What is the Soul? – Part 7 – What the Trickster Can Teach Us about Us

I’ve titled this series “What is the Soul?” but, at heart, the whole series is based on the question, “How does a disembodied existence [the presumed soul] feel about / adjust to / come to terms with an embodied existence?”

In last week’s post, we discussed the Hero and the Trickster as split-personality projections of the soul. We considered that the Hero could be a projection of what the soul wishes for itself out of incarnation and the Trickster could be a projection of how the soul actually feels about dealing with incarnated life.

In this final post of the series, we look at what we can learn at a deep soul-level, by understanding and embracing the character of the Trickster. One day I hope to write a book about the Trickster and the Soul. For now, this series and this post are the distilled version.

Lesson #1 Engage with your dirt

It may seem like a stretch to associate the Trickster with ‘dirt,’ but the Trickster has a close association with the gut and hunger as discussed in the post Trickster Makes this Road.   Lewis Hyde, author of Trickster Makes this World notes that, “‘dirt’ washed from the dishes was ‘food’ not long ago and we sat around putting it in our mouths.” (Loc 3072)

It is an important lesson that the very things that nourish us as food, in excess or not-well maintained can themselves become dirt-like. Old food goes to rot. And yet, dirt, itself, can be tremendously nourishing.

Further, Trickster is associated with hunger, hunting, eating, food, digestion, and also defecation. Is there anything we consider dirtier, really, than poop?

Engaging with our ‘dirt’ on a metaphorical level allows us to see ourselves in a morally complex way. We need to be willing to look at the unsavory parts of our character with a compassionate but unflinching eye. Acknowledging our shortcomings is not a weakness, but a strength. The real value comes from seeing our real dirt which is often not what we think. Finding the deep dirt that gets in our way takes self-reflection, attention, and hard work.

Even more, we need to be able to look at the qualities we think of as strengths for ourselves and be willing to see the dirty aspects of those as well. If I’m honest am I a ‘straight-shooter’ with whom you ‘always know where you stand’ or am I ‘rude’ and opinionated’? If I’m constantly going out of my way to help people am I a ‘selfless, people person’ or a ‘weakness enabler’ secretly seeking to gratify my own inner desire to feel needed?

Only when we can see the negative aspects of what we consider our strengths and positive qualities and recognize that even those qualities may have unintended impacts on those around us – can we transform ourselves into something new.

Lesson #2 Recognize Opportunity

Trickster is associated with the ‘lucky find.’ In the Homeric Hymn of Hermes, Hermes finds a turtle outside his cave and turns it into a lyre with which he charms Apollo. Perhaps any number of others would have let the turtle walk away without seeing what it could become;[1] But Hermes, the Trickster, recognized the opportunity and ‘seized’ it.

We often unintentionally block our own opportunities in life. We may not even recognize opportunities when they walk across our path. Several weeks ago I wrote a post on “allowing,” a concept that applies well here. We can become so attached to a particular outcome or path forward that we close our minds and hearts to other possibilities.

There is an excellent quote from the Alchemist, “..when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” This is true. However, there are two complicating factors; one is that we don’t always know what we really want. Deep down we may want something general (love, fulfillment, self-worth), but we attach it to something specific. Thus, when the Universe shows up with a perfect solution to our heart’s desire – we don’t even see it.

The Trickster encourages us to take a wider view of our situation when we are looking for solutions, opportunities, and answers. We may sometimes need to go in a direction that seems like the opposite of where we want to go to end up where we want to be.

Lesson # 3 – Truth May Not Be Relative, But It Isn’t Absolute Either

It is perhaps his association with lying that earns the Trickster the lion-share of his bad reputation. However, it would be a great misunderstanding to limit the Trickster’s association with communication to lying.

Hermes’ gift of language is to be ‘clever-tongued’ or ‘tricky with the oath’.  Coyote often secures his prey with a ‘trick.’ It is rarely an outright lie, but instead a type of verbal maneuvering that trips up those who aren’t paying attention.

To truly understand the Trickster’s association with communication, let’s reflect on how this aspect of the Trickster relates to our overall discussion of the difference between the embodied and disembodied existence. According to the Newton dialogues, in an energetic ‘soul-state’ communication happens via a type of telepathy. Essentially, in such a state there is no difference between thought and speech.

From one quote, “It is impossible to hide anything” in the disembodied state.

