Love Story Blog

Best Life Lesson Ever!

“Life is simple. Everything happens FOR you, not TO you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment; neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it…it’s just easier if you do.” ~Byron Katie

This quote is my favourite ever. My last few years have been kind of interesting. I haven’t experienced anything super traumatic or horrific. But when a few difficult things started happening all at once, I became a little overwhelmed. It allowed me to pay attention to my thoughts and what was going on inside of my messed up brain.

Why Meeeeee?

For most of my life, I was on autopilot, out there trying to do my best, wanting to prove my worth to the world, looking for validation, love and happiness from other people and my circumstances. I believed that we met people for a reason and things happened to us for a reason. I still believe that is true but I used to put a different meaning on it. I used to believe that we met people so that we could have friends to support us and romantic relationships to fulfill our lives and make us feel loved and wanted. I used to believe that we worked hard in school and in our careers to prove to people that we were capable and important. I used to believe that circumstances happened because stuff happens to everyone and that life was hard and that sometimes it wasn’t fair and would often think, why me? Why is this happening to me?

Because You’re Human, Duh

After a few years of things happening TO me, I began to shift my thinking around the fact that maybe it was all happening FOR me. I didn’t come to that conclusion easily. It took a few moments of hitting rock bottom, reaching out for help, getting some therapy and reading a lot of self-help books.

It wasn’t a ‘one day I woke up and had an epiphany’ moment. I wish! It has been an ongoing journey. What has begun to shift for me is; instead of feeling sorry for myself and thinking ‘Why is this happening to me?’ ‘Life is so unfair!’, ‘People are hurtful’, ‘How could they do that to me??’ and of course ‘How dare they!!’ Maybe I was causing my own pain with my own thoughts and false beliefs about why life happens the way it does.

I figured there had to be a better way. I was so sick of myself! I was tired of living like I was a victim of this horrifying painful world full of people who leave you and let you down and nothing ever turning out the way you want it to. It was exhausting. Luckily things got bad enough that I had no choice but to desperately want to find that better way.

I don’t think we have to hit rock bottom to have this shift in perception. I wish I hadn’t hit rock bottom first, I think we can learn this lesson anytime.

Rock bottom is different for everyone…mine was simply not feeling like I’d done as much as I ‘shoulda coulda’ with my life. I was divorced, transitioning careers, caring for a widowed aging father and in a relationship with someone I loved very much but our logistics were very challenging causing some communication breakdowns. Stuff everyone goes through. And it’s only human that life can start getting to you you down, right? I figured I could stuck it up and keep plugging away.

The Universe kept knocking at my door. One day for a seemingly minor issue, I completely lost my cool, like embarrassingly lost my cool! I knew I needed help in that moment. I went to a psychiatrist that after half an hour of hearing my story, prescribed an anti-depressant. I filled the prescription, took one and panicked. I told the doctor I just couldn’t do it. It just didn’t feel right and I don’t judge it, it just wasn’t for me. So I turned to yoga, meditation and self help books. I was determined to take a good look inside, dig deep and find out what was really going on.

Not Quite There Yet, Hilary

Well things did improve, I’m happy to report. I developed a more positive outlook on why things happened and that I wasn’t the victim of my circumstances. I chose to be happy despite what was going on around me. I got my career back on track and decided to make my relationship work with the man I loved. That worked for a bit…but obviously the Universe wanted to make sure I really did shift my perception!

My Dad became very ill and I was looking after him full time, so career back on hold. Communications were breaking down in my relationship. I was a mess and I started to feel sorry for myself again. I believed that no one was there for me. I felt totally alone in all of this. My Dad passed away and my relationship ended and I had barely worked in six months. So I’m feeling all alone with no job and pushing 50! Ugh. I was angry and in my self pitying moments, I thought:

How dare you take my Dad away and leave me alone to deal with everything

How dare that I’m the only one that has to take care of everything because my brothers live far away.

How dare this all happen when I was just getting my career back on track!

How dare my boyfriend fight with me while I was going through this!

How dare my friends have lives!

How dare no one sees how much pain I’m in!

How dare no one knows how lonely this life is!

How dare the world let me down in so many ways!

This could have gotten ugly but I knew better than to go down this path. I knew none of this was true. It was my own thoughts getting in my way and making my pain and anger worse. I knew that it was my interpretation and beliefs about the situation that was causing my pain, not what was really happening. It was happening for me and there was no one or no thing to blame for any of it.

