I used to be what I’ve heard referred to as a ‘serial monogamist.’ From the time I graduated high school up until about a year ago (this spans 18 years my friends), I would obsessively date until I found someone I was infatuated with, loved on them, and when the pain came back (because the emotional pain always did, more on that later), I bailed. At the time, I felt like a crazy person, hindsight says – thank god I did run, as this was the path I was meant to take, however, while there was some toxic relating in there, there were also a few very good partners that didn’t deserve the wrath of my projections (hurt people hurt). I was always in a relationship, and if I wasn’t, I was looking. Hard. Not gracefully. Blindly. Sh*t, even if I was in a relationship, regardless if it had labels or not, I was always one foot out the door.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we create these patterns? You may or may not have the same pattern as me, but if you recall your dating history, even if you’re attached and have been for quite some time, you likely have a pattern, a type…Some of you I’m sure have even dated slightly different versions of the same partner over and over again. It’s a feedback loop that many of us get stuck on, and it may feel like there’s a force working against us in our attempts to find a compatible partner.
Who is calling the shots here? Why are we self-sabotaging? It is in fact, our sub-conscious, running a program, a play, replaying the same record over…and over…and over again. It is constantly seeking out people, situations and events that validate our programming. The way we learned to love and be loved, how we view relationships, how we view ourselves. Our perception (our nervous system actually, how we take in and process our external world) shaped the mind’s program.
For example, me. From a very young age, I remember feeling unattractive. I remember feeling as though every other female around me was prettier. That, the reason I didn’t have a ‘boyfriend’ (even as early as 3rdgrade I was thinking this) was because I wasn’t pretty. Of course, there were boys who wanted to be my boyfriend – but I was already focused on the ones who did not want to be. The ones that were a challenge, that I had to chase. Where did this thought come from? This perception? One could spend years trying to catalog the ‘why’ but at the root, it doesn’t matter. It IS. It just is. There. I remember constantly wishing I had more attention from boys.
In high school, I had my heart broken one serious time. And you know the thought that replayed in my mind over and over again was? “It’s because she’s prettier than you” – when he began to date someone else immediately following our breakup. I constantly made it about me, and many of us do that, as a way to grasp a sense of control over the situation. We glorify the other person, put them on a pedestal, remember only the positive attributes, and we push ourselves deeper into misery. A bottomless pit where we have to keep searching for that external validation as we let the ego/lower mind manifest who comes into our life next.
When my last relationship ended, I made a conscious decision to stop dating. At least for now. Give myself my full attention, for once in my life, and not go searching right away for a new suitable partner. Spending time alone was hard at first, it was different, it was quiet, it was boring, I was fidgety and restless. All the things. But that’s ultimately the healing path – learning how to sit with your discomfort, ask questions about it, contemplate it, meditate with it, surrender to it. You start to learn the difference between being alone and being lonely. You accept the bad days with the good, and realize that your growth isn’t linear. It’s abstract, there are many moving parts, and even those with a strong spiritual practice (ahem, me) aren’t exempt from having periods of time where the question what the f*ck they are doing, why they’re doing it, and did they make the wrong choice.
What I’ve learned though the experience of intentionally spending time alone, is that it is truly the only way to get in touch with who you really are. So many of us lose ourselves in our relationship. We conjoin with our partner and create a new life together (which is really healthy), but we leave ourselves, who we are at our core, behind. Only through spending time alone, giving ourselves what we truly need, do we cultivate the type of love we are craving. If you’re not able to give it to yourself and receive it from yourself, there is absolutely no way you’ll be able to receive it from anyone else. And the mind knows that, and if you can’t love yourself, you’re going to attract the people who can’t/won’t love you either. Feedback loop.
When I speak to spending time alone, I mean intentionally cultivating a desire to do so. Because I know some of you are saying “but I’ve spent years alone, and it didn’t do anything for me.” Well, was the intention there to spend time alone, to make yourself a priority, and to actively avoid attempting to find a partner? If so, when you decided you were ready, did you make someone else’s validation of you, more important than your own? Just some food for thought.
The greatest tool I’ve learned in healing, processing, cultivating new habits and releasing old patterns, is a strong spiritual practice with seated meditation an absolute requirement. Working with different techniques, every day in a committed spiritual practice, will absolutely propel your growth and guide you into changing your life. Take an active investment in yourself, make yourself the priority, do the things you want to do, and release the resistance to fight being who you are.
Love and light!