So while in some ways we are less vulnerable in an energetic state – free from fear of death, pain, loss, hunger, strife, etc. In terms of our personal weaknesses we are actually more vulnerable – our soul wounds and flaws are essentially visible for all to see.

Contrast that with the embodied state where we find an incredible amount of complexity between what we think and feel and how we might actually express that in words. If the Newton dialogues are to be believed, lying only becomes possible in the embodied state. Despite all the vulnerabilities of the human body, as humans, we actually are able to hide the vulnerabilities of our soul.

Noting that difference – Trickster’s association with communication (and, yes, lying) aligns very well with the interpretation of Trickster as a divine representation of humanity. And perhaps – if you can allow that that interpretation might be true – it helps you understand Trickster’s association with lying, and by extension our human relationship with communication, with a more heart-felt compassion.

Understanding this about the Trickster and then holding up the mirror to ourselves, the lesson here is to explore our own relationship with communication. Is there a giant gulf between what we feel and what we speak? Do our emotions sneak out in snarky comments or loaded questions?

If we allow it, the Trickster can teach us about both cleverly and effectively crafting our own communication and listening for the truth in others speech.

I had hoped to make this my last post in this series, but the last lesson I want to cover on the blog is simply too big to ‘tack on’ to this post after all I’ve written about the first three, therefore I will cover it in it’s own post next week…which should be the last one.

 

Footnotes

[1] of course, that future was fairly negative as far as the turtle was concerned – but implementing true inspiration often requires transformation and some sortof sacrifice.

Find Lasting Love – Step 3 – See THEM

Welcome to Part three of this three part series on finding lasting love. If you haven’t read the first two installments of the series, I highly recommend doing so as the elements build on each other.

One of the biggest obstacles to a happy, lasting relationship can be that our own insecurities (as covered in step 1), and filters (as covered in step 2) get in the way of even seeing someone else for who they are. If we’re hiding behind our own walls, how can we possibly see anyone else?

Whether we are looking for new love or in a long-term relationship, if we can’t see our partner, we can’t engage with them in a meaningful and fulfilling way. Our fears and insecurities as well as filters inform many of our emotional interactions. All of our relationships are impacted by this, but since our love relationships are often characterized by emotional interactions, they tend to see the heaviest impact.

We should expect that our partner (or potential partner) has just as many fears, insecurities, and filters as we do. Perhaps a previous partner told them they were a boring lover and now they’ve researched every kama sutra position and aphrodisiac there is. No one will ever call them boring again!

Meanwhile, you’re thinking I don’t want to do gymnastics in bed! Can’t we just have sex? Or perhaps you’re even intimidated by all this expertise – what if they think you’re boring? When both partners are operating from a place of pre-existing (or even newfound) insecurities and fears without sharing them with each other, it’s a recipe for discontent.

Before we go further, though, a gentle warning. Seeing our partner for the whole person that they are is not the same as psycho-analyzing their every action and delivering a diagnosis with little to no input from them. ‘Seeing’ your partner is not an excuse to avoid a difficult conversation, it’s an invitation to have one.

‘Seeing’ your partner is recognizing they have their own fears and insecurities about the relationship and creating a space in which you can share that information with each other. Obviously, in a brand new relationship this would be heavy first-date conversation, so it’s enough in such a case to be aware that your date is a human being who comes to the situation with their own “baggage” and that what they carry is no less valid than your own “baggage.”

If we want to see our partner clearly, we need to train ourselves to enhance our observations of behavior and reduce the ‘spin’ our own filters and fears put on them. In Marshall Rosenberg’s book Nonviolent Communication, he notes that, “Judgments of others are alienated expressions of our own unmet needs.”

He goes on to say,

“When we express our needs indirectly through the use of evaluations, interpretations, and images, others are likely to hear criticism. And when people hear anything that sounds like criticism, they tend to invest their energy in self-defense or counterattack.” [1]

If we’re going to change the way we see our partner, we must do more than change the way we communicate – we must change the way we think. We need to train ourselves, internally, to separate behaviors from our interpretations of them independently of when we feel a need to talk to our partner about a particular behavior.

This way, when we do feel a need to communicate on a behavior, we can approach from a point of open curiosity not because we’re trying to lead them to a particular point, but because we genuinely feel that curiosity – “I notice that you do ‘x,’ why is that?” This is an invitation for both partners to understand more about each other, versus one partner having a particular ‘view’ of a behavior that they are trying to ‘help’ the other person understand – no matter how compassionately phrased.

