I never considered myself “lucky” with relationships as I was growing up. I seemed to fall “in love” and get my wings burnt each time.
In my search for love I would often accept situations where I was treated with disrespect and, there have been times, worse, going from insults to actual physical violence.
I’m not a woman that has had a lot of boyfriends – at the tender age of 41, I can count seven all in all, one of them was a fiancé and two of them were husbands.
We are led to believe, through classic psychological teaching, that it is us that attract the “wrong” people and that, indirectly, there is something “wrong” with us that makes us do that – our upbringing, our own self-confidence and self-esteem are the “factors responsible for our “bad” choices.”
If we accept that belief as truth, then that means, for many of us, that we have no option. We either put up with a relationship where we feel unhappy or we remain single – for most that seems an impossible Hobson’s choice, where our desire to be with another human being will override what could be our own basic instincts and inner wisdom. We are the unlucky ones that, for some unaccountable reason, have the lot of living in miserable relationships while others get the fine picks. They’re the ones who get the nice partners and live in unconditional love – they’re lucky, we’re not.
If we believe what we are told then we are the doomed, the undesirable and the unlovable.
Being “in love” – the Affliction of the Blind and the Deaf
For many of us, this pursuit of love, as was my case, will lead us to accept situations where we are unhappy. We will choose not to see when someone is manipulating us and taking advantage of us and we will choose not to hear what is really being said – we will turn a blind eye and hear what we want to hear, if only to not be alone, which would be so much worse, or so we believe.
What we will not hear is the still small voice within. What we will not see is the truth.
What You See (and Hear) is What You Get
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we will also see what we believe we should be seeing and hear what we believe we should be hearing. As we are the undesirable, unlovable ones we will see only that so, no matter what the other person is doing and saying, we will still see that as wrong.
Believing that we are not worthy of love, we will see and hear that we are not loved and will behave accordingly in reaction to the other person.
I mentioned in a previous chapter how my in-laws very quickly made a judgement on the kind of person I am. Their judgement was very negative, right or wrong, but the fact is that no amount of efforts from my side of things to try and prove the contrary to their opinion made the slightest bit of difference.
If you look around you and you expect to see disappointment and heartache, that is what you will find, simply because your focus is on disappointment and heartache. If somebody behaves in a way that is contrary to what you believe you should be seeing and hearing, either you will notice it as the exception to the rule or you will not notice it at all. That has been, and still is, my experience with my in-laws.
Just to be clear, I’m not accusing them and judging them, their opinion is their opinion and, in all honesty, is absolutely none of my business. I’m not in their heads and if they decide to pursue in that way of thinking I have two choices: I can make myself extremely unhappy trying to change their minds or I can just ignore it and get on with my own life, after all, they’re not the people I live with.
The Problem With the Relationship Blueprint
For a while now, we have been “taught” in coaching to “use” the Law of Attraction, not only in our relationships but also in our life generally speaking.
I remember one “coach” instructing me to write down exactly what I was looking for in a relationship. At the time, I was very unhappy in my marriage and considering divorce.
The “blueprint” had to be an exact description on what this person should look like, smell like, how they should talk, how they should behave with me, how they should show their love. The tiniest detail had to be inscribed so that the Universe would give me what I really wanted. And so, I faithfully wrote down all my expectations with regards to what I was looking for in a relationship, fully believing that the Universe would magically manifest Mr. Right. What I got was Mr. Wrong, at least wrong for me.
And this is where the blueprint goes wrong. I’ve heard Tony Robbins talk about blueprints and his solution, which basically comes down to two choices – you either change the blueprint or you change the relationship. Now, if that works for you then that’s what you should do but you have to ask yourself, are you happy in yourself with the solution that you choose?
I’m not criticizing Tony Robbins, he does a lot of wonderful things for many people and has contributed a huge amount to other people’s happiness, whether I happen to agree with his point of view or not.