Choose A New Way of Looking At It

I accepted that I was angry and feeling sorry for myself. I forgave myself for it but only when I acknowledged the anger and pain. I had to really embraced it in order to move through it. Maybe the world wasn’t really out to get me??

I lost my Dad. However he was very sick and unhappy that he couldn’t live like he used to and he was so lonely without my Mom. I was able to look back from a different perspective and believe that I did my best. I was there for him and I had no regrets. Instead of blaming the world for his illness. Instead of resenting the countless hours spent looking after him. Instead of believing that this all caused problems in my relationship and my career, I was able to look back and be grateful that I could be there for him. I can be grateful for the career interrupt, as I would still be doing something I didn’t love. And I no longer blamed my friends and boyfriend for not being there enough when my Dad was sick and passed away. I could genuinely let that go and know the truth is that my friends and boyfriend were there for me as best as they could be. They did their best for me because they love me and I could find gratitude for everyone who cared. And they actually do have their own lives and families to take care of! If feels good seeing the truth instead of talking yourself into negative belief patterns that aren’t based in reality.

I choose to believe that yes, people come into your life for a reason and things happen to you for a reason but it’s not a punishment; the world is not out to get you. Sometimes it’s just about not judging the moment and not putting your own meaning on it. Shift your perception to look at these life challenges from a higher perspective.

I believe that the Universe has plans for you that may not seem like what you want or need at the time, but believing things are happening for you, sure does make life more bearable. Look for the gift in everything and if you can’t find it, one day you’ll realize that everything happens for you and not to you.

Woman’s Best Friend

My search is over, after years and years of looking under every rock, I found the perfect model of the perfect man. He’s not necessarily the most attractive, or the tallest, or the best smelling, but he will give you more affection than you ever dreamed possible. He is loyal to a fault, will love you unconditionally and will make you feel like the most important thing in the world.

He may, however, leave muddy footprints on your new white carpet, leave hair in the sink, occasionally drink from the toilet bowl and will definitely want to hump your leg every chance he gets. Ok, I think by now you’re on to my poor attempt at humor. I’m of course not talking about a human being but a pet; hear me out:

Often, we find it’s easier and less complicated to love our pets than our partners. “Please note: I’m going to use the example of a male dog for this post but this idea is relevant if your partner is female or if you’re a cat, bird, and rock etc. owner as well”. Sure, our dog can be smelly, messy; can have some annoying habits, but doesn’t it seem sometimes like our relationship with our dog is the best one we have?

Why is it so much easier to forgive and love our dogs, despite their bad habits than it is to love our partners’ through theirs? When our dogs behave badly, sure we discipline them when it’s serious but when it’s just an annoying habit, we roll our eyes, laugh and let them back in our beds. We NEVER put our dogs in the “doghouse” like we do our partners for the same offenses.

And the same is true the other way; our dogs love us despite our ‘humanness’ that’s what makes this relationship so perfect. In all seriousness though, when you really think about it; most of us love our dogs unconditionally, no strings attached. And we feel completely and unconditionally loved by them as well. No matter our moods, our dogs love us. They don’t take our bad moods personally.

Let’s say you’re having a bad day, you come home from work and your dog is welcoming you home, wagging his tail, wanting to play. You are miserable and cranky and not in the mood. Your dog won’t be offended. Once your dog realizes you don’t want to play, they will go about the business of being a dog and find something else to do. They will always be happy to running back to you when you feel better and are ready to play. They won’t sulk and they are certainly not hurt or offended.

Dog’s Take Nothing Personally

We need to learn from our pets that we don’t need to take our partner’s bad mood personally. Sometimes they just had a bad day. Sometimes they don’t feel like talking about it and want to be left alone. We don’t have to keep prying and asking what we did wrong or why they are upset.

Sometimes we just have to accept that we cannot help. As humans, we tend to be overly analytical and assume that our partner’s bad mood has to do with us. Sometimes we feel this overwhelming desire to do everything we can to make them feel better and to fix the problem.

I guarantee you that 99% of the time; your partner’s mood has absolutely nothing to do with you. Like our pets, we need to take cues from our ‘humans’ and be alert to the fact they may just need some space instead of us in their face! Always offer an ear but if they don’t want or need it at that moment, go grab a snack or a chew toy and let them come to you when they are ready to talk. Don’t let it bring you down. Sometimes it’s important to remember you can’t control anyone else or their moods. Take care of you and your side of the relationship and let your partner take care of theirs.

