The Popular Myth of Finding THE ONE!

Blueprint on Relationships

We’ve been fueled by fairytales of being rescued from drudgery like Cinderella or awakened from a long sleep by the magic of a kiss like Sleeping Beauty. We women have envisioned ourselves as damsels to be rescued, while men pictured themselves as heroes riding up on white horses.

Classic literature, modern music, and movies have done us no favors either. We’ve mooned over the obsessive love of Cathy and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights with its “I can’t survive without you” mentality. Love songs have taught us that passion is all about somehow blending into each other until there are no boundaries left. This has left us conditioned to believe that we aren’t in love unless we lose ourselves. While a certain amount of surrender to love is both necessary and beneficial, giving ourselves up to another person is not.

Then, there’s the finding “The One” mentality, underwritten by countless movies and romance novels. But have you noticed how almost all romantic comedies end right before all the hard stuff begins? By the “hard stuff,” I mean the reality of living together day-to-day, among the stresses of paying the bills and taking care of the kids. Not to mention all the psycho-emotional baggage we all carry with us from childhood.

So many of the people I’ve coached, both men and women, have assimilated the belief that if they find “The One,” they won’t ever have to feel lonely, sad, or rejected again. We look for a relationship that will provide us with validation and approval. But that’s a myth, and that myth is a trap. My apologies if I’m the one breaking the bad news here, but relationship won’t prevent you from feeling any of those unpleasant emotions. The only person who can ease your feelings of loneliness, sadness, or rejection is youThe only person who can validate you and give you the approval you seek is you.

I do believe that “true love” and easy relationships are possible for people who have already done the hard work of learning these lessons. But the truth is that until you love and accept yourself, no one else’s validation is going to stick. You’ll want to believe their praise, but you won’t believe it at the deepest unconscious levels. Because of this, you’ll just need validation again the next day…and the next day…and the next. Have you ever known anyone who needed to be validated all the time? It’s exhausting.

Relationships remain on shaky ground when you require someone else to determine your worthiness. That’s because no one else can guarantee your worth. You’re inherently worthy, and it’s up to you to take that in and truly believe it.

Here’s the deal: The way we’ve been “doing” relationships hasn’t been working and it’s time to reframe the way we love so we can go from “you complete me” or “you deplete me” to “you complement me.”

It’s time for a new blueprint on relationships… and I just happen to have it!

If you’re single, looking for a relationship or in a relationship that could use a major boost…I want you to check out my new book The New Relationship Blueprint.

I want to hear from you, tell me in the comments below: What’s YOUR relationship myth?

How to Get an A+ in Relationship School

 

Relationships

The new relationship blueprint reframes relationship as a spiritual path. Another way of saying that is: relationship is school. In fact, relationship is the #1 school for personal growth and spiritual development in our modern world. Our relationships are teachers that help us become more whole, conscious human beings.

Sure, you can try to avoid ever getting your triggers hit by rejecting relationships altogether—like I did after my divorce. But unless you become a hermit, your soul is going to make sure those triggers get activated by someone. That’s the case with my friend Alice. She hasn’t been in a romantic relationship for a few years. Then, suddenly, some of the issues she used to have with men started to show up in her relationship with her best girlfriend. The soul wants to evolve, and it’s going to get its learning one way or another. I believe trying to avoid relationship is counter to what we’re meant to do here as spiritual beings having a human experience.

The truth is that intimate relationships give us the absolute best schoolroom for our growth. They bring out the best in us because we love so deeply, but they also bring out the worst in us because they cause us to bump up against our defenses and fears. As I’ve said, we draw to us partners who trigger us the most. They show us the disowned parts of ourselves.

So if you’ve ever wondered why the same issues tend to come up in relationship after relationship—or repeatedly in your current relationship—it’s because those issues are the core of your curriculumYou’ll always unconsciously orchestrate the exact relationship you need in order to learn what your soul wants you to learn in this life.  

If you need to learn that you’re lovable, you’ll feel rejected over and over. If you need to learn that your body is beautiful, you’ll draw partners who criticize those few extra pounds. If you need to learn how to own your own space in the world, you’ll repeatedly choose relationships where you have to fight for your voice to be heard. Your soul sees relationship as a perfect opportunity to finally break free of wounds and fears that have kept you in chains, probably for years. So if you find yourself attracting or attracted to relationships where you see the same issues over and over, it’s because you still have work to do to break free of those issues.

