to realize that I didn’t even look at guys. I always wondered how my friends and colleagues could see all those “cute guys” and all I saw was just people. Subconsciously, I was so terrified of falling in love (which potentially meant being hurt again), that I didn’t even want to see those potential matches, blocking them right from the start.
So, how do we deal with this wall around our hearts? How can we start to fearlessly invite people into our lives? First of all, we need to get real about the fact that we’re the only ones that can hurt ourselves. We choose whether someone can hurt us or not. And with this I don’t mean that you can control your feelings and you can decide that something doesn’t hurt you anymore. I mean that it’s your choice how to deal with your pain. If we allow our pain to be a healing factor, then we diminish the chance of getting hurt about the same subject again. Knowing that every pain we feel is a reflection of a part within ourselves that needs healing, makes it so much easier to gracefully accept our pain. In the end, love can be painful, but who says that pain is to be avoided at all costs?
So, by making the decision to learn from our pain, we do not only take an active decision to reduce the chances of future pain, but we also give ourselves the opportunity to become whole. Every little pain we heal is like adding a piece to the puzzle, completing ourselves along the way. Yes, opening your heart might mean that you’ll be hurt again, but keeping your heart locked behind a defense wall ensures that it will stagnate and eventually will whither…
Limiting Belief #2: I’m not Worthy of Love
Again, this false belief is not unfamiliar to me. It’s the very reason why I kept attracting the “bad guys” and continued repelling the “good guys”. Even though I quickly understood the mechanism and the reason for my rather strange choice of men, it took me many years until I finally attracted someone who treated me the way I wished to be treated. And once I received this respectful treatment, I realized how uncomfortable it felt.
As a child I was used to being put second place. I received love and attention, but never really felt like a priority and rarely felt “special”. Of course, as an adult I know now how much effort my parents put in order to raise me into a healthy and happy adult (and they did a good job!), but to a tender children’s heart these efforts are not always understood. All I perceived was that my mum prioritized her partners and my dad prioritized his work. In a way I got used to receiving love whenever it conveniently fit into my parents schedule. So, it didn’t really come as a surprise that I mostly attracted partners who did give me love, but always seemed to prioritize something else.
I’m not trying to say that you always have to be your partner’s number 1 priority, but if you’re consistently second choice, then something might be wrong. Also the way how your unconscious belief of unworthiness displays might be different from my experience. Maybe you attract someone who doesn’t really support you, who doesn’t cherish your emotions or even abuses you verbally, emotionally or physically. Once again, I’m not saying that you have to find someone who’s perfect, that simply impossible, but be aware of patterns. In the end, the power to change this situation is in your hands. Your partners are only subconsciously signaling to you that you have underlying issues with your self-esteem. Internally thank them for showing this and start the work on your feeling of worthiness. Depending on the situation you’re in, this means either leaving your partner, setting really clear boundaries or letting go of self-created illusions.
If you choose to reestablish your boundaries, be aware that in order to keep those boundaries, you need to treat yourself within those boundaries as well. You can’t expect from someone to treat you respectfully, if you can’t treat yourself right. Start treating yourself the way you’d want others to treat you. Oftentimes, when we feel unworthy, we feel abandoned, but we don’t notice how we actually abandon ourselves in so many ways by not taking proper care of ourselves, by blaming ourselves and by accepting to be mistreated.
Also, get clear on what you really want in a relationship and don’t settle for less. It might help to actually make a list of no-go’s and red flags and make sure you really stick to it. Whenever we settle for less, we are often afraid that we’re either demanding too much (which comes from our inherent feeling of unworthiness) or we’re afraid no one better will come around. Be aware that you always attract someone who’s vibrating on your level. So, if you attract a suboptimal partner, it’s just a reminder that you need to remove more barriers in order to let an optimal person in. Just make sure that you don’t accidentally use this strategy in order to build a wall around your heart which disables anyone to get into your life. Remember that you’re not looking for a flawless person, but you’re looking for someone with whom you can learn and grow together which always involves some form of pain.
Limiting Belief #3: Love is a Prison
Even though everyone is looking for love, more and more people are afraid of actually committing to love. One reason might be the fear of getting hurt, but another reason is the fear of losing our freedom (which can also feel very painful). In my opinion, this false belief oftentimes comes from the fact that parents (and other caregivers/adults) withheld their love from us in order to discipline us. As children we might have felt like we couldn’t genuinely be ourselves because we depended on the love of our parents. We had to choose between our parents' love and affection and the expression of our true self. This balancing act can, later in life, make love feel very restrictive. If we’re used to this kind of conditional love, it’s no wonder that we prefer not being in a relationship all together.
There are also other ways in which our parents' love might feel like a chain around our ankles rather than a warm blanket, making us feel weak and dependent. As I mentioned, as a child I perceived my parents to have higher priorities than me. Every time I was really in need of their love and they neglected me, I felt very powerless. I hated this feeling of so desperately wanting their love and not being able to control it in any way. The more I asked for it, the more irritated they became and the more they rejected me. This feeling of loneliness and rejection was unbearable, so I felt like my only option was not to want their love. I built an image around myself of being strong and self-reliant, never in need of my parents' attention. Of course, the only way to achieve this, was by closing off my heart and not allowing myself to feel my deep longing for love and connection.