The Canine Does Not Opine

Humans tend to take other people’s opinions far too seriously; dogs don’t care what we think of them. We are constantly worried what our partner’s think of us and how they feel about us; to the point of sabotaging the relationship because we’ve misunderstood their behavior toward us.

Humans are funny that way. We are so caught up in our own insecurities and neurosis about ourselves that we assume everyone sees us the way we see ourselves. We can be our own worst enemies and can be horribly critical toward ourselves. Often, we believe things we shouldn’t, we misinterpret and it leads to a negative place. Dogs just ‘are’ and just let us ‘be’. It’s a very peaceful and positive place to live.

“Those who teach the most about humanity, aren’t always humans” by Donald L. Hicks

If we could just be more like our dogs and realize that our partner’s behavior comes through their own personal lens; their filter of their life experience. Opinions often have nothing to do with us and everything to do with the person giving them. So, a double whammy with all the perceptions and misinterpretations can get very messy and cause serious trouble. We have ours, they have theirs. No wonder we’re on a constant emotional roller coaster ride in our relationships!

Our pets get it. They come from a pure place of acceptance. We are never worried about what our pets think of us. It’s the complete opposite when we deal with humans. We live in constant fear of what our partners think or expect of us. It’s so relaxing and good for the soul to just hang with your pet. Let’s bring that peace of mind into our human relationships.

The answer is to simply be aware that we all have different perceptions and ways of interpreting the world. When we fully understand this, we can show compassion, acceptance, and selflessness toward our partner and ourselves.

Dogs Accept People For Who They Are

When we’re in a relationship, often times we want to change our partners to fit our ideals. We expect them to make us happy. We want them to read our minds and predict exactly what we what, when we want it and how? We can be super critical of our partner if they don’t make us feel good about ourselves. We tend to come from a place of “What am I getting out of this relationship?”

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog” by M.K. Klinton

Unconditional love means we can give love freely without expecting anything in return. Sometimes our capacity for showing love is completely dependent and conditional on how our partner is treating us, so true, right?

To give love unconditionally means that we accept our partner completely and we don’t want to change them. We allow our partner to be who they are. We understand that change should only happen if they want it not because we want them to change for us. Loving someone unconditionally is affection without any limitations. It means we care about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves.

Why can’t we be more like our dog? No matter what, they just love us, pure, simple, true love. Why can’t we just accept and love our partners for who they are? Why are we so critical and demanding? You cannot change other people. It’s impossible and will only bring misery and conflict. You can, however, change you. You can look at love differently; through the eyes of a dog. “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself” by Josh Billings

This all seems obvious in theory and hopefully, after reading this post, I have given you some insight into learning to be happier in relationships by letting go of your insecurities and expectations of your partners. Easier said than done, right?

The hard part is when you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a difficult, emotional situation with your partner. If we are angry, anxious, insecure, resentful, jealous-all those fun negative feelings-we tend to be self-absorbed and victim-like so we can feel better despite what our partner is feeling. It’s human! We all do it. We get stuck in our head and react emotionally.

Instead of getting sucked into the dark, emotional land of fear that makes you do and says things you may regret; try to be alert to what is happening. Pay attention to where it is coming from. I bet it’s less to do with your partner and more to do with your own pain and fear. You can stop at this point and try a new approach. You have the opportunity at this point to break the automatic subconscious pattern.

The next time you find some negative emotions rising, either in you or your partner or both; think “What would my dog do?” And stop yourself from going straight to a place of fear, judgment, and control. See if you can focus instead on showing love, acceptance, and allowance. It can’t hurt. What’s the worst that can happen? I can guarantee you’ll experience a peaceful exchange that has a better chance of leading to a healthy conversation.

Dogs Never Lie About Who They Are and Who They Love

In order to do this, there is a crucial first step. Accept yourself! Believe yourself worthy of love and happiness. Every one of us is. Your dog definitely thinks you’re worthy! And so do me. Never pretend to be someone you’re not. And never apologize to anyone for not being who you think they want you to be. Be yourself. Honor your inner and outer strength and beauty. You are perfect exactly how you are. Believe it!

