Studies have shown that, as far back as in the womb, we make decisions about who we are and what’s possible for us to have (or not have) as it relates to receiving happy, healthy love into our lives.
Conclusions like “I am not wanted,” or “I am not enough,” are the assumptions we may have made up as children, when we were far too young to understand that it was our caregivers, and not we ourselves, who were in some way inadequate and deficient in their abilities.
Because these decisions were made so early in our lives, sometimes at the pre-verbal level (in other words, before we could even talk), they became pervasive in our experience of who we are, and what we could expect from life and love. This is not so much because these decisions were true as much as inside of those perspectives we unconsciously showed up over and over again in ways that covertly then validated the beliefs.
Who we are is far more vast that our ideas of who we are. —Katherine Woodward Thomas
For example, if in response to being severely neglected as a child, I decided that “I am not lovable,” I may find myself now as an adult spending months or even years investing in relationships where I feel starved for love, and will continually hang in there, settling for crumbs in the constant hope that things will change.
These core beliefs at the level of identity tend to live for us as vague “issues” that we are endlessly trying to work out and heal. Yet until we can see them clearly and then challenge these “truths,” we will find ourselves unable to truly graduate beyond the painful patterns that they generate, and be thwarted in our ability to manifest the kind of relationship we may truly wish to have.
Living Out the Story of "Not Good Enough"
Ann grew up in Beverly Hills, one of the richest and, arguably, most pretentious places in America. Her mother was a single mom raising two daughters on a modest salary.
From the time she entered grade school, Ann was self-conscious about her lower economic status, embarrassed by her “cheap” clothes, her “ugly, little” apartment, and her mother’s “hideously old” car. She stopped having friends over by the second grade and was mortified whenever her mother came to the school to pick her up in their old car.
Ann decided, at the age of seven, that she was inferior to the other girls and definitely “not good enough” to be worthy of their friendship and love.
Today, Ann has her own “ugly, little” apartment in Beverly Hills. She is completely embarrassed to bring a man she is dating to her home, because she believes it to be inferior to where she “should” be living by now. Ann is tortured by how inferior she feels to be “still single” at the ripe old age of 34. She is often the only single woman at the frequent parties she attends, and she struggles through these interminable evenings with deep feelings of humiliation and shame that she does her best to hide.
Worst of all, however, is that whenever Ann meets a man she likes, she compulsively and covertly works to convince him that she is inferior to other women. She does this in countless little ways. She’ll make off-handed remarks about her inadequacies and failures. She’ll under-present her gifts and abilities. She’ll slouch down and disappear herself in the presence of other women that she feels inferior to when they are out together at a social event.
Predictably, the men who do like her and want to be with her, she then finds inadequate and lacking in some substantial way. In Ann’s world, someone is always inferior.
How to Break Through to Love
If it is outside of our identity to be truly loved and valued by another whom we truly love and value, then we will be hard-pressed to create happy, healthy love.
In order to have a breakthrough in love, these false beliefs must be identified and then revealed for being just that—false—and not the truth of who we are and what is possible for us to have in love.
Let me break it to you gently. Just because your stepfather told you over and over again that you’d never amount to anything, does not mean that it’s true.
Your parents, siblings, teachers, neighbors, and peers were very often quite off the mark in their assessment of you.
They may have undervalued you, overpressured you, neglected to notice your strengths, ignored your unique abilities, failed to understand the blessed quirkiness of what it is to be you, or criticized you mercilessly for what they secretly feared was errant about themselves. That is no excuse, however, for you to then continue to carry on the mantel of their inadequacies.
Our goal is to give up relating to these beliefs as though they were the dreaded truth about who and what we are. Rather than allow these beliefs to bully us with their incessant chatter, eat away at our confidence and steal the possibility of happy, healthy love from our lives, we want to identify and then challenge them, learning to assert what’s really true in response, and course correcting the core consciousness from which we are generating our love lives.
We must remember that who we are is often far more vast that our ideas of who we are.
In order to manifest a great relationship, we often must shed our old ways of defining who we are and claim the deeper truth of our own worthiness to love and be loved. For once you do that, you access the power you’ll need to cause a miracle in your love life.
Excerpted from Calling in "The One": 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life. Copyright © 2004 by Katherine Woodward Thomas.