When we don’t approach relationship as a spiritual path and listen to the messages our soul sends us from our partner, our triggers derail us emotionally. We keep making the same choices, actions, and decisions, so the future shows up just like the past. Then, our relationships often fall apart in a painful way, and we end up facing those same patterns in our next partnership.

Are you ready to embrace relationship as a resource for evolution and healing? If so, then pre-order The New Relationship Blueprint and you’ll also receive FREE access to my LIVE online video workshop, Your Boundary Breakthrough: From Frustration to Freedom!

‘Staying Home’ Within Yourself

Stay anchored in you

Many of us lose ourselves the minute we intuit that someone we love is having a need or desire of their own. We might start out anchored, but someone else’s waves can easily throw us off course. My client Maria, for example, has struggled to stay anchored in her own feelings. She says she used to “take the temperature” of her partner, waiting to gauge his behavior so that she could decide how to act. She hid her own feelings because she didn’t feel worthy enough to express them or have what she wanted.

I suggest that you affirm each morning that you’ll stay anchored in you. Take your own emotional temperature before anyone else’s. Ask yourself what you’re feeling and what you want. You’ll soon become more aware of yourself and better able to make yourself a priority.

Once you have an idea of how you’ve automatically acquiesced to your partner’s needs in the past, and you’re more aware of your own wants and needs, the practice begins of catching yourself in the act of deferring to others. If you’re in a romantic relationship, you can note when you do this with your partner. If not, check yourself with friends, family members, and coworkers.

My friend Rita says a former girlfriend complained, “We always do what you want to do!” Rita was stunned. She’d always assumed her friend agreed to her suggestions because she wanted to do the same thing. She would’ve been fine if it took them longer to find a movie or concert they both wanted to attend. But her friend felt she had to always agree to what Rita wanted. Then, she felt put upon, even though she never voiced her own desires to Rita.

So before you acquiesce, stop and ask yourself what you want. Are you truly OK with doing what the other person wants, or do you want to ask for something different? Then, practice stating what you’d prefer. Maybe your habit is to immediately ask, “Where would you like to have dinner?” Instead, try saying, “I’d like to try that Chinese restaurant tonight.” Now, if the other person hates Chinese food, this is a time when compromise would make sense. Contrary to popular opinion, taking your own needs into account doesn’t automatically mean you become rigid and dismissive of others. The goal is to take note of your own preferences, and speak up so you get what you want at least 50% of the time.

If the topic is more important than choosing a movie or a restaurant, you might initiate the conversation by saying, “I notice what I want here is _______________, and I’m wondering what you want.” This might feel more vulnerable, but it’s honest, clear, and direct. It initiates a conversation in which you negotiate with each other and decide together what’s best. While you may end up compromising at the end of that conversation, avoid doing it if you feel strongly that you need the opposite of what’s proposed. Work toward putting yourself on equal footing with others.

If you’ve been the acquiescing one in the relationship up until now, this new, more self-honoring way of being may need some time to take root. It might feel uncomfortably forceful at first, even naming that you have needs and preferences. Some rigidity may even be necessary in order to overcome the expectation that you’ll always relent. But once you’re more comfortable stating what you want and making sure your needs are met, a balance will naturally be struck. It may be clunky in the beginning because you’re developing a new skill. It was certainly clunky for me. But you’ll get there, and I’m here to support you!

Over the past several years I’ve helped thousands of people make choices and take actions to stop self-sabotaging and start making themselves their FIRST priority! Now it’s your turn to learn how to bring the fullness of you into your relationship, pre-order The New Relationship Blueprint today!

OWN YOUR GREATNESS!

Committments

Our beliefs that we hold about money—and our own worthiness—keep us in situations that aren’t truly satisfying. They trap us in the fear of the unknown, where we’re willing to short ourselves to avoid stepping outside of our comfort zone. The tragedy is that so many of us are willing to stay small to such a degree that we suppress our power and light.

I’m here to convince you that it’s time to do things differently.  But how?

