We all remember the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz? He had this belief that he was not brave or courageous, even though he had the complete capacity to be so. It only took breaking the belief for him to be the lion he was created to be.
Breaking beliefs that keep us away from intimate and lasting relationships take courage.
In writing about courage as a virtue of love relationships, I feel it has two parts. The decision to be courageous is the first part. The will to act on the courage is the second part. I say will because for me, it is the will to believe past my own fears which is acting against what may feel unnatural for me.
Trust is my undoing. In a relationship it happens two ways. I jump into a relationship because I want to believe in the idea that I can trust the other person with my feelings. In reality, I don’t trust myself or him. I actually am trying to control the outcome of the good feelings I am having. I am trying to control the risks of being hurt or not being heard.
This usually backfires on me. The man feels me panicking and it causes him to pull away. This then is the perfect agreement I have with myself in stating that men don’t stay and aren’t trustworthy or courageous enough to be in a relationship.
But men are trustworthy and courageous.
So where do I begin to undo this awful situation I create time and time again?
First, I have show compassion for myself. I have had no role model that gave me, as a child, the belief that men are trustworthy and do the right thing.
I have to forgive my fathers (real and step). I have to step away from the old belief that was created and begin a new one.
I have to begin trusting myself as well. How do you trust yourself and what does this mean? Trusting yourself is tricky. It seems like it should be natural, right? But if your head and experiences are filled with situations where you were hurt, it begins to gnaw on your self-esteem, your trust in yourself.
I have learned a lot from relationships that failed. It wasn’t the man that taught me anything (well maybe he taught me a little bit). For me, the relationship is the backdrop, the scene in which I hear the repeating of the old talk, the old me and all those false beliefs that come up so painfully when the breakup happens.
This is where I have the opportunity for the real work, the real act of courage. This is where I sit with these old enemies to understand and to then break the thoughts and patterns of these old thoughts.
And in case you are wondering, yes, it hurts like hell! I am as stubborn as the next person in wanting on one hand to not feel the pain and on the other to go on believing the old thoughts and beliefs as true.
Case in point:
I really liked this last man, Daniel. It was easy with him when we talked or were with each other. But then I became scared and it wasn’t easy for me. It was frightening. I wasn’t seeing him enough, and I began trying to control it by asking if I was a priority in his life. Too quickly, I was trying to define the relationship instead of trusting in the process and in myself. I wanted to have the whole relationship tied up in a nice package that had a favorable outcome. I wanted to feel safe, loved and know it was going to be okay.
I wanted all of that and in a hurry because of my inability to trust myself or him. Even now as I speak this, I can feel the panic, the hurt of not having this feeling of being safe, of trusting.
As a child having a father that cares nothing for you and leaves, and then having a stepfather that takes advantage of you leaves you with no trust, no safety that you will be okay. That is the old thought, the real thing which keeps coming up on everyman’s face. It’s not that I am staying in that place with them. It is that I am not trusting myself (and God) that I can feel safe now, trust now!
I keep putting this responsibility on the man I am with. It is not possible for them to solve this problem. Why should they? It is my responsibility to create a belief, and thoughts that discreate that old belief.
How is that done, you ask? I haven’t figured it all out, perhaps I won’t entirely. But here is what I am doing?
I am working with a woman who helps me tremendously. She helps me connect with that inner child who needs to re-parent herself in taking care of her needs.
I write statements regarding men and place them around my house, reading them and let them sink in to my thoughts.
I don’t allow negative talk about men from other women to enter the domain of my own thoughts. If a woman says, “There are no good men out there. They are all taken.” I say, “I choose not to believe this. I choose to believe my life partner is in pursuit of me. It is just a matter of timing.”
I appreciate other couples I see or know that are happily together.
I begin to revel in my own life, in my own wonderful abilities and talents. In other words, I get busy in my own life.
I also have told myself I won’t give away my heart to the next man. I will hold the keys to my power. If I give him the keys to my heart, then if he does leave, he will take my power with him.
I do this. I begin to believe the man I am seeing is the one for me. I want to feel loved and wanted, so I begin to imagine wonderful things about him, and us that may not be true. I look at him through rose-colored glasses. I give my power away.
I am keeping the keys this time and not handing them over. That means I pay attention to my real needs and thoughts while in the relationship. I don’t try and control or manage the times and talks we have. I enjoy but don’t readily invest myself in the process or him. And, I wear the clearest, most true glasses to see him with!
I hope for each person reading this, you will find your courage to look inside yourself and love that person (and inner child) enough to do the work to break free of any old beliefs or patterns that stand in the way of a real intimacy -with yourself and another.