“The course of true love never did run smooth” William Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
While fairy tales often end in ‘and they lived happily ever after’, most of us have experienced the ups and downs of love. So how can we look at our ‘once upon a time’ lives when we haven’t met our Prince or Princess Charming yet? Can a a lifelong love affair start within our own minds?
Hero or Victim?
Love is a journey, not a destination. It is a dynamic state. If you look to storybooks for insight, you’ll notice that the hero of the story has to surmount many challenges to get to his or her goal, destination or reward.
Battling witches or dragons not only makes the tale more interesting, but also tends to reveal strengths and resources within the hero that may have been left undiscovered if not put in those situations. These conflicts often develop heroic muscles that would not have been tested otherwise.
There may be times in our relationships where we feel like the victim rather than a hero. We feel we have no power.
Yet our potential heroics starts with our ability to see ourselves at the striving and yet unrefined hero – the one in the middle of the story, not the end – who is learning and growing from these challenging encounters.
By looking at the early pages, we can realize that these ‘tests’ are supplying us with the means by which we will outsmart, outlast or overcome our current dilemmas.
While we often forget, the hero tends to have help in various chapters. Whether one-offs or continued companionship, these helpers support the hero along the way. We can look for our real-life supporters as well. They may have skills to teach us, information to provide to us, or a magical way about them that helps us vanquish the odds stacked against us.
We might also begin to understand that our biggest challengers can also be our most profound helpers. Trials in our relationships may force us to improve our patience, compassion, boundaries or expression.
We may discover that the fiercest lions in our lives have their own thorns in their paws, and with careful caution, we can create an ally or a partner who helps us, or is helped by us, to reveal and heal.
Alfred Lord Tennyson is quoted “’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. Yet sometimes the prospect of putting ourselves out there is too daunting to imagine. Our fear of failure can stop us from even starting a love story of our own.
Fear can be very useful and is a good indicator that we feel something bad might happen.
Often we have been hurt in some way in our past, or others we care about have been suffered from a relationship turned sour, so it makes sense to be vigilant. We don’t want this to happen again.
However, when we allow fear to completely stop us from the possibility of discovering a deeper emotional state, whether love or its negative counterparts, our emotional armor can become its own prison.
Our mistaken understanding of vulnerability as being weak is sometimes to blame. If we see love as a battlefield, we’ll always be protecting ourselves rather than extending our curiosity and openness; experiencing what life, and love, can offer us. Just like a craftsperson whose hands have experienced cuts and scrapes to create their masterpieces, we may take some emotional bumps and bruises along the way towards our mastery in love.
Imagine for a moment something that scares you. Feel that feeling in your body. Now imagine something that excites you. You may notice that it is a similar feeling in the body. That’s because the physiological feeling of fear is close to that of excitement.
How does that change things?
What if you were excited to discover your own emotional depths and heights rather than being afraid of them? If you realize that you may stumble and fall as you take your first steps into the world of love, you can start to plan to get up and maybe feel eager about the path ahead.
From ‘Bad’ to discovering the Good Stuff
When you start to experience or test your courageous love, it may require you to forgive the hurts of the past.
Many people misinterpret forgiveness as giving in, giving over, or of letting the person who hurt you win. This is not the case.
Whenever you forgive someone, you don’t have to agree with, like or approve of what was done to you or others, but the energy that you carry about their wrongdoings actually saps you.
When you let it go, you don’t have to carry that burden any more. You a freed from the anger and pain – and the other person never gets to feel your release.
No longer can their labels hurt you or your buttons be pressed.
With forgiveness, recurring characters can now take cameo roles in past chapters of your life, enhancing your story’s lessons as well as your insight and experience.
When they go, what remains is a higher resonance of your lovability and power.
While you may be sad for losing those in the past, whether good or bad, you now know that loss can bring profound lessons to support your future.
Many people may get stuck with their loss of ‘concepts’ of love that were established when we were young. The picket fence of our youth may no longer apply and we can let go and redirect our desires that suit us better now. We can let it go now.
We can also aim for more meaningful connections. This is why we can feel lonely in a crown and can still feel ok by ourselves, alone. It is significance that connects us. And it takes courage to extend that link and connect on a deeper level.
It takes courage for ALL of this.
If it feels like too much, consider this. Franklin D Roosevelt is quoted “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear”. Your choices, your forgiveness, your connections, your life as the main character of your own story shows your courageousness.
Which increases your likelihood of finding your own ‘happily ever after’, whatever it may be.
Should you need support on your journey or in your story of love and life, please let me know – I’m here to help!
Love (pass it on),