When we get stuck in a pattern that we can’t seem to change no matter how hard we try, it’s almost certainly the result of an underlying commitment. We think we’re committed to one thing, but we’re actually committed to something else. For example, let’s say you think you’re committed to starting your own business. But your underlying commitment is actually to stay safe and small right where you are. Even as you make efforts to start your own business, some part of you is sabotaging those efforts and ensuring you fail.

Underlying commitments cause us to take actions that lead us away from the direction of our dreams. To get stuck in patterns that we can’t seem to change no matter how hard we try. To create results that are inconsistent with what we say we desire. But the truth is that we’re always getting what we’re actually committed to!

Let’s explore our example in more detail: Say you want to start your own business, but you grew up in a family that always struggled financially. So at a young age, you formed the belief that in order to fit into your family—and thus, stay safe—you would need to struggle with money as well. Because of that belief, you made a promise to yourself that you would avoid your finances in order to avoid pain. In fact, you spent years doing just that. You’ve been to seminars; you’ve practiced manifesting meditations; you’ve written abundance affirmations. You’ve even worked on discovering your limiting beliefs and your excuses. Maybe you’ve even gone so far as to finally start that business . . . only to have it crash and burn. What’s going on?

Because you formed the belief that you’ll always struggle with money—and promised yourself that you’d avoid your finances—you’re creating a reality characterized by struggle. You’re actually committed to struggle and avoidance. Now, why would anyone stay committed to such a thing when it comes at such a high cost? Because to the little girl inside, it feels safe. Remember, this commitment is unconscious and began when you were very young.

Can you see the secret in all of this? We are always creating the exact reality we’re most committed to having. It doesn’t matter what we say we want. If we don’t have the thing we desire, it’s because we’re more committed to our present state than we are to getting what we want.

Now that you can see what’s been going on behind the scenes, you no longer have to fall for the same old self-sabotage — you’re free to make the commitment and take the action that will move you in the direction of your dreamsand it all begins right here!

The Secret to Love

Learn to love ourselves

There’s a secret Trojan horse in all of the work I do: Regardless of the subject matter, it’s all about self-love. That’s what my previous three books were about, and that’s what my upcoming book, The New Relationship Blueprint is about. Every. Single. Page.

In my humble opinion, this whole life is about the lesson in self-love.

But it’s really easy to forget that, especially when it comes to relationship issues. Instead, we blame others or beat ourselves up when we perceive our relationships aren’t working. Note that I said “perceive our relationships aren’t working.” Sometimes, our attachment to Hollywood romance—the “you complete me” syndrome—causes us to have unrealistic expectations of our relationships. We define a good relationship as one where there is no conflict, no difficulty. When our emotional “stuff” arises it’s easier to believe we “just haven’t found the right mate” than to face the prospect that our own deeper personal growth work may be calling us.

The secret to a powerful, loving relationship isn’t about fixing or enduring problems. It isn’t about improving ourselves in order to “overcome.” Nope. It all boils down to this: Once we truly love ourselves, everything becomes possible.

In fact, you can stop right here if you truly get this point: Relationship is first and foremost where we learn how to love ourselves. Contrary to popular belief, learning how to love others is not the top priority. I could never have the relationship I have now if I hadn’t awakened to myself first. Again, relationship is where we learn how to love ourselves.

You’re going to forget that, but it’s OK. We all do. I’ll be right here to remind you, but mark my words: I’ve just given you everything you need to know in order to have the relationship you truly desire.

 

no now without then

Letting Go

no now without then

there is a trick
no one tells
about letting go

you can’t fully release
what isn’t firmly in your grasp

everything we seek externally
must first be resolved internally

you must get right
to the heart of it
seduce the memories
immerse yourself in inquiry

truth will only
come for you once
embrace her and
she’ll be quick
refuse and
she will linger

a tie to a certain time
will reveal a rip in the body
requiring remembrance
before being restored

goodnight to the way things were
sleepwalking through my unlived life
goodnight to the hiding
fear always finding a way to crush hope
goodnight to the woman i was
years of holding everything in
goodnight to the silence
my once strangled voice screams
knowing that no woman could stay
if i couldn’t

seems like a long time ago – this
when i wasn’t interested in time

but now the past is
burning away
and it has a distinct scent
which i’ve kept
to remind me
that what we got
is exactly what we needed
and that
i must be traveling

outlines and echoes fade
and by morning
all ocean and train outside
the pieces begin to re-pattern
extraction from the
quicksand of marriage
now embedding a new code
while preparing me
for everything
and this

If you want to heal old relationship wounds and patterns to create new, healthy connections anchored in self-worth, I’ll be co-teaching at Kripalu with David Kessler and Paul Denniston on Healing a Broken Heart After a Breakup, Betrayal, or Divorce, July 20-22. All the details are HERE.