It’s important to me that you know, as a reader, that I do not share this advice from a superior position. All three of these steps are continual work I have to do in my own relationships; all of my relationships. Sometimes I do this really well, sometimes I fail miserably. I feel good about myself for trying, though, and that’s the key thing to take away from this series – the importance of making an effort.

Early on in our marriage, my husband used to wake up on Saturday mornings and agonize about the state of our apartment. “This place is a disaster, we need to be cleaning right now.” I would look around totally dumbfounded, there was nothing different about the ‘mess’ we had on Saturday morning versus Friday night – or Monday afternoon for that matter.

We had many, many weekend arguments about this until one day, after a particularly tumultuous fight-and-make-up series I observed, “You know, I notice this only happens on Saturday mornings. Is there something particular about Saturday mornings that causes an acute sensitivity in this area? Why don’t we have this same fight on like a Tuesday evening, for example?”

After some quiet reflection, my husband shared that when his family moved to this country, because they could no longer afford a maid, his mom would get the whole family up in a frenzy on Saturday morning and they would spend the early part of the day cleaning. Subconsciously, when he saw our apartment as a mess on Saturday mornings, he felt anxiety that we weren’t following this cleaning pattern he had become accustomed to.

That was one half of the mystery. It takes two to fight though – why did I resist his impulse so strongly? The apartment was a mess, why didn’t I just accommodate his wish to spend the Saturday morning hours cleaning?

I shared, for my part, that on the Saturday mornings I grew up with the family slept in and took it easy. It was the first day of the weekend after a long week of school or work and the last thing we did was more work at home. So I had been reluctant to give up what I viewed as my relaxation time.

The important thing to note is that this was also a pattern. These two conflicting patterns, meeting on Saturday mornings, triggered many explosions.

Once we had come to these realizations about our own behavior, we were able to choose how to move forward. I agreed that the apartment could benefit from more frequent cleaning and my husband agreed it would be nice to relax on Saturday mornings. Once we had freed ourselves from these unconscious influences, we never fought about cleaning on a Saturday morning again.

The exercise for this week is a bit more long-range than the two previous installments. Over the next few days and weeks make an effort to observe your partner. Not judge, just observe. Try not to creep them out! J

How do they get up in the morning? Do they seem well rested or always tired? How do they come home from work? Energized and happy? Disappointed and drained? How do they interact with you? How do they interact with others? What are their regular habits and how comfortable do they feel breaking those?

I can’t say this enough (because we all do it naturally), but really try to avoid judging or interpreting. For example, we want to avoid moving from “My partner hasn’t done the dishes in the month we’ve been together” to “My partner is lazy.” The first is an observation of a behavior, the second is a judgment on the cause of that behavior.

The goal of this exercise is not to deliver any kind of evaluation, but to start really seeing your partner in an effort to understand them better.

Even better than just watching your partner is to watch yourself watching your partner. Notice when you have an emotional reaction (especially a negative one) and ask yourself why you feel that way. You may find connections to some of the fears, insecurities, and filters identified in the first two exercises.

It can be invaluable to have this exchange with yourself before you address a behavior with your partner as it will allow you to explain to them “where you’re coming from” versus representing your viewpoint as an objective or obvious “truth” that they seem to be ignorant of.

Keep in mind that, at heart, most people don’t really want to be seen at this level of detail. At least, not by just anyone. However, if you see your partner from a point of love and compassion and not-at-all from a point of superiority, they probably won’t mind being seen so much.

All’s fair, though, and you can’t see them while hiding yourself. If you allow them to see you with just as much clarity and openness, the two of you will have the foundation for a relationship where love is supported by the kind of learning, growth, and sharing that makes relationships last.

I hope you found reading this series worthwhile and maybe found a tool here or there to try in your own quest for love or in an existing relationship. This post was inspired by my own experience with relationships, but the books Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen and Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg provided an excellent and helpful framework for organizing and thinking about my own relationship experience. I can feel their influence in the series overall and this post specifically. I highly recommend those books if you are looking for a more thorough and well-developed structure for the ideas in this series.

