A few years back, I went through a major life crisis. My mother was fatally injured in a car accident and within a few short weeks of that, I had lost everything. I had no parents, no partner, no home, no car, no job and no friends. All of the things that make a person feel safe and secure were gone and I was in no man’s land. It felt as though the rug had been pulled out from under me and I sank into a deep depression.
During my struggle I travelled alone to South America and I stayed there for a long time. I learned to speak Spanish, I climbed the Andes and I tried to do anything and everything to make the pain bearable. Upon my return I immediately left for an Orthodox Monastery in Michigan and spent a few days with the most holy men I have ever met. Depression was new to me. I’ve always been a happy-go-lucky kind of person, but this experience, as horrific as it was, started me on a path of deep soul searching. I needed answers to how my life got so far off track and why I was so miserably unhappy.
“Life gives you the carrot method or the stick method. If you miss the carrots, you get the stick.” Buddhist author Pema Chodron
Oprah often says that, “Your life is always speaking to you.” I have come to realize the truth in that statement. My problem was – I wasn’t listening and I was missing all the little carrots dangling in front of me, meant to lead me this way or that way and as a result I got the big, heavy stick.
It started to dawn on me that I caused this crisis in my life. I was responsible for all of it. It was the accumulation of all the self-hatred, all the bad choices I’d made, my negative attitude and my resistance to do anything about them, manifesting in one huge purge. The Universe kept saying to me, “You’re doing the wrong thing, thinking the wrong thoughts and with the wrong person, if you only knew who you really are, you wouldn’t do these things, you wouldn’t feel or think this way, you have to make a change,” and I completely and utterly refused, so the Universe pulled the chair out from under me and forced me to stand up and look at things from a new perspective.
I had been asleep in my life and now I was fully awake for the very first time. I was so unsure of everything and out of my mind with fear. I had to move forward and I started taking stock of everything in my life and at all the poor choices I’d made. One of the areas I looked at was my relationships with men.
There had been three major relationships in my life and a slew of other less significant ones. They were all very similar in appearance. I’m sure at the time I would have told myself that they were my ‘type.’ Another thing they all had in common was that they were always angry, dark, distant and brooding. You could never really get close to them – they were emotionally unreachable. They all had broken wings in need of mending. They had all come from horrific childhoods, full of neglect and abuse, which resulted in at best, emotionally unavailable men, Narcissists and at worst, Psychopaths.
The relationships all started and ended the same way. They pursued me hard and once they got me they reverted to their true selves. None of them treated me with love, kindness or respect. Everything was always on their terms and all about them. And there I was little miss fixer-upper always trying to fix them at the expense of myself. They all cheated and the relationships never seemed to end (except the last one) as they kept popping in and out of my life like nothing ever happened.
Each relationship took from me, my time, my energy, my self-esteem and gave me pain and feelings of worthlessness in return. I believed that I was unworthy of love, that I was flawed and broken and that I didn’t deserve better treatment. I thought if only I was taller, thinner….. then they would love me. I internalized their rejection. I took the blame when it wasn’t mine to take.
All these feelings I carried with me from childhood. My overly critical mother was the first to teach me that I wasn’t good enough, that I was different and that there was something wrong with me. And as I grew up and started dating, I looked for men that would bring out these feelings in me. It was what I knew, where I felt most comfortable.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot out perform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” Iyanla Vanzant
There were nice men in the mix too, guys that were emotionally healthy, that wanted to give me the relationship I thought I wanted. But I ran like hell from those guys. They went against the grain of what I believed about myself. Somewhere inside of me I’d be thinking, “Are you crazy? Why would you want to be with me? Don’t you know I have flaws? There must be something very wrong with you if you want to be with someone like me.” And I would rationalize running away, by saying to myself that they just weren’t my ‘type.’
Like Attracts Like
When I was in University I remember the class having a debate on relationships in one of my Psychology courses. It was about whether opposites attract or if like attracts like. There were many arguments made on either side, but in the end, the professor illustrated that the research supported that like attracts like.
This Law of Attraction notion was just starting to be hurled out there for public consumption, I started to wonder if just maybe they were really onto something.
So what this meant then, was that if we believed that we were unworthy of love, that we weren’t good enough, then we would draw to us people and experiences that mirrored that belief and if somehow, a guy who thought we were amazing and really wanted an honest to God relationship with us, was thrown into our lives it would never materialize, because their beliefs were so different from ours we would repel those types of connections.
I would go from one guy to the next and it would always be the same story. I was dating the same guy over and over again he just had a different face.