 

What Are You Hiding?

What are you hiding?

Up until that day I found out my husband had read my journals, I had never told anyone about my affair. I mean nobody—not my dear sister, not my closest friends, no one. I’d compartmentalized my life to such a degree that it wasn’t even hard to keep it a secret. I was afraid of the shame; paralyzed at the thought of what people would think of me. My motto had long been “Never let them see you sweat,” and I wasn’t about to reveal myself and allow myself to be seen.

Louise Hay even said to me once that I deserved an Academy Award for my portrayal as the “perfect wife.”

My husband, of course, knew just which buttons to push. He knew my greatest fear was exposure and he was ready to pin the scarlet letter on me, threatening to tell my family and friends what I had done. Naturally I was terrified. I’d spent so long believing that I wouldn’t be loved if I were imperfect, and that everyone would turn away from me if they found out my truth.

I believe that we’re all hiding something we think we need to hide in order to be loved and accepted.

It might be a skeleton in the closet secret, or an aspect of ourselves we don’t want to identify with or be identified by. The irony is that we’re all longing to be loved for the truth of who we are, yet we fear revealing that truth to ourselves, and others.

Eight years had passed since my infidelity, but the truth suddenly felt like a weight I could no longer bear by myself.

I had designed a marriage for myself where there was no room for the real me. I acted the part of the woman my husband wanted and needed me to be. But I wasn’t good enough, not even at that. So I let him try and mold me into his image of the perfect wife. When he became demanding or controlling, I put my needs aside and tried to be even more of what he wanted.

What happens when you stay in a situation that isn’t working, denying your own needs long enough? Your needs, your health, and your well-being begin to demand to be heard. Even if you don’t heed that call, the truth will come out. Unfortunately, it will come out sideways. Perhaps you’ll become ill. Or depressed. Or if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself expressing those needs in destructive ways.

The woman I am today would have walked away from that marriage rather than have an affair. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20. Instead, I betrayed my husband. But prior to that, I had betrayed myself. It was self-abandonment that led to my infidelity. I betrayed myself by pretending to be someone I was not. I betrayed myself in my marriage for eighteen years.

Marriage was a long time to be away from myself.

Together, my husband and I had managed to build a strong façade for the outside world. I thought everyone must look at our marriage and assume it was picture-perfect, which was just how I wanted it. If I’d walked away, I would’ve had to admit that the image was false. Because of my deep fear of being imperfect—of being dispensable—I could not even admit to myself that our marriage wasn’t working, let alone admit it to my husband or anyone else.

There was shame for me in admitting that I couldn’t live up to my own idea of who I thought I “should” be. And my idea, of course, was impossible: the perfect Superwoman who could fix anything and juggle everything, without ever letting a ball drop. None of us is capable of that, no matter how hard we try.

Still, underneath the façade of perfection, somewhere deep down where I dared not look, I knew my marriage wasn’t working. I knew for a long time that I wasn’t really happy. But it took me years to admit to myself what I already knew.

Is self-abandonment keeping you in an unfulfilling relationship, job, environment…life? Ready to admit to yourself what you already know? Get support in my free Private Facebook Group, Transform Together: Nancy Levin InsidersI created this community to foster a supportive and safe space where you can share what you’ve been thinking, feeling or experiencing while finding your own truth.

Shift from Self-Sabotage to Success!

Movement

Feeling that we’re not enough, or not good enough translates into the fear that we’ll never have enough. Fear of success and fear of failure are two sides of one coin, and our self-sabotage and self-doubt are self-fulfilling prophecies in which we unknowingly make damn sure we never, ever have all that we need. It’s a painful arithmetic going on in the shadows of our unconscious, which many of us never even recognize.

Excuses take our beliefs and run with them. When excuses take hold, our self-imposed limitations are no longer just thoughts. Our excuses actually stop us cold from moving forward in our lives. They’re always based in fear, and their aim is inaction.