If you are single; coming from a place of authenticity will increase your chances of finding a good match. You will exude your true loving energy to the right people. If you are in a relationship, knowing yourself and finding love in yourself allows you to be confident in whom you are. You won’t look to your partner for validation because you already have it.

Neediness is the worst; no one needs a partner to feel loved or complete. You already are complete. It is much easier to give and receive love unconditionally if you are a whole person who enjoys and CHOOSES to be in love and in a relationship. If you feel like you are only half a person and you NEED someone to complete you and make you whole, you’ll never be in a truly loving relationship.

The next step is to accept your partner. Let them be who they are. You have no right to judge or decide your partner should be anyone other than who they truly are. If you can’t stop wanting to change someone, they are not a good match for you. Walk away. Let your partner find someone who truly accepts and loves them for who they are.

The next step is to get very clear about what you want and the kind of person that fits your ideals, that’s why accepting who you are first is critical. Once you know and you project that out into the world, it’s easier to attract and find a partner that is aligned with you and who you won’t feel the need to change.

Just follow the three step process:

  • Accept and Embrace Who You Are. Never Hide Your Truth.
  • Accept Who Your Partner Is Or Let Them Go
  • Be Clear What You Are Looking For In A Partner.

If you’re being authentically you, you’ll find the right dog deeper, I mean partner. Who knows, if you really start to embrace who you are and decide what kind of relationship you want, you may realize that you really wanted a cat Instead of making your dog start to act like a cat, just get a cat. Because good luck on getting your dog to ‘meow’

If you need some more help getting there, visit www.heartstringstory.com/love-workbook to learn more about an online workbook I created that makes going through the process fun and easy!

The #1 Reason Relationships Fail

Don’t believe it for a second!

It’s so simple and seems so obvious but really believing it and working toward fixing it, can be tricky! It’s doable, I promise…keep reading!

The #1 reason relationships fail, (in my humble opinion) is…

We believe that our partner is going to make us happy, complete us, make us whole and we end up resenting them if and when they don’t.

What a huge mistake in thinking! Whether you’re single or in a relationship, it’s self destructive. Most of us treat love as if it is something outside of us that we have no control over. It’s something that happens to us. There is a problem with thinking of love this way, and that is that it makes us believe that we have to look outward for our happiness. It overlooks our own sense of power and leaves us to believe that we are victims of our romantic fate.

Perhaps you already believe this in theory but being truly happy and fulfilled in a relationship means you have to get to a place where you genuinely believe that no one can complete you. When you do believe that you need someone outside of yourself to complete you, you think/say things like:

“My partner just doesn’t do enough for me.”

“My partner should be trying harder.”

“I do way more for him then, he does for me.”

“My partner should know what I want without asking.”

“I deserve more!”

“My partner doesn’t fulfill me.”

Admit, it, you’ve said out loud or to yourself – and even sometimes to your partner – at least one of these things at some point in your relationship. We have all thought from time to time, that we should be getting more out of our relationship than we are. It’s human! I said things like this to friends and to myself many times…daily! It made me miserable and caused all sorts of fights and misunderstandings in my relationship. I totally believed that a romantic relationship was the key to my happiness. I was so wrong. In fact, this mindset was sabotaging my relationship and making us both miserable and unable to communicate in any kind of healthy way.

The good news is that if you can truly see the problem with these statements, it can be as simple as shifting your perception. It takes a lot of awareness and patience, and practice but we are all capable. In fact, I think we were born to give and not expect anything in return and to love ourselves as whole people. Somewhere along he way, humanity forgot that important tenet of what it means to truly love someone.

Here’s some things that I have done in order to make my relationship better and it has worked! Things in my relationship have gotten a lot more peaceful. We are communicating better and I am much healthier and more confident with who I am, which is super attractive to him! And there has been a bonus about the fact that I’m being less needy and feeling better about myself in my relationship; without even knowing it, my boyfriend has begun to give more and be a lot more attentive.

