By Alan Cohen
When I asked my friend Brenda, “How’s your love life?” she sighed and answered, “Working on it, like everyone.”
Were we really born to be constantly working on our love life, or were we born to be enjoying it?
After many years of coaching and leading seminars, I have discovered two areas that most people ask about most frequently: prosperity and relationships. Most people are looking for their love mate, or if they have one, are seeking a better connection. Since February is the month of Valentine’s Day, let’s dive in to illuminate what makes relationships work.
The simplest answer comes from a woman named Georgia who told an astounding story in a seminar in Greece. Georgia reported that she had been married to an emotionally abusive man. When she requested a divorce, her husband refused. In Greece, it is harder to get a divorce than in America, so Georgia realized she had to stay with him, for a while at least.
In the meantime, Georgia decided to give herself the love she was missing from her husband. She wrote herself a passionate, poetic love letter as if from a man who worshipped her. “Georgia, my love, you are the light of my life. I am entranced by your ravishing beauty, deep wisdom and generous heart. You are sexy beyond words. I have never felt so deeply for anyone. I want to hold you in my arms and love you like no one ever has. I cannot wait to see you again. Until then, my heart is with you. I love you forever.”
Receiving such an inspired missive, even from an imaginary lover, felt so good that Georgia decided to write herself another love letter the next day. And the next, and the next, until she was writing and receiving an impassioned message daily. Gradually she felt lighter, freer and more filled with the love she had been missing.
Then her husband found one of the letters. Since it was unsigned, he believed it had been written by a secret lover. He came to Georgia, waving the letter in his hand. “I can’t compete with this,” he blurted out. “You can have your divorce!”
Georgia literally loved herself out of a bad marriage. When her husband had been unkind to her, she was agreeing with her diminished self-worth. Thus, the empty marriage kept the two stuck together like pieces of Velcro with matching hooks. When Georgia up-leveled her vibration and established her mind and heart in self-love, there was no more match. Her husband had to either rise to meet her or leave.
Just as you can love yourself out of a bad relationship, you can love yourself into one. The way to do this seems antithetical to the way nearly every romantic book and movie has taught you to find a great partner. You have been taught that when you find someone who loves you, you will know that you are loveable. Yet it works just the opposite way: When you know you are loveable, you will find someone who loves you. To try to get someone to love you when you don’t love yourself defies the law of attraction, which clearly states that as you think and feel, so you attract. Great relationships are not achieved from the outside in. They proceed from the inside out.
When coaching clients complain to me that their partner is not meeting their needs, I ask them a question that seems completely insane in light of how we have been trained to have a happy partnership: “Why do you allow your partner’s behavior to be a factor in your happiness?” This question seems absurd because we have been taught that the role of a partner is to make us happy. But if you have ever given the power of your happiness to your partner, you know that this approach always backfires. If you wish to have a good relationship, you must look not outside for love, but within. Any sincere journey within will lead you to all the love you have sought without.
This does not mean you cannot have a great partner with whom you share deep love, and who enhances your life. This will happen only when you come from wholeness, rather than seeking a person to make you whole. When two whole people get together and celebrate and support each other, rather than trying to get from each other, your relationship becomes completely satisfying and miracles of love manifest.
A Course in Miracles tells us that relationships offer the quickest route to healing. Not by finding someone who will satisfy your needs but by joining with someone with whom you can practice knowing that all your needs have already been met. Empty people create empty relationships. Whole people create whole relationships. The recognition of your deep, innate, perfect loveableness is the key to finding someone who matches the light you are, and together, you both shine brighter. When you are your own Valentine, your perfect Valentine will show up beside you.
Alan Cohen is the bestselling author of A Course in Miracles Made Easy. Become a professional certified holistic life coach through Alan’s six-month program beginning Jan. 2020—the year of clear vision. For more information about this program, Alan’s books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, as well as his weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.