This combined very well with my strategy to not let anyone in my heart in the first place, as I described earlier. This worked fine until I met someone who somehow made their way into my heart and the whole construction collapsed. I did exactly all the things I didn’t want to do and ended up being emotionally very dependent. With all my power, I tried to save the wall around my heart from crumbling, spending all my energy in protecting myself, rather than really loving myself or my partner. Love started to become a self-made prison, in which I kept wanting to imprison myself.
What made it so difficult to let go of this pattern, was the fact that I needed to accept two things that seemed to be contradictory. First of all, I needed to work on my self-esteem and the connection with myself. Only by feeling complete within myself, could I stop craving the love and attention from someone who’s incapable of giving it to me. Maybe my partners were even capable of giving it to me but felt inhibited by the (energetic) pressure I had put on them. Either way, demanding the love and affection from a specific person is never a good idea. You need to be secure enough to know that someone’s withdrawal has nothing to do with your worthiness and everyone has the right to withdraw if they like. You, on the other hand, also always have the freedom to leave if the relationship with a specific person is not working. We often also create our own prison by staying far too long in dysfunctional relationships, waiting for a miracle to happen.
But at the same time I needed to take the scary step to really allow myself to depend on someone else. Because of the many rejections in my past, I started to feel shame for my emotional needs. Now I needed to give myself the right to desire someone’s love and affection. It’s a completely normal human desire which we all have the right to. And with this I don’t mean that your happiness should depend on someone else’s love, but that you simply allow yourself to enjoy and let in someone else’s love. This inevitably means that you need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s okay to feel shitty when someone doesn’t give you the love and attention you’re craving, but that’s just an invitation to give it to yourself. Once again, make sure that you look for patterns and for your own boundaries. Do you consistently get neglected or walled-off? Or does it happen occasionally and do you feel that it’s your insecurity that makes you overreact?
Eventually, we will need to accept a certain amount of pain within every human relationship. There’s no way we can be 100% self-reliant and independent from someone else, so completely walling off anyone who might enter our hearts and who might elicit these feelings, is not an option. We need to realize that by running away from love in order to not get trapped in the “prison of dependency”, we’re only creating our own cage. We lock ourselves in our own closed off hearts. Maybe we diminish our chances of being hurt by love, but we definitely also stay away from the option of enjoying the beauty of love which allows us not only to deepen our bond with another human being but also with ourselves.
Limiting Belief #4: I’m Incomplete Without a Partner
So far, we’ve mainly looked at the limiting beliefs that create a negative connotation with love. But what if we really believe that we think positively about love, up to a point where we feel that we aren’t complete without a partner? Shouldn’t that open the doors to love? Unfortunately, no. Just by wanting love, or worse needing love, you’re not inviting love in. As I mentioned in the previous part, we need to find a healthy balance in love in which we can allow ourselves to be dependent, but also maintain our independence. If we say that we need love (meaning a partner) in order to be happy, we are not independent anymore. Try to understand why you so desperately want to have a relationship? Do you feel lonely? Do you think having a partner adds to your worth? Do you think people look down on you when you’re single? Remember that love can’t come into our lives when we try to “grab” or “catch” it. It can only come in by itself and all we can do is remove the obstacles.
In order to remove the obstacle in this case, you need to understand that the universe always works for your good. So, if you really want a relationship and you don’t have it, then probably a relationship won’t do you any good. Probably a relationship keeps you from building a healthy relationship with yourself and you first need to connect to this lonely or unworthy feeling part of yourself. It’s your task to feel complete and discover your worth, that’s not the task you can hand over to a partner. But by desperately wanting one, chances are big this is exactly what you might end up doing. So, instead of spending your energy on dating sites or single parties (which leave you frustrated and angry), you might consider spending more time meditating, journaling or taking care of yourself in some way. You can always come back to your dating site once you feel you can enjoy the interactions and you’re not left frustrated and disillusioned.
These are just a couple of examples of limiting beliefs that maintain our internal barriers to love. Even though there are many common blocks, every single one of us is unique and has their unique experiences which leads to unique blocks. So, try to make it your “goal” to get as close and connected to yourself as possible in order to unravel these hidden blocks which will gradually bring you closer to the experience of love.
Does that mean that you’ll find a partner instantly once you’ve released the first blocks? Not necessarily. But the great part of being able to receive love is that you can receive love from so many more sources than just a partner. Suddenly, you’ll receive genuine love from your friends, your pet, maybe even complete strangers and most of all, from yourself. Believe me, there comes a point where you notice a love story evolving inside yourself. This internal romance can at times be as dramatic as the romance with someone else, but the make-ups last a lot longer and feel way more satisfying. And in case you still really want to find this one special person with whom you can share this abundance of love, then maybe the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu can cheer you up with these words:
“People in their handlings of affairs often fail when they are about to succeed. If one remains as careful at the end as he was at the beginning, there will be no failure.”
- Lao Tzu
In other words: Continue releasing those blocks to love. As long as you’re only “wanting to grab” the romantic relationship, then you’re still holding a block to receiving the love. Make the process your priority and just enjoy every single release and the change of your inner world, regardless of the change you observe in the outer world.