[1] Both quotes come from Rosenberg, Marshall Nonviolent Communication loc 1234 on Kindle

Find Lasting Love – Step 2 – Clear Your Filters

Note: This is part two in a three part series on finding lasting love, if you haven’t already read it, please see last week’s post. Each step builds upon the previous one

Roughly ten years ago, I was in a very bad place. My marriage was on the rocks and I was terribly unhappy in it. Whether or not my husband and I would stay together was, at least for me, a day to day question. Then I heard some advice I really took to heart and it changed our relationship for the better, forever.

I can’t recall whether it came from the pages of a book, the sounds of the radio, or if I overheard it in a conversation, but the advice was this, “Never let your idea of marriage, get in the way of your actual marriage.” This stopped me short. It was exactly what I had been doing, not just during this tumultuous period, but for our entire marriage.

I had all these ideas about what married life would or should be like and I constantly compared our marriage to them. When it became obvious our relationship was not going to be the idyllic love cocoon I’d imagined, disappointment, self-doubt, and depression set in.

I was angry with myself (Why wasn’t I attractive enough? Loveable enough?) and angry with him (Why did he act one way when we were dating, but differently now that we were together full-time?)

Idea Overload

The ideas we have about love, or anything really, can become like filters. An applicable definition of filter here comes from the Merriam Webster online dictionary, “Something that has the effect of a filter (as by holding back elements or modifying the appearance…)”

We think love, a relationship, a marriage, should flow along particular lines and the occurrences and behaviors that align with those pass through the filter. Everything else positive is left at the curb. In contrast, we use the events, ideas, and occurrences that don’t align with our ideas as evidence for what is not working about the relationship.

This can be unhelpful for either finding a new partner or for the longevity of an existing relationship

The concept of clearing our filters builds on last week’s exercise in self-love. Not only do we have many fears and insecurities about ourselves in love and relationships (the focus of last week’s post), but we also have many ideas about how the relationship itself should be. Sometimes these can be completely independent of our fears and insecurities (although you’ll undoubtedly find some influence of your fears and insecurities on your filters).

Maybe we think our partner should do everything with us, or conversely, we think they should let us be free to live our own life and do many things without them. Maybe we think a good relationship is characterized by lots of sex, or copious cuddling, long walks on the beach, or lots of intelligent conversation.

Regardless of what we think, these are our ideas of what makes a good relationship and not objective truths. Any partner we meet is going to come to the relationship with their own ideas of what makes a good relationship. Many of these, on both sides, will be hidden from view until after the honeymoon period is over.

Get a Heart Exam

One thing we can do to combat the detrimental effects our ideas of relationships have on our actual relationships, is to start looking at those ideas with a clear mind and eye. Take a moment to write down everything you can think of that makes a ‘good’ relationship or an ‘ideal’ partner. I recommend avoiding generalities like “mutual trust and affection” and being as specific as you can.

For example, do partners in a good relationship share the chores? Do they avoid nagging each other about housework completely? Should your partner take care of all the housework? Should you? Do partners in a good relationship allow opposite sex friendships? Do they not? How are finances handled? Should you or your partner take care of making sure the bills get paid and the mail gets opened? What about cooking? Eating? Political alignment? Etc.

As you can see, there are lots and lots of ideas that one can have about what makes a ‘good’ relationship or an ‘ideal’ partner! Although you don’t have to get quite as specific as I have above, you probably have more specific ideas than you realize. The more of your specific expectations that you capture, the more your own filters will start coming into view.

For example, you may expect your partner (or potential partner) to ‘clean up after themselves.’ For you, this may be an obvious basic. Your partner on the other hand, may have grown up in a household where a parent always cleaned up after them, or maybe they had a maid, or maybe they’re happy to live in a total mess. Your partner may not-at-all see this as a ‘basic’ component of a healthy relationship.

You may feel (when your partner doesn’t pick up after themselves) that they don’t respect you or that they treat you like a maid. Meanwhile, your partner may be perfectly happy living in unkempt conditions – they didn’t ask you to pick up after them – and completely dumbfounded why you ‘freak out’ about this all the time. Which one of you is ‘right’?

Neither. You both have different expectations. Even if ten people agree with you and only two people agree with your partner, it doesn’t change the fact that you have different expectations. The gap will be easier to navigate, though, if you recognize that this is one of your filters.

Let it Go

Once you’ve written down everything you can think of (and you can always come back and add more), see if any clear patterns emerge. Take each idea (or relevant group of ideas) and ask yourself why you have this idea about an ideal partner or a good relationship.