But here’s where this sticks with me. What if you’re looking for someone with brown hair and blue eyes and what you “get” is someone with brown hair and brown eyes? Are you going to throw that person away because he/she doesn’t fit into your blueprint? Are you going to have a feeling of “second best” if you change your blueprint to fit in with that person? Eye colour is just an amusing example, but I’m sure you see what I mean, generally speaking.
And what happens when you don’t fit exactly into the other person’s blueprint?
The blueprint is, in reality, setting us up for failure before we even start for, no matter how hard you try, the other person will only ever see and hear what they are expecting to see and hear and vice versa. And their perspective will change moment to moment depending on their own personal state of mind in the moment.
The Imaginary Friend
The problem with this blueprint is that it is made up of learned expectations. My own personal blueprint, at the time, was based on my girlish notions of what love should be and feel like, full of romanticism, flowers and dinners, cuddles in front of a glowing fire and unexpected sex on the kitchen floor.
Funnily enough, it never really took into account the fact that the other person might be tired, irritable, worried, preoccupied. Mr. Right would be so strong that he would be able to face all of that with the energy of an oak tree. My blueprint was really quite selfish when I think about it.
This poses an enormous problem, for, as we have learned to do since we were tiny, we are betting our present and future happiness on obtaining something that we believe is necessary for our happiness rendering us, in truth, unhappy today.
And we all live like this, even the most enlightened have moments of this, where we feel the necessity for something to happen on the outside of us in order to achieve the sense of happiness and well-being that we are searching for. We are living in anticipation of something that may or may not happen. We are living with the imaginary friend until he or she finally comes along under guise of a solid molecular structure.
So what are we meant to do if he or she never comes along?
In my own case, I was so desperate to have that outer proof of love that when Mr. Wrong came along, filling in the gaps of my blueprint, that I allowed him to manipulate me and take advantage of me, not only emotionally but also financially.
Now, you are probably wondering why and how I could end up with a situation like that. Very simple, he played into the girlish blueprint, the girlish notions of love, that I had and, as many of us do, believing that this love was necessary for my personal well-being, I accepted a situation that was far from ideal.
I had a good friend a few years back, a very pretty girl, intelligent, kind, honest – someone who would be classically considered “a catch” but she rarely had any boyfriends and when she did, the relationships didn’t last very long. Usually she would end them.
I was, for a long time, in confusion as to why that should be. We worked together in the same company and there was not a single man that worked there who did not find her attractive.
And then I realized that it was her blueprint that was controlling her decisions. If the guy didn’t fit in, then she would end the relationship.
The two above examples are, for me, examples of the extremes that people will go to from the moment that they believe that an outside source of love is necessary for them to be happy on the inside.
And we see this around us every day. The cliché of the rich old guy/gal with the young twenty or so year old blonde who walks around with her/him to show off his/her prize, to show how successful he/she is. I would like to believe that the love, in that situation, would be sincere, but I can’t help but doubt it.
The men and women who will change things about themselves, even to extremes in some cases, in order to fit into what the other person wants or is looking for. The pressure that we put upon ourselves to please the other person so that we can receive their love and feel happy. The men and women who reject their spouses and partners because they don’t represent the model that they wish to put on show – maybe the lady is a little plump or has curly hair instead of straight hair or the man is a little bald or doesn’t have a fantastic career to show for.
The point is, and the media is largely responsible for these attitudes, we are only looking at the outer shell and/or the outer behaviour of the other person – we are not seeing them in truth.
As a society, we have become really quite shallow, though not deliberately, just that we are taught continuously that the outer appearance is what counts.
So Where Do The Three Principles Come In?
For the purpose of example, I am going to talk about my own experience, to show how the Three Principles changed me, and the way I see life. I want to be very clear that this is not a whinge; I’m presenting facts and a situation that I experienced in order to show just how powerful the nature of thought really is. I have examples of other people having lived through a transformation in their relationships and the way they see relationships, but those examples were told to me in a situation of trust and I cannot break that trust unless the person gives me permission to do so.