Here are some of my own personal insights on how this can be accomplished:

  1. I know it’s cliche but the first step is getting over any minor or major beliefs that you are unworthy in any way, shape or form. You are completely worthy. It’s a fact. You just have to believe it. You dishonour yourself and your partner if you have insecurities around deserving to receive love. The truth is that only you can complete you. If you are unhappy, no one else can fulfill the emptiness inside. In fact, it will only make you more unhappy. Just accept and honour yourself for you who are and don’t pretend to be anyone else to make your partner happy. I will post another blog asap on this thought alone.
  2. Once you accept yourself just the way you are, the next step is to accept your partner. Never ever try to change anything about your partner. Let them be who they are. It is just going to distance your partner from you when you constantly put demands on how they should be. Despite what you may believe, your love is not going to change anyone. Get out early if there are things about a person’s personality that you cannot live with. Don’t be delusional that you can change anyone! It’s disrespectful to them and causes trouble later when they aren’t changing for you! If you cannot love your partner the way are, someone else can.
  3. Having expectations that your partner knows what you need to be happy will only cause problems and disappointment. No one knows what you truly need. You can communicate it but you have to stop expecting that your partner can read your mind and know what you want. Even when you do communicate it, they should not be expected to complete you. It is unfair to expect this of anyone. I can assure that you will always be let down. Neediness is not a quality that any of us should possess. It feels awful to need someone to fulfill you and it is unattractive to your partner that you are always expecting more than they may be capable of providing you with. That makes them feel bad and you!
  4. Stop waiting around for your partner to do things to make you happy. Make yourself happy! Find a hobby, hang with friends, or just tell your partner what you want to do. People like when we tell them what we want to do, so there is no guessing and they are more unlikely to let you down. However, it’s just as important is to remember that the more fulfilled you are outside of your relationship, the more fulfilled you’ll be in it.
  5. Your confidence is contagious! Other people can feel it when you have fears around finding and sustaining love. When you approach a relationship from a place of insecurity and belief that you need a relationship to complete you, your partner or potential partner will sense it. It is an unattractive quality. When you’re confident, the energy you give off will convey that being in a relationship is your choice. You can then relax and be aware enough that you choose a suitable partner.

Seems simple enough?? The good news is that we don’t have to lose weight, get a better job, be funnier, be more affectionate, be better at sex in order to be happy and fulfilled in a relationship. I don’t believe changing who we are makes for a better romantic experience.

The key is to be confident with who you are and let your partner be free to be him or herself. This shift in perception is all it takes.

Jerry McGuire was so wrong! I want to ban that movie. When he said “You complete me.” I threw up a little in my mouth. I hope I’m not the only one who wanted to scream out loud about how wrong this was! I would have run so far from him so fast! Just as much as you can’t expect anyone to complete you don’t take it upon yourself to complete anyone else either. It’s a lot of pressure to have that much responsibility for someone else’s happiness. We are not in charge of each other’s happiness and two halves do not make a whole.

Meet your partner halfway and come together as two whole people. You should never need anyone that badly. Why would you put every hope, dream and expectation into one person or relationships. Nothing lasts. The honeymoon ends, relationships end, things always change. Go with it and accept that the one things that never changes is you. You always have you to complete you and you will never let yourself down! You are and always will be a whole person.

Now “Show the money”, I can get on board with!

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If you need more help with getting this idea to stick, download my love workbook or contact me for a free half hour consultation

You Are Not Your Story

“Your past is just a story. And once you realize this, it has no power over you.”
~ Chuck Palahniuk

Who doesn’t love a good story? It can be fun and entertaining when we share our creative ideas and thoughts about what life is all about. We love watching and listening to people’s triumphs and failures, successes and heart aches. The thing is, these stories are never completely true! They are a fantasy made up to entertain us. The more drama, the better, right??

The Stories we Tell Ourselves

I used to think this was true, but recently I woke up to some truths about myself. The ‘stories I’ve been telling myself’ have actually caused some problems in my life. There is nothing wrong with enjoying or telling a good story. We run into trouble when we become attached to or identify with these stories. These stories are tall tales we’ve made up about ourselves based on our past experiences and relationships. We all have stories we can tell about who we are and where we came from. I call them ‘stories’ because often times, we’ve developed and created these stories and they are not actually based on accurate information. We’ve only interpreted what really happened. Which is exactly what happened to me…

Drama

I created a lot of drama in my life. I made up a story about who I was based on what I was told and experienced in my past and therefore attracted into my life what I believe I deserved. It wasn’t all bad, I have so much to be grateful for but the drama was unnecessary! I attracted this drama as a defense mechanism to hide the truth of who I really was and it became my system of denial. It worked for awhile but the truth wanted to come out and it started shining through my blissful state of denial and hit me hard over the head yelling; “For God’s sake, Hilary, wake up!”

