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The internet is teeming with advice columns and quizzes on love, and yet, many of us are wondering when that depth of connection will come into our lives.
Or, maybe, we feel hopeless about the future and need advice on how to cope.
Well, this isn’t another clickbait advice column. The advice I’ve received changed my life.
I remember crawling into a new therapist’s office one day, writhing in emotional pain from the coming undoing of my marriage. I had no clue whether to stay or go. Nothing seemed like a good option.
And this new therapist, whom I ended up spending years with, looked at me with a deep-hearted empathy and said:
“It sounds like you need a process. When you are finished, you’ll know.”
At that point in my life, I had no idea what a process was.
I was used to “knowing”—shooting from the hip. Little did I know that my “knowing” was actually a trauma-informed reaction that kept repeating old, unhealthy patterns and cycles.
So, I stepped into the process for the first time in my life.
In my process, it was hard not to reflexively make the choice to leave (a choice I may have later regretted), or stay out of inertia and fear.
Entering the process allowed me to dig deep into my own self-work, feel my feelings instead of doing something “to feel better,” and learn to take full responsibility for myself.
The process wasn’t quick, but when it was over, I knew. I knew what I needed. I knew what was available to me, and I had built inner strength to make decisions out of love, not out of fear.
My life is so incredibly different right now because I chose to enter and stay in process, no matter how painful it was to not jump the gun.
So, this is my advice for those not knowing what to do—how to attract the love you long for, whether to break up, or stay together—process.
The “process” is an intentional journey to reach a personal change through deep, introspective work.
Here are the three aspects that the process should include:
We may be really self-aware in many areas of our lives, but shadows are inherently tricky to see. Our shadows are our blind spots, which is why we may repeat the same patterns again and again, without a clue as to why.
Shadows are the reasons we get stuck in the same old, unfulfilling places. They have deep roots, live largely in the unconscious, and are hard to rewire.
The only way to uproot our shadows is to shed light on them, track them, and understand them with compassion. Tracking our shadows requires not only patience and a degree of self-love, but also self-responsibility and willingness to own our stuff.
The irony with shadows is that they are so easy to spot in others but so hard to detect in ourselves! That’s why it’s almost impossible to do without support.
Be patient with yourself. Process takes time, and not the amount of time you think you will need. Sometimes, it’s surprisingly quick, and other times, it’s frustratingly slow.
How you relate to this issue of time will shed a lot of light on your approach to relationships and love in general. Do you snap impatiently or walk away when an impasse arises? Is it really hard for you to make decisions, and so you sit on the fence indefinitely as time goes by?
There’s so much wisdom in our relationship with time.
3. Safe Container.
Because the process of tracking shadows, understanding our old ways, and rewiring can sometimes feel extremely unsafe, we need a place where we feel safe to do it. The stronger the container, the deeper the process, the greater the outcome.
Sometimes, a container can be as simple as a regular journaling practice, a workshop, or a course. Other times, a therapist or a coach is required to take us to the deep places.
The container has to feel intentional—something you consciously enter to do the deep, introspective work.
The container is there for you to grow—without having to make dinner, answer emails, or listen to a friend go on about their own personal drama.
If we are not used to working in a process, it can seem incredibly uncomfortable at first. Stay with it. The rewards will come.
Moving through a deep process, we come out with a wealth of new knowledge about ourselves. When the shadows are brought into light, we begin to know—know if this relationship is the right one, know why we attract the same type of unfulfilling partners.
If you want real, most honest advice on love, step into a process on your specific issue.
It’s not as easy as taking an online quiz, but the results are real.