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*Editor’s Note: This piece is part of a series—lucky you! Follow Galina to get notified when the next article is available to read. And read the introduction here.
I expected more from love.
As a young woman, I believed that love was a promise to which I was entitled.
I also believed that love was something we get from other people—special people with specific qualities who fall in love with us and make us feel good.
At the beginning of my marriage, when I felt happy and “in love,” I attributed my feelings to my husband.
I thought I was happy because I was with him. I thought I was happy because we were together. Believing love came from outside, I was prepared to work for it.
Love, to me, was synonymous with sacrifice of oneself for the other. So I devoted my life to sacrifice on the altar of love. The concepts of self-love and self-care were unknown to me.
I gave all of myself to my relationships. I focused all of my energy on fulfilling the needs of the people I loved most, expecting to feel nourished, fulfilled by my sacrifice.
But the truth is, I just lost myself.
I felt unseen, unheard, taken for granted.
Over the years, I became more and more diminished, insignificant, drained…until, due to malnourishment of my needs, I disappeared altogether.
Since I still held others responsible for my feelings, I blamed my husband for it.
He was no longer supplying the emotional sustenance I needed.
I judged myself for marrying him.
I became increasingly unhappy.
It took me decades of marriage to realize my expectations of love were completely unrealistic.
Constructed from fairy tales and other people’s dreams, they had little to do with reality. As long as I was driven by these illusions, nothing anyone could do would ever be enough…
This was no easy realization.
It was the beginning of a long and painful awakening.
A powerful rite of passage that transformed my relationship with everyone in my life, including myself. And out of its depths, the meaning of my life’s work was conceived.
Once I dropped my expectations, love came from everywhere and in inexplicable ways. So exquisite in its generosity, so miraculous in its timing…
Each of us has the capacity to experience this kind of love.
We just need to clean the slate of expectations and learn to receive with a fresh palate.
Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.
P.S. We cannot expect others to give us that which we are not willing or able to give ourselves.
Love, peace, happiness, safety…It took me years to understand that these words don’t describe our response to a particular set of circumstances or person.
In fact, they rarely have anything to do with either. Created and undone from within, they are a product of our internal, psycho-emotional state.
A state that I call Safe to Be Me.
A condensation of 10 years of my own search and the understanding that came out of it, my group coaching program of the same name will empower you to experience it for yourself.
Next cohort starts September 22nd, only 15 places available. Learn more and sign up, here.
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