I’ve noticed a trend with some divorced, older folk over 40; weighed down in a baggage claim filled with unclaimed luggage.
We were not born with baggage; we started accumulating it in childhood. By the time you enter midlife, you may be tripping over your voluminous collection and it keeps getting in the way.
In childhood, we formulate an idea about the world and our place in it, stemming from a variety of motivating factors or disempowerment. We learn this planet is safe or unsafe… and for many individuals it’s somewhere in between.
Our experiences give us a belief about ourselves; some accurate and some terribly inaccurate. What’s a kid to do? Vulnerability is our natural state, but when you get hurt as a child, you may look for protection or coping tools against future hurt. You become invulnerable.
You carry this protected “you” forth into all of your relationships. Whatever belief you developed from that early experience is at the base of your relationships.
When an event occurred that hurt you, you may have personalized it, then you made a decision to give the event meaning. Maybe you thought you deserved it, so you put it in your backpack. Subconsciously, you went through life TRYING to attract the same situation over and over; a “do-over” in hope of achieving a different result.
If you felt unlovable, bad, invisible, or that you had to be perfect to be loved, you’ll keep recreating this in your relationships. If you feel life gives you lemons, you may be dooming yourself to a love life of lemonade without sugar.
If you’re unaware of how these beliefs control WHO you attract and HOW you handle your relationships, it can get quite unwieldily by middle age.
By the time you have enough experiences under your belt, you may incorrectly label yourself, and the world watching your love life, get very small. You give the experiences power in determining your fate. And you make sure it remains true.
There are no good men or women left; the same thing will happen to me again: I’ll be heartbroken, cheated on, lied to; they’ll leave me. These are all obstacles we throw in front of our deepest desire.
We all want love and connection. We want to be known, accepted, adored, allowed, respected and appreciated by another.
Many of us feel unworthy on some level, so we hide it with a b.s. facade. We’ve probably had someone, somewhere along the way who confirmed our worthlessness too. It makes that baggage even harder to unload.
People stumble into and out of the same relationships over and over, proving their lack of lovability. We create it over and over because before we even start dating a person, we hope they’re the miracle cure for what ails us in the love department. We don’t realize we are OUR own cure.
We don’t get; it’s a choice to be 90 years old with 12 cats in our lonely corner of the world. We get caught in our old movies. It’s an old worn-out definition of our love life with a limited view of the opposite sex.
We either attract crazy or we are a crazy-maker.
We want someone to hold us, kiss our wounds, tell us it’s okay and love us, but the crazy-maker runs or sabotages when those old feelings of love stir. Nope, I can’t be devastated or decimated–not going there!
In effect we run, hide or shut down the VERY thing we crave. The other person may or may not be on the crazy train with us, but either way, it creates confusing actions. We drive ourselves nuts too.
Whichever side you are on, the question of “WHY” looms large.
Why do I feel like I’m gonna be swallowed up? Why did she say “yes” to moving in with me and then ran off with my best friend? Why did I just walk away from the best thing that ever happened to me? Why did he /she leave me when we’re a perfect match? Or I’ve been single for YEARS. WHY? Cuz this always happens!
There is a never-ending list of “why” questions.
Each one of us can change the picture and the fate of our love lives.
You can STOP in your tracks. Sit down, close your eyes and listen to your heart. Just listen to it beat. Once you feel the beat, open it… open it wide. Use a crowbar if you have to; it’ll open. What does that feel like? Freedom to love?
It may scare the crap out of you, but it will give you an answer of where to begin on the journey of love. Your love needs to shine inward, accepting every little corner of your musty, dusty experiences. You need to bathe in it and connect to your own self-awareness.
Self-awareness is knowing how and why you feel the way you do; understanding your past experiences with different glasses and seeing who you truly are under ALL that baggage.
Once you are clearer on you, then look to another. Understand they’re imperfect like you and cannot heal your past. Instead, they can be a true new beginning to having a solid, happy and healthy relationship. If your vision of doom and gloom comes up, talk about it.
If you’re already destroying what you want, STOP and do the exercise above again. Get clear, real and courageous. The more courage you have to do the opposite of what you’ve been doing for years, the bigger the results and the larger your confidence will grow… even if you have been dragged through hell in the past.