I had lived for eight years with my husband and during those eight years I had spent a lot of the time being insulted and put down. I was told that I was worth less than nothing, I was told, when I got upset at the insults, that I was crazy. I was living with a man who was obsessed with his work, who didn’t spend time with us (the children and I) and who told me on many occasions that he didn’t love me, the main reason being that he couldn’t love me while we didn’t have an acceptable social status in his view.
At the time, I was really very unhappy. I remember one day a Minister friend of mine, saying that when my husband got home that I should just be loving and have a nice dinner ready for him and I remember at the time thinking, “why on earth should I be nice to him when he’s not even nice to me? He’s hardly ever there and when he is there he either doesn’t pay any attention to the children and me or he insults me.”
I felt unloved, unwanted and disrespected.
My husband could yell at me for two hours non-stop about what a worthless person I was and how he had no idea why he’d got himself involved with someone like me.
Now, for most people, that is an unacceptable situation and, over time, it also became an unacceptable situation for me too. And so I made the decision to leave and ask for a divorce.
A few months later I moved to another region for work and I lost custody, through that, of my children.
I arrived at a stage in my life where everywhere I looked, it was a complete disaster. I was, to all accounts and purposes, unloved and unlovable.
Depressed and suicidal, I didn’t eat for nigh on five months. I felt dead inside. I wasn’t a mother, I wasn’t lovable, I was working nine jobs without earning enough money to buy food with – my outlook at that time was very bleak.
I had no more belief in anything or anyone. I became physically ill to the point where my doctor wanted to hospitalize me.
Each day melted into the next, I would get up, go to work, go home, feed my cat and go to bed. For eight months I didn’t step outside the door other than to go to work and for that I had to drag and force myself out. I saw the world as an evil place that I had to protect myself from, after all, people do horrid things in this world, and children get killed so the world was clearly not a beautiful place to be in. I could no longer see the beauty in a tree or in a blade of grass – I saw the world as dead in the same way I saw myself as dead.
My suicidal contemplations filled my head for the better part of each day and night. I lived in a tall building with a 60ft drop from the bathroom window, but when I thought about jumping out of the window I was afraid of the pain I would feel when I hit the ground. I thought about taking an overdose of pills but was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle the sickness feeling that would most certainly accompany that. I wondered about cutting my wrists in a warm bath but was afraid that the sight of blood would freak me out. In short, I wanted to end my pain but was really afraid of dying.
My mind was filled permanently with the thoughts of how bad things were, how I’d lost my children, how I’d been abandoned by a person who had promised to never do that, how my husband had made sure that I was in the most difficult financial situation possible, how rubbish my career, what a failure I was, and how lonely and isolated I felt.
I believed that I would never find love and had made the decision to reject men in the future, that they were not trustworthy and at my age all the “nice” ones were gone in any case.
I was, clearly, a victim.
And then I joined Michael Neill’s website, the Genius Catalyst Café, and through that I joined a program that he was doing at the time called Living from the Inside Out, a program that he runs regularly and is more than worth looking out for.
This was my very first experience of the Three Principles and the nature of thought.
What was unexpected for me was that I really believed that, from what I had known from the “coach” that I’d “worked with,” coaching consisted of giving a whole load of techniques to help you succeed.
I joined thinking that Michael Neill, the Supercoach, would have the best techniques, that I would become successful, rich, ecstatically happy, get my kids back and be in a position to tell the whole world to “sod off!”
Instead, what I got was a transformation. Through Michael’s teaching, I came to realize that it wasn’t my husband, the other man, my career, my financial situation or even the loss of my children that was creating the pain. What was creating the pain was my own thinking around those areas of my life.
As I’ve mentioned before, there is nothing to do, other than accept that our thinking is just our thinking and that what we are feeling in the moment is directly product of our thinking. Of course, our thinking can create a vicious circle if we don’t realize that we don’t have to get stuck in it, that by simply recognizing the mechanism, the thoughts continue in the flow. At the beginning I found myself sometimes saying out loud “this is just thought, I’m feeling like this because I’m thinking like this but I don’t have to think like this, I have no obligation to keep going over it and over it and seeing the same images over and over again”
And, it was a miracle. Three days in I didn’t want to kill myself anymore, I still felt pretty crap but I knew that it was just my thinking creating that feeling, creating that reality.
