With Valentine’s Day approaching, we tend to think of romantic love and how to attract or keep that special someone. Romantic love causes us to light up like a Christmas tree, breathe a little easier, and view the world with more positivity.
Yet, in order to love another with authentic unconditional love, we must first love ourselves. We cannot give what we do not have. One of my favorite counselors, Dr. Larry Crabb, used to say that most couples are like “two fleas and no dog.” Each partner enters the relationship, not to give, but to suck the life’s blood out of each other in order to fill themselves up. We tend to approach relationships from a deficiency instead of approaching the relationship to give and contribute from a position of abundance.
To have an abundance of love to give, we have to fill ourselves up first. I recently worked with a client on this same issue and developed a strategy that was very effective. I named it the
“Tabula Rasa Strategy.”
Tabula Rasa in Latin means “blank slate.” Many mental health professionals claim that when we are born, we are born with a blank slate. As we develop as human beings, those who have the most influence on us write on the slate of our souls. It could be a parent, family member, or teacher.
In this exercise with my client, the person who had the most influence on her was her father. When we discussed what he wrote on the slate of her soul, words like “unworthy, insignificant, unimportant, and invisible” came to her mind. Although this greatly affects our belief system about who we are, and what we are capable of, this is not uncommon.
So, here’s the strategy or directive I gave her for creating true self-love and you could use for yourself:
- Write down on a piece of paper the words, feelings, or impressions of what was written on your tabula rasa – your blank slate.
- Review the list and determine which are objectively true. Then take a red pen or marker and cross out that which is false.
- Take the piece of paper, crumble it up, and burn it. (Use a fire-safe receptacle like a fireplace, fire pit, or kitchen sink.)
- Take a new piece of paper and write down what is true about the genuine you. My client wrote things like, “vibrant, conscious, worthy, wanted, loved, and fully expressed.”
- Review your list every day for 21 days, which creates a habit and reinforces what you really believe about yourself. (This will take less than 30 seconds.)
In implementing this strategy, you will begin to eliminate old, limiting beliefs about yourself and reinforce new, empowering beliefs about yourself that build a foundation of self-love that will enable you to give authentic love to another. The kind of love that contributes to a relationship instead of contaminates. Aren’t you and your partner, or future partner, worth it?