I discovered recently that I’ve been pretending to be someone I’m not; just to be accepted by others. Ugh, I hated that! I was doing it and hating myself the entire time. I believed it when people from my past told me who I was supposed to be and how I was supposed to live and behave. I don’t blame anyone. No one meant any harm. They were just passing on what they had learned about who they thought they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to teach me about life. Gets complicated I know but it’s worth figuring out. It is life changing. This realization was for me, anyway.

Making The Past The Problem

The problem was that I had spent my entire life trying to live up to the expectations of others, forgetting what I wanted, who I was and what I really needed to be happy and fulfilled. My family was male dominated and slightly old fashioned by today’s standards. My Dad was a very dedicated teacher at a private school and took his job very seriously. My Mom stayed at home. I had two older brothers. By no fault of their own, the men in my family were considered more important, more likely to be smart and athletic and land good careers.

No one meant any harm, it was just the way it was. I grew up believing I wasn’t important, that I never knew what was right and that I should always look to the men in my family for the right answers. I revered and worshiped my older brothers because they always knew what was good for me! I followed in their footsteps on may aspects in my life. To make a long, long…LONG story short, based on this influence, I started creating my story about always needing a man to tell me what to do and how to do it; that a man would always know what was best for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I was never emotionally scarred or attracted to abusive controlling men. I had wonderful fulfilling relationships but always looked to my partner to tell me what to do. I got married and started a business with my husband at the time based on his skill set. I went to school to learn this skill set so I could be his partner in the business. I deferred to him often on the operations and direction the business would take.

Changing The Story

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I actually had some good ideas and wanted to make my own mark on the world. Unfortunately that was part of the reason that led to the end of our marriage and our business but I got my fresh start. It was exciting at first but I had some inner work to do! I almost had to start over completely in every way. I even got into another relationship where I nearly followed that man’s career dreams as well! Good news is that I realized early enough that perhaps this was a bad idea and now I am enjoying a great partnership in love and not work!

These men in my life were good men. I take responsibility for ‘following their lead’ and ‘riding their coattails’ I used those terms a lot in the last 10 years! I knew I was coming to a new realization about myself when my story started to change. I was starting to feel badly about myself, I was starting to see that there was something I was missing that many decisions I made were based on what these men wanted. I was fortunate to have some very close trusted friends who understood; sometimes better than I did! It became blatantly obvious that the story I told myself was not serving me anymore.

It wasn’t an easy discovery, my thoughts became pretty dark at times. I had to look at my past and let go of some deep seeded beliefs. However, when I look back, I’m so grateful for the low point I got to because it meant I could work my way back up the be the way I wanted. It meant I could learn how to be myself for me; not for anyone else. I like the new me a lot. I have more energy, passion and drive. I’m happier than I’ve ever been. And having gone through it, I want it for everyone else! I want to share my journey with others because if I came out the others side, believe me, anyone can!

Your Story

My story is not unique. We all experience things from our past that create our story in the present; good and bad. From a very young age, we are told things about ourselves and everything we see and experience, we interpret as truth. We develop thoughts about the world based on what the people around us are teaching and showing us. We see and hear everything and we start identifying with those experiences to develop the story of us and who we think we are supposed to be. Our parents, our friends, our siblings, etc., all influence us and we develop habits and beliefs on the ‘right’ way to behave based on others’ beliefs and ideals.

It is easy to get caught up in these stories and become the victims of our life circumstances. We blame people from our past for the things we experience in our lives and relationships today. Often, we’ll make excuses for our behaviours believing we can’t help it because it was how we were raised.

It’s Not Your Parent’s Fault!

Having said that, you cannot blame anyone else for the stories you’ve made up about yourself. Sure we were influenced but others but they were also influenced by others. They weren’t purposely trying to control you; they only told you things that they believed to be true and taught you how to survive in the world in a way that they believed was in our own best interest.

I was adopted at six weeks old and I often think about the fact that I would been a completely different person if my biological mother had not given me up. Messes with your head! I’m fortunate though, because the family that adopted me was absolutely amazing!

The point is that thoughts about, who we are supposed to be and how we are supposed to live were imposed on us. It’s not anyone’s fault. We didn’t chose our family and they didn’t chose theirs, and so on. We are a product of the values and belief systems of our parents, schools, religions, friends, tv, movies, media, advertising, books, magazines etc. We are often exposed to things that we don’t choose to be exposed to. We learn from our early influencers and continue to develop similar belief systems and ways of learning the right and wrong ways of behaving and approaching life and relationships.