As I studied more and more and my understanding of the Three Principles and the nature of thought deepened, I started having what I would call “breakthrough insights.”
The first was seeing the energy, feeling the energy, of the world around us and through that seeing the beauty again. And so the insights followed. Realizing that no matter what happened I was fundamentally okay, realizing that being in a low state of mind was normal and was also okay, realizing that the sense of innate well-being rendered me quietly resilient.
And then more profound insights such as realizing that I had no exterior need in order to be happy, that it was not necessary to do anything in order to be happy because it was already there within, realizing that my inner well-being had always been there along with my own voice of wisdom and had helped me through many a time without me even being conscious of that, realizing that the ego doesn’t exist except in thought, realizing that happiness and enjoyment are two completely different things and that, ultimately, it’s all just common sense.
I gave myself the possibility of hanging up the gloves, of not fighting any more, of letting go and just easing into life and seeing how it unfolds.
The insights, to begin with, were on a purely personal level. From the point where I started, I think that was necessary, to be able to see things within myself.
But one beautiful breakthrough came one evening when I was sitting in my lounge and watching some people walk down the road and I could see, feel, them thinking.
Everybody thinks, everybody knows that, but realizing that on a deeper level, really realizing it within yourself completely changes how you see other people.
And What of a Broken Heart?
With what I know now, with the way I see things now, there is no such thing as a broken heart. There is only pain that we can create for ourselves through our own thinking. Yes, in the moment, when something happens, you can have thoughts that make you feel broken but what is really broken is our own ego. We are caught up in thoughts of “how could that person do that to me?” and “I’m clearly unlovable”
We only have a broken heart if we think we have a broken heart.
But love isn’t something that comes from the outside, it’s something that is already there, it’s what we’re made of.
Love is not something you get but something you give and you can only feel loved by another person when you feel love inside yourself.
The Three Principles and My Marriage
The breakthrough that I had when I saw those people thinking and the realization that we are all thinking beings, doing the best that we can in the mindset that we have available to us in the moment was the breakthrough that allowed me to see, not only how the Principles were working through my husband, but also allowed me to see just how much he actually loved me.
All those insults, all those things that were said and done, were purely and simply a product of his low state of mind thinking in the moment and mostly brought on by the stress of wanting to make things work for us in the best way possible – also known as love.
And in the same way as I don’t pay attention to my own low state of mind thinking and certainly don’t act upon it any more, why on earth would I pay attention to anybody else’s low state of mind thinking. But during our marriage I did.
My part of responsibility in our separation and divorce proceedings was, in all innocence as I did not have the knowledge I have now at the time, engaging in his low state of mind thinking and taking it personally. By reacting to it myself, I actually fed it, where, if I’d listened to my minister friend all those years ago, I would have just been loving and made my husband a nice meal for this is true, when someone becomes aggressive and angry, upset and lost, replying with love is the true antidote. And though that person may not calm down immediately, what’s sure is that it will not blow up out of proportion.
I realized that my husband wasn’t this evil monster that I’d believed him to be but, in fact, a human being, whole and pure and lovable, who was just expressing pain and lostness. From that grew, not forgiveness for when we forgive we judge obligatorily, but compassion, which is far stronger.
I now find myself in a mindset where it’s impossible to judge another human being for their behaviour, no matter how bad. That doesn’t mean you have to put up with bad behaviour but it means that you don’t have to carry someone else’s bad behaviour with you.
The Dividing Line Between What is Acceptable and What is Not
We’ve all heard the expression “sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”
That for me is the dividing line. If your partner is expressing angry words, voicing pain, then it’s really not a big deal. Understanding what that person is going through and facing it with love and compassion is really the only answer that is of human kindness to give. Allowing them to not dwell on it thmselves by not getting involved ourselves will allow it to pass and far more rapidly than if we were to get involved and try to change things.