When we tell ourselves, “I can’t,” what we’re usually saying is “I won’t.” Using “can’t” allows us to pretend we have no choice but to give in to our excuses. But “can’t” is a matter of not having the skill to do something, while “won’t” is a matter of not having the will. If we “can’t,” it’s only because we haven’t bothered to develop the skills. In most cases, all we have to do is make the effort. (OK, if you’re hopelessly uncoordinated or over the age of 35, maybe you “can’t” ever become an Olympic gymnast. But I’ll assume that isn’t one of your desires.)

The point is that most of the time we can—if only we’re willing to step past our resistance. It’s a choice to give into fear and what we’re resistant to. Try replacing your “I can’t” with “I’m resistant to.” For example, “I’m resistant to trying to make it on my own.” “I’m resistant to spending money.” “I’m resistant to leaving my job.” “I’m resistant to taking responsibility and doing something for myself.” It isn’t that we can’t. It’s that our limiting beliefs have caused us to make excuses for not doing what we’d do if we weren’t so afraid.

Sometimes, we phrase an “I can’t” excuse as “I have to,” and we focus on the action we feel compelled to take rather than the action we’re avoiding. Some of us use the excuse that it will take too long to learn something new, but if we never begin, we never get there. It’s OK for learning to be slow…as long as we do it. How many of us don’t go back to school because “it will take years!” Then, four years down the road, we’re in the same situation because we never started.

Or, how many of us stay in a relationship too long saying “I can’t leave” or “I can’t make it on my own” or “I have to stay for the children” only to find the years pass and true fulfillment even more elusive.

Our excuses are the way we reinforce our beliefs. They’re how we explain why we don’t already have everything we say we want. They’re a form of self-sabotage because they give us permission not to try. They’re justifications, explanations, and rationalizations. We rationalize our choices and convince ourselves that there are no other options. And the benefit of those excuses is that we get to stay in our comfort zone. That makes sense to the child within, but for the adult, it’s a pretty lame benefit, isn’t it? Stepping out of our comfort zone and living a full, juicy life—now, that’s a benefit!

It’s time to right this distorted view of ourselves so we can stop sabotaging the liberation we’re longing for.

Yes, it takes work to get past the programming of our childhoods. But it isn’t a burden. It’s something to cherish and relish. As adults, we have a wonderful opportunity. We can choose to base our identities on who we truly are inside—the personality, the essence we came into this life with.

This is who you were before you were imprinted with anybody else’s opinions—imperfect, human, thoroughly beautiful, and oh so worthy. Trust me: There’s so much more possible for you than you know! Self-worth is the key. Turn that key in the lock, and open the door. The life you most desire is waiting.

One of the ways out of self-sabotage and the self-doubt maze is to put a moratorium on excuses and take action.

Any action.

Taking action to move forward – without being concerned that it’s the “right” action – will open you to possibility. Movement creates momentum.

Tell me below: What action will you take today toward the life of liberation you long for?

Cozy Up to Conflict!

Rock the boat

We’re raised to think a harmonious relationship means zero conflict, but the truth is that conflict will arise. We’re human beings, and we’re not always going to see things the same.

When we believe that telling our truth will automatically result in conflict, we end up shutting down communication and losing our chance at both intimacy and growth. Then the issues between us fester, and we make them mean something that may have nothing to do with reality.

Something bothers us, but we don’t tell our partner about it because we’re convinced he/she will be upset. When we finally bring it up, it isn’t such a big deal after all. Or we make up a story in our head about what our partner’s behavior means about the issue. So we hide our true feelings.

Women are especially socialized to avoid expressing any feelings that might lead to conflict. But plenty of men play this same avoidance game, particularly when the emotion involves vulnerability. We’re told, “Don’t rock the boat” and “Just suck it up.” But if we can reframe conflict, seeing it as an opportunity to grow rather than a danger to avoid, we can begin to build that relationship container—a container that’s strong enough to withstand our disagreements.

In a relationship based on the new relationship blueprint, we must be willing to risk conflict by revealing what bothers us—even when it’s hard or scary. Even when we’re right that it’s going to rock the boat. To achieve intimacy and a relationship as a spiritual practice, the boat simply needs to be rocked!

