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Change our Beliefs, Change our Life

belief.jpgI've been following some blogs on Tumblr account that discuss what are termed Social Justice Warriors, modern feminism and the men's right's movement. All of this has brought up a lot of emotions and memories of my own relationship struggles. I want to share a little about my personal journey here.

In 1986, during a personal healing journey, I realized that people's buried or suppressed emotions played a major role in their health problems. My great desire to help people heal started me on a journey helping people with what I call emotional healing.

This journey to help others had an unexpected “side effect,” because it also became a journey of self-discovery. One of the things that I began to see is that certain beliefs, which were based in unresolved emotional wounds, caused me to be attracted to people and situations that reinforced those believes. Thus, these beliefs become self-fulfilling prophecies.

For example, after a couple of failed marriages, with divorces that left me financially and emotionally devastated, I had an important awakening. I realized that all through my childhood I had wanted my mother to show me physical affection and verbal approval. I vividly remember longing for either of my parents to put their arms around me and say something like, “You’re a good son, we really love and appreciate you.”

But neither of my parents, and especially my mother, were not affectionate people. My parents did not sit together on the couch. They did not hold hands. I rarely remember even seeing them kiss in front of us.

My mother was also a very critical person, not just of me, but everyone. My sense growing up was that I could do 99 things right and never get noticed, but the one thing she perceived I did “wrong” got pointed out immediately. As a result, I suffered from very low self-esteem, because no matter how hard I tried to be a “good” son, I felt I was constantly not “good enough” to please my parents or earn their trust.

Fast forward many years, when I suddenly realized that the women I’d married were very much like my mother. They did not enjoy being affectionate and they were very critical and unhappy people, just like my mother. I was trying to please them, to earn their love and approval, just like I had tried to please my mother. In other words, I not only put up with the lack of affection and verbal acknowledgment and appreciation in my marriages, I had actually been attracted to women who were not the kind of people who would give these things to anyone.

I realized that if I didn’t love myself and honor my own needs and desires, I would never attract anyone who fulfilled those needs and desires. I clearly remember going to the bathroom, looking myself in the mirror and saying, “You deserve to be with someone who will treat you with kindness and respect.” The words brought tears to my eyes and I began to do the inner work to start to believe that I deserved both affection and verbal appreciation.

What is interesting is that at that moment I genuinely forgave my ex spouses. But, I’m not even sure if “forgiveness” is the correct word, because in reality I saw that there was nothing to forgive. It was not their fault that our marriages didn’t work. They were just who they were on their own life journey. I had chosen to be with them because they treated me exactly the way I believed inside that I deserved to be treated. In other words, they were mirrors to me, showing me what I needed to work on in myself.

It’s been a little over a decade since I looked at myself in the mirror and said those words. I’m still single, but the relationships I’ve had with women since that time have been much better. And, I’ve been able to utilize the relationships I’ve been in as vehicles for personal growth, because when feelings arise in the relationship I realize those feelings aren’t being CAUSED by the relationship, they are being REVEALED by the relationship.

The fact that the feelings are arising from within me, and not from what is happening outside of myself, means that I am responsible for them, and what I am responsible for is in my power to fix. As long as I engage in blame, making other people responsible for those feelings, and looking to other people to fix them, I can never heal them. The power of emotional healing work is that when I stop suppressing my feelings, or blaming other people for them; when I actually own them and take responsibility for them, I can change my inner beliefs. And amazingly enough, I change what I am attracted to both in people and in situations that mirror those changes in my inner beliefs.

The reason I wanted to share this is because much of the current conflict and problems we experience in relationships are due to how we perceive situations or people either ARE or OUGHT to BE. If a woman believes men are all abusive, then she will find herself subconsciously attracted to abusive men, because this fulfills her beliefs. If a man sees women as being unable to appreciate his masculine characteristics, then he will be attracted to women who won’t appreciate them. If we believe we don't deserve money we'll struggle with it. (That's one I had to work on, too.)

In short, I’ve discovered that we change our life primarily by changing what is inside of us. Not what is outside of us.

Since I’ve done my healing work, my relationships with women, and people in general have greatly improved. You might discover the same thing happens if you start challenging your own beliefs and assumptions about relationships.
If you need help, consider taking our Emotional Anatomy or Introduction to Emotional Healing courses. I've also started a series of short videos on emotional healing on our YouTube channel.