From a young age, we are very influenced by our parents, or caregivers. We are rewarded for good behaviour and punished for bad behaviour. We learn quickly how to ‘be’ to get rewarded for our ‘good’ behaviour. We learn to adopt the same belief systems as those who are rewarding and punishing us. Regardless if we think it’s fair or not, we develop habits and ways of thinking to please others.

Are you Stories Serving You?

It’s important to realize that the people who instilled these ideas had their own thoughts imposed on them growing up. So, stop blaming your parents for your issues!

Everyone has a story to tell about who they are and how they got here. It is human to say “My Dad ignored me so I’m in therapy to work through my bad habit of being needy and addicted to attention.” We all have thought at some point that we are the way we are because of how we were raised.

We have all experienced relationships and circumstances from our past that have caused fear, anxiety, anger, guilt, etc that continues to haunt us in our present. These are limiting beliefs and they effect our career, friendships, feelings of self worth, health, economics and our romantic relationships. If we don’t stop blaming everyone else for our problems, we’ll be stuck being a victim to our past and our current situations forever. Who wants to live like that; in denial of the power we have to make ourselves happy despite what happened to us in our past? Only we can take responsibility for our lives, no one else can make you happy because no one else really knows who you truly are.

There are good news stories too! Most of us have experienced moments of pure joy and affection. For better or for worse, we have become the story of our past. We don’t live in the present because we are so deeply influenced by our past relationships. And nowhere is that more true than in romantic relationships.

Your Love Story

Love and romance is where we are most vulnerable, where we tend to feel the most pain and pleasure. We created beliefs around love and intimacy from our experiences with friends, families and romantic relationships. We were told things about ourselves that we fully believed at the time and still believe to be true in our present. Perhaps someone hurt you and you built up a wall of fear and self-preservation. Or maybe we hurt someone and built up a wall of shame and self-loathing. We become very attached to our story!

At a certain moment in time when we did experience pain or hurt, the negative feelings were needed to keep our hearts and minds safe. However, it was a moment that ended but we carry these hurt feelings around with us for a long to protect us in case it ever happens again. The problem with that is, we enter into new relationships expecting to be hurt. We carry around our past pain like a safety net and react to current situations based on what happened in our past.

This becomes our story. For example, you may develop a thought pattern based on your past experience with being hurt that “people get hurt in relationships”. This becomes a limiting belief and your behaviour in relationships becomes destructive because you are certain you will be hurt. So you wear protective armour expecting to be hurt. The messages your sending out are ones of distrust and defensiveness. That won’t be conducive to a loving, trusting, joyful union of souls!

This pattern of fear starts and you begin to attract relationships that cause you pain and hurt because you are attracting them to prove that you are right; that “people get hurt in relationships” This story or limiting belief will keep you stuck in bad relationship patterns.

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way!

What happened to us in our past is our interpretation and not based in fact. For the majority of us, these stories or limited beliefs are buried deep. We don’t really know why we feel the way we do. Why are we attracted to a certain type of person? Why do we behave the way we do in relationships? Why do we often have feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, distrust within ourselves and our partners? Why do we sabotage our relationships? Why do we get stuck in patterns and continue making the same relationship mistakes over and over again; with different people but always with the same outcome?

Just by becoming aware that our relationship patterns were developed based on a bad experience that doesn’t exist today is a huge step forward in being happier in our current relationships.

Once we see that the stories we’re telling ourselves  are not true and are only our perception, we see that these limiting beliefs are not serving us anymore. We start to understand that we are in complete control to change them. To do this, we have to be introspective on our past relationships. Try to uncover where the fear/anger/blocks/patterns came from; what people or situations created these limiting beliefs that we can’t seem to let go of.

Maybe you don’t feel like you are worthy of love or deserve to be loved, maybe you believe all the good ones are taken, maybe you’re scared of being hurt so it’s safer to stay single. Whatever the story you’ve been telling yourself is, you can start to see it is not true so you can stop identifying with it and begin to detach from it.

Your Happy Ending

It may take some time to let these stories go. You may need to get some counseling to uncover some hidden feelings, sometimes journaling or meditating is all you need. The key is to clear your mind of the day to day clutter and get out of your head to be able to ask yourself, if you’re truly happy with your love story.