Is this idea representative of how you were raised? Is it something you saw in your parent’s relationship? Maybe it’s the opposite of how your parents interacted (if their marriage ended in divorce, etc.)? Is this something you saw on TV? Or read about in a book? Advice from a Friend?

All of our ideas come from somewhere. When we allow ourselves to see that, we may not feel so attached to them. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but many of my own deep ideas about romance and relationships came from fairy tales and, in my later teens, romance novels. When I was willing to see that about myself, it became easier to let those ideas go.

Unlike the subjects we study in school, our ideas about relationships largely come from our own life experience, making them especially subjective and especially entrenched. On top of that, we are all subjected to a fair bit of gender-based societal and media conditioning around relationships (although, thankfully, that is starting to ease up).

Bringing it back home

After you’ve explored where your ideas about relationships have come from, it’s time decide what you want to keep and what you want to let go. To be fair, this exercise will probably be an ongoing one, but it can be helpful to spend some time taking a first crack at it.

Recognize that it is entirely up to you which ideas about relationships (or an ideal partner) to hold on to. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having ideas about how a relationship or a partner should be. It is your awareness that these are your ideas and not “the gold standard” that will make it easier to deal with relationship interactions that don’t align with your expectations.

Practicing the self-love from last week, you can feel good about your willingness to take a look at this part of your life with a critical eye; it can be a challenging and emotional exercise.

Once you’ve gone through your list, you are ready to take a closer look at your relationship (assuming you are already in one). Pay attention to all the things your partner may be doing that are beneficial or positive in the relationship that you may not “count” because they didn’t necessarily “match” one of your ideas of how a relationship should be.

For example, maybe they make sure all the bills are paid on time. Maybe they warm up the car for you in the morning. Maybe they share cooking responsibilities or maybe they’re a really good parent. I had a co-worker who lost a dearly beloved husband and told me that one of the hardest things for her (practically) after he died was realizing all the things he just ‘handled’ that she never even knew or thought about.

Working on our filters is a continuous process throughout our lives. When we start this crucial work, though, we can look at our relationships, and our part in them, through a clearer lens. We may find unexpected elements that we really like and we may find the things we thought we didn’t like help us learn about ourselves, our partner, and relationships in general.

When we’ve started to clear our filters, we’re one step closer to finding lasting love! Check in next week for the final step in this series!

Find Lasting Love – Step 1 – Love Your Self

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we can’t help but think about love. Not the universal, ‘brotherly’ kind, but the very human kind of love, the kind that (usually) involves physical contact and fluttering hearts. Whether we’re looking for someone new or are in an existing relationship, we can benefit from attending to these three steps to find lasting love. This week we cover Part 1;

Love Your Self

We are not very good at self-love. It seems to be all the rage, and we certainly pay lip service to it, but most encouragement around this idea is watered down to the point of a platitude. As a result, it’s difficult to understand what self-love is, much less practice it.

Based on my experience, Self-love is not seeing everything we do with a rosy glow, or ignoring feedback we don’t like because we don’t want to damage our fragile self-esteem.

Self-love may have to be tough love sometimes. If we think about a healthy relationship between a parent and a child, or a mentor and a student; what the parent / mentor wants most in the relationship is to see the child / student grow and find happiness in success.

At times, this will require course-corrections, admonishments, suggestions, etc. While this may be painful, at times, for the child or student, it is a necessary part of learning.

With self-love, we perform this role for ourselves. Rather than glossing over what we’re not doing right or dwelling on it so much we can’t see outside of it, we need to be able to look at our unhelpful behaviors with both a critical and compassionate eye.

The Devil you know

This holds true for any aspect of life, but since we’re focusing on love in this post let’s take that as an example. Let’s take a moment to write down all of our fears and insecurities around finding new love or about our current relationship.

These might be physical qualities, like our weight or the proportions of various body parts associated with physical attractiveness. They might be personality qualities we think inhibit a lasting relationship; ‘not playful enough’, ‘too controlling’, ‘too anal’, or –on the flipside – ‘too messy.’

It is okay if you cry during this exercise, I have often cried during such exercises. When we’re pulling up our deep fears and wounds, we should feel emotionally moved. If you don’t feel an intensity of emotion around what you are writing, it may be a sign you are not digging deep enough.