And I couldn’t help but think, “I’m a good person. I’m kind. I think about other people’s feelings. I like to help people. I’m not selfish or mean. What on earth am I putting out there that is attracting Narcissists, Psychopaths and Emotionally Unavailable men that want to hurt me and make me feel bad?
Our attraction to certain people really is like the attraction of two magnets. If the same atoms are aligned and pointed in the same direction they will attract, if they’re not, they will repel. I used to think my ‘type’ was tall, dark haired, dark eyes, athletic body, but in reality my ‘type’ really had nothing to do with physical appearance at all. My type was actually someone who had the same thought patterns I did, who shared the same beliefs about themselves as I did.
For instance, I had a lot of self-loathing going on, I felt unlovable and flawed, uncomfortable in my own skin. Consequently, I believed that life was painful, it was hard and I was so unhappy with every aspect of it. When I looked at the men I had dated, wasn’t this the same kind of inner conflict they were experiencing? Didn’t they hate themselves? Didn’t they believe that life was difficult? Didn’t they feel detached from who they really were?
When I finally understood that the type of men that I was attracting had nothing to do with them, but everything to do with me and how I felt about me I stopped dating all together. Had I continued to date, it would have just evolved into a carbon copy of the exact same relationships I’d always had. I really grasped the idea that if I really wanted a happy, healthy relationship with a man – I had to change how I felt about me and what I was putting out there and to do that I needed to be single and put the focus on where it should have always been – on me.
In my blog Self-Esteem: It really is a Choice I state that “Once you make that decision to be and think differently about yourself, you just do it. You make the changes in how you think and feel about you and you back them up every day, by consistently making the choice to think and act differently until your new thoughts have become your new habitual way of thinking and being. You take it one day at a time, knowing that some days are going to be harder than others. It’s exercising that self-esteem muscle. The more we practice treating ourselves with love, kindness and respect the easier it will be. We set the standard on how we expect to be treated. We silence that inner voice that tells us that we aren’t good enough and we start giving ourselves a new script. One that feels good, that only speaks to us with love and kindness.
“A belief is just a thought we keep thinking.” Esther Hicks
So I made the choice to change my beliefs about me, simply by thinking new thoughts. Now my thoughts and beliefs are:
1. I am worthy of all of the love and happiness this world has to offer
2. I set the bar on how I expect to be treated and I teach people how to treat me.
3. I have firm boundaries on what is acceptable behaviour and what is not and if my boundaries are repeatedly crossed, I’m not afraid to walk away.
4. I’m perfectly imperfect and uniquely me. There is only one of me, so I must be authentically true to myself at all times.
5. I am completely self-sufficient. I don’t need anyone financially or emotionally. I don’t need the validation of others to show me my worth or who I am.
6. If I choose to allow you into my life, it’s because you add value to it, you don’t detract from it.
7. The most important thing to me is my inner peace. I eliminate all people and all things that attempt to rock my balance and harmony.
8. I’m responsible for all of the thoughts, actions and choices I make and all of those decisions start at the place of self-love and self-respect.
9. I love me and I love my life.
10. I live my life without fear.
Once I understood that I choose these thoughts and beliefs about myself and I started to implement them I was no longer in vibrational alignment with Narcissists or men that would treat me poorly. Now I needed a new ‘type.’ So, to be a vibrational match to my new beliefs about myself, my new type of man needed to be someone that:
1. Was attached to their emotions not disconnected
2. Was kind, generous and thoughtful
3. Was family oriented and had normal healthy relationship bonds to other people
4. Wanted to be in a relationship with me
5. Was confident and had a good level of self-respect and self-esteem
6. Treated me with respect
7. Was self-sufficient
8. Was responsible and had their act together
9. Cared about my needs and wants
10. Was in love with me
“Everything is energy. That’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not Philosophy – it’s Physics.” Bashar
Once you change what you are putting out there, you will no longer be attracted to emotionally unhealthy men and they will no longer be attracted to you. You decide – the choice is always yours. If the patterns of all, or most of your relationships always seem to be the same, stop dating now – flat out, because if you continue, all you will get is more of the same. Put your efforts and focus on changing how you feel about you and you will stop attracting the same man with a different face and you will start attracting a totally different ‘type.’
Let go of the belief that you always have to have a man. Let go of your fears and embrace the idea of being completely financially and emotionally independent. I read a great quote the other day, it said, “I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn fantastic to change that.” Make that your new motto on your journey to a newer healthier you.
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