Keep the good stuff, let the bad stuff go. We deserve to be happy and fulfilled in our relationships. And that has to come from you, you have the power to create a beautiful love story based on who you really are and what you really want.

You are not your past and you are not the story based on someone else made you believe. You are whatever you need to be to be happy. You are the director and the hero of your story. Create and live your happy ending.

Your Love Workbook

Continue your journey to becoming the hero of your journey and check out the Love Workbook where you can:

  • The Secret Patterns That Could Be Sabotaging Your Love Life
  • The Mistakes That Every Woman Makes When It Comes To Romantic Relationships
  • The One Thing You Can Do Today to Smash Broken Patterns and Destroy Limiting Belief

Click here for more info

 

7 Roadblocks To A Healthy Relationship

Bust through them by simply changing the stories you’ve been telling yourself!

ROADBLOCK #1: LOOKING OUTWARD. Thinking someone else can make you happy is old news, so why are we determined to keep believing it? Never ever believe that you need a relationship to fulfill or complete you. Ask yourself what happened in your past that you haven’t been able to let go. What ‘tall tale’ have you been telling yourself that is keeping you stuck and unable to love and forgive yourself? You have a choice and the power to change your story from a tale of waiting and wanting to one of self-love and fulfillment.

ROADBLOCK #2: JUDGING. We are human, we constantly judge everyone; including ourselves. Every time you have any thought that makes you feel like you’re better or worse than anyone, snap out of it. Change your perception of the behaviour and instead of judging it; accept it, forgive it and let it go. There is someone from your past you haven’t forgiven and it could very likely be yourself. Once you can see that you are projecting those past judgments onto yourself and/or your current relationship, it’s easy to recognize that it is not doing you or your partner any good. You have the power to change your story from one of judgment to acceptance, starting with yourself.

ROADBLOCK #3: MALE BASHING. Don’t believe the stories you were told or you told yourself that gave you a general negative view on men and/or relationships (ie Where have all the good guys gone? Men are going to think I’m too old! All men cheat). This limits our potential for having a loving relationship if we’re always assuming relationships and men are only going to bring us pain and conflict. You can choose to change your story from one of  ‘guilty ‘til proven innocent’ to one of trust and innocence. Don’t assume all men are bad based on past negative experiences…you’ll only keep attracting bad relationships!

ROADBLOCK #4: RESISTING LOVE. No matter how much you have been hurt in the past, believe you deserve to be loved today. Receive love whole-heartedly. Sometimes we’re so stuck in the pattern of being wounded from past relationships, that we are closed to believing that anyone could truly love us. The past is over and done with. You are not the same person and not in the same relationship. So, change your mind and break the pattern by leaving the wounds in the past. And don’t forget that our partner has past wounds that come up and limit their capacity for giving and receiving love as well. Change your war story to one of peace and acceptance.

ROADBLOCK #5: BEING A VICTIM. Many of us believe that our lives have turned out they way they have because of circumstances outside our control. Stop the drama! You are where you are and have had the relationships you’ve had because of you. Stop blaming everyone else for your pain and your problems. Take full responsibility for your life and your choices. Change your story’s main character to be a hero instead of the victim. You alone have the power to rewrite your story!

ROADBLOCK #6: HAVING EXPECTATIONS. Stop having unrealistic expectations and don’t get too hopeful on desired out-comes. You’ll always be let down; every single time. Accept what is and what could be and understand that you really have no control over how someone treats you or even if someone breaks your heart. You can control leaving them if  they’re not right for you. You are stuck in a pattern from your past that is telling you; if he doesn’t do that, or doesn’t treat me like this, then he must not love me. It is time to change your story from one of thinking you can control to just letting it soak or letting it go!

ROADBLOCK #7: CHANGING YOUR PARTNER. You can’t change how anyone feels about you or how they treat you. Of course there are certain behaviours you can have a grown-up discussion about that comes from a place of ‘no blame’. However, first take a good look inside to see if you’re annoyed because of bad behaviours from past relationships that you’re bringing into your current one. Change your story from one of a need to change someone to one of acceptance that you can only change yourself and open yourself up to all sorts of possibilities. Even if one door closes, it means another is open for better options.

Hilary Caters is the founder of Heartstring, a corporation committed to driving happiness and performance in work, life and love by bringing awareness to how we can change the stories we tell ourselves. To receive more articles or for more information on personal consultations, contact me at hilary@heartstringstory.com