However, if you are being beaten regularly, no matter what the circumstances that provoked that, and you come away with a big bruise or worse, for me, in my opinion, that is the red flag. If your life is in danger, your physical state is in any kind of danger, even if we have an understanding of the Three Principles and we know that that person is only behaving on low state of mind thinking, then it’s time to get to safety in one way or another.
Love is a Choice
As time went on and my understanding of the nature of thought deepened and I could see more and more the mechanisms and realize what was truly going on, as I mentioned previously, I lost all sense of need. I felt, and still do, that I have no exterior need, I don’t need anything, in order to be happy. I already feel innately happy, anything extra is just added bonus.
What I learned with Michael and my subsequent studying of the Principles, is that everything I believed about happiness, well, in short, I’d got it the wrong way round, 180° the wrong way round.
And then several insights popped up almost simultaneously.
It suddenly dawned on me that, in the same way that what I thought happiness should look like was wrong, that my notions about what love should look like were very possibly wrong too. Along with that came the insight that, in the same way I didn’t need anything to make me happy, I didn’t need to be in a relationship to feel loved. I already felt loved on my own.
And it’s ironic in a sense that just as I realized that I was perfectly happy to live alone and that I didn’t need to be with anybody, I was then able to make the decision, to choose, to reunite with my husband.
The realization that the blueprint that I was carrying around was nothing more than a learned blueprint and was made up purely of my own thinking, meant that I was able to let go of that blueprint and not try and fit another person into that.
Yes, there may be some things about my husband that I don’t like as much as others but I’m sure he could say the same thing about me. What’s important is that we have made a choice and that together we are building on that choice.
We talk about “making love” – well making love is something you do on a daily basis, and I’m not talking about sex here, though sex on a daily basis is pretty good, I’m talking about making choices, to construct a relationship together and to go in the same direction together, to build a family, to build a life. I enjoy being in his company, we have a laugh and we also do serious things together.
I don’t believe any more in soulmates and only one person in the whole world being the person that you’re destined to spend your life with. And the choice in a relationship has certainly nothing to do with the Law of Attraction, not as it is nowadays considered at any rate. For, when the “gilt wears off the gingerbread” (an expression that my mother was fond of using), if you do not have the foundation of a choice in the relationship then things may very quickly fall apart and that sense of euphoria of “being in love” will wear off. What’s left, when you have made the choice to be with a person, is true love, love that is built on strength and a sense of connection with that other person.
Romanticism is not all it’s cracked up to be. The Namaste, seeing the light in the other person, is a far more beautiful way of living.
Being with my husband anew is allowing life to unfold. I don’t know where it will take us but I’m confident in the future and I’m confident for my children who are happy to be living anew with both of their parents and benefitting from the presence and love of both of their parents.
And I can’t help but feel a great sense of gratitude for the lessons I have learned, from all of the people who I have come into contact with, whether the experiences have been good or bad.
Most of all I am grateful to Michael Neill for not only guiding me back to my own wisdom every time that I was lost but for literally saving my life!
To guide people back to their own wisdom is the true role of a coach. My first experience of a coach was somebody who took charge of the situation, who made the decisions and who clearly believed that they knew better than I did about what I should or should not do and about what was right for me. A technique may work for you in a given moment but cannot become a rule to live by. The Three Principles is not a technique; it’s just our natural way of living, it is the default setting.
And as Michael says, “you are the expert on you” – only you know what is right for you and the answers lie within your own inner wisdom. Pointing you back towards your own inner wisdom that will guide you in the choices that are the best choices for you is the best thing that a coach can do for you. Our job is not to take over your life but to accompany you in your own guidance system.
Addendum: Yes, the Three Principles saved my life and then saved my marriage and the unfolding brought a new human life to the world, my third child and second daughter, Emma who was born on the 20th October 2013, almost a year to the day after having written this article. The Three Principles of Mind, Thought and Consciousness – there’s a lot to be said for them.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
Michael Neill – http://www.supercoach.com/
Katri Manninen – http://katrimanninen.net/in-english/
Rachel Norwood – http://nurtureandnutrition.com/