I call it “cozying up to conflict.” I know this is the last thing any of us wants to do. I spent my whole 18-year marriage turning myself inside out to avoid it! But as I’ve been willing to rock the boat more and more often in my current relationship, I feel like the process has taken sandpaper to me—in a good way that has smoothed out my rough edges. Yes, it has made me raw at times, but the smoothed edges have been healing and allowed Aaron and me to be more intimate and truthful with each other.

When we “rub up” against another human being in a vulnerable way, it’s a kind of “exfoliation” that gets rid of the layers that keep us hidden and afraid.

I know, I know. It doesn’t sound like fun. Sandpaper? A rocking boat? You may be shivering just thinking about it. Be gentle with yourself as you begin to alter your experience of it. Don’t try to rush toward change. Baby steps are fine.

It has taken me some time to embrace conflict, but if I can do it, so can you.

I have a trick for when I’m struggling to see Aaron’s point of view. I visualize myself looking through the front window of a house. This is my position. Then I tell myself, “I’ll be right back.” I imagine myself running around to the side of the house and looking in through that window. This is Aaron’s position. And then I run back to the front. The idea isn’t necessarily for us to agree, but to be heard, seen, felt and met. This exercise helps me to have empathy for his viewpoint without needing to abandon my own point of view so I can hold both of our perspectives as valid.

The next time you find yourself in this situation, unable to see the other person’s point of view, imagine moving to another vantage point. This can help you broaden your perspective, support you in holding the differences and ease whatever conflict the two of you are experiencing.

 

Accept the imperfections in your relationships

Relationships aren't black and white

We are imperfect beings. No one can be the ideal picture of everything we want, so for any relationship to work, a certain amount of acceptance is required.

Relationship isn’t black and white; there’s got to be room for nuance. If you know me, you know I generally suggest you put yourself first. But that doesn’t mean you refuse to negotiate or that compromise is a dirty word. There’s plenty of room for nuance and plenty of room to accept the inevitable imperfections in your partner and your relationship.

At the same time, acceptance is different from being a doormat. It doesn’t mean you accept abuse or misery, and it doesn’t mean you abandon yourself. Each of us has our non-negotiables—behaviors we simply can’t tolerate or that are most important to us. (We’re going to evaluate those in a moment.) But most of the day-to-day issues that arise in healthy relationships aren’t as extreme as our non-negotiables. And when it comes to everyday differences, the game plan includes acceptance, collaboration, and negotiation.

Aaron, my boyfriend, still triggers me, of course…and vice versa. But each time, it’s an invitation for me to come back to myself and examine those triggers. Again, they aren’t about him; they’re about me. As legendary psychologist Carl Jung said, “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

When Aaron behaves in a way I wish he wouldn’t, I ask myself, “Can I accept this behavior, even if I don’t like it?” Anything less causes me suffering. If I want the situation or Aaron to be different, that dissatisfaction will be painful for me. So my choices are (1) to get on board through acceptance, (2) attempt to negotiate/compromise with him about it, or (3) decide that the relationship isn’t working for me.

Traveling, for example, is a non-negotiable for me. For Aaron, having a partner who doesn’t travel is a preference, rather than something he absolutely can’t tolerate. So in order to be in relationship with me, he’s made the choice to accept my frequent traveling, even if he doesn’t like it.

The operative word here is choice. Each of us gets to decide if the cost of acceptance is too great, if important boundaries are being crossed, or if it’s tolerable. Is it worth breaking up over? Or is it worth compromising in order to keep the relationship intact? When you hold firm to something you know upsets your partner, what does it cost you? Is the issue a non-negotiable or more of a “good to have”? There’s a balance to be achieved.

Are your desires for the relationship being mostly satisfied—or not? Is the relationship enhancing your life, or providing you with little or nothing? Is the relationship making your life easier or harder? Remember that it’s your job to take care of your needs, but that doesn’t mean you get nothing from your partner.

On the other hand, if you think your relationship is making your life worse, stop to evaluate whether your life would truly improve if the relationship ended. Is the problem really the relationship and this particular partner, or will you have the same issues alone or in the next relationship—because they’re your issues?

Once you’re clear on your relationship vision, you’ll be motivated to make the choices and take the actions that will help you achieve it — instead of sabotaging it.

Tell me below: Who or what is needing your acceptance today?