Once we’ve exorcised all those ghosts in our hearts, we are ready to really see them; to evaluate how they affect the way we feel about ourselves and the ways they get in the way of having a healthy relationship.

When we are bogged down by our fears and insecurities, especially when we haven’t taken the time to really be conscious of them, they can inhibit us from having healthy and fulfilling relationships. For example, if I’m insecure about my weight, I may project that insecurity onto my husband.

If he says, ‘let’s not eat out tonight’ I may interpret that to mean he thinks I’m fat and if we eat out again I’m only going to get fatter. Or if he says “We need to start going to the gym more.” I may think he means I need to go to the gym more because I’m getting fat.

Truthfully, my husband may think none of these things. I simply don’t know, and even if I ask, because I’m already projecting my own fear onto him, I’m unlikely to believe anything reassuring he says. We put a healthy relationship in jeopardy when we look to our partner to reassure us on the areas where we already feel vulnerable and insecure.

Each of us has different areas of sensitivity. Many people are insecure about their weight, but some are not. Some are insecure about their desirability or how good they are in bed. Others may be insecure about their intelligence. It doesn’t matter what our areas of insecurity are, it’s a key first step just to find them. If knowing is half the battle, we can’t even begin to fight if we don’t know.

Now What?

Now that we’ve flushed out our relationship fears and insecurities, we’re ready to work on the self-love part. First, we need to be compassionate with ourselves about the fact that we even have all these fears and insecurities. We can also feel pretty good that we were willing to admit them to ourselves, and bravely write them down!

Secondly, we should take each item individually and evaluate whether this is something we can (or want to) do something about or if it is something we just have to accept about ourselves or our situation; it may be both.

I engaged in this exercise before the birth of my second child. I had many fears and insecurities about the upcoming birth, especially given my last birth experience, and I really wanted to work on them. One of the fears I wrote down is that I would ‘run out of energy’ and be unable to deliver. My first labor had been thirty-four intense, long hours and I was terrified I wouldn’t have enough energy to go through that again.

When I looked at this fear I realized there were some reasons why my labor had been so long. I could ensure that my midwife and the hospital staff were well aware of the difficulties that happened the first time around. Too keep up my energy, I could ensure my diet leading up to labor was healthy and full of energizing foods. I could make sure we had lots of healthy ‘early labor’ snacks and that I was getting a good night’s sleep.

Writing down these ideas and putting them into practice greatly reduced the influence of this fear.

On the other hand, another fear I wrote down was that we would have a child with high-needs that we were unprepared to fulfill. Our first daughter requires so much energy and attention, my husband was very wary of having a second. I really pushed for the idea and I knew it was something that I wanted much more than he did.

As a result, I was terrified that this second child might make our lives even harder and cause my husband to resent that I had pressed so hard to have one. What if we found it hard to love the second child? What if we were never able to spend time being together as a married couple again because our lives were so full of childcare responsibilities?

Unlike the first fear, this one I had to accept. The many tears I cried over this fear helped me come to terms with it, though. Once all the tears were cried out, I was able to accept this potential reality and move forward knowing deep down that whatever happened, there would be support, love, and help from the Universe.

I offer these examples, knowing they may cast me in an unflattering light because it is important to be honest with ourselves about our fears and worries, even if we would be embarrassed sharing them with someone else. Even if we are embarrassed to even have them.

I recommend going through each of the fears and insecurities you’ve identified around love and relationships and making an effort to understand them at a deep level as just modeled. What are you willing to change? What are you unwilling to change? What do others have to accept about you? What do you have to accept about yourself?

Now that we have made an effort to identify, understand, and come to terms with our fears and insecurities, we should promise ourselves that we are going to avoid projecting them onto potential (or existing) partners. In order to avoid the projection, we had to go through the painful exercise of identification and reconciliation first.

It’s important to find and keep a supportive partner. However, we must recognize that no partner, no matter how wonderful, can heal our wounded sense of self-worth. We can only heal ourselves and we can only do so by truly loving ourselves. Allowing our conscious mind into the dark and hidden corners of our own hearts will help us find a path of healing.

When we really understand and internalize this lesson, we will naturally stop expecting our partners to bridge the gap between their own love and the love we should feel for ourselves. We will be one step closer to finding lasting love.

Tune in next week for the next step in this three part series on how to find lasting love!