Editor’s Note: Gay Hendricks and Kathlyn Hendricks are the only top relationship experts who work and appear together as a couple (so they can demonstrate and practice what they preach). They draw on wisdom learned in their own marriage of almost three decades.
Not only have they appeared on major talk shows such as Oprah, and others, but their work has been featured on ABC News and 48 Hours, as well as in Redbook, Cosmopolitan, New Woman, Self, and others.
Check out this article by them to learn more.
The Deepest Secret – How To Attract Genuine Love And Keep It Flowing
By Gay and Katie Hendricks
It’s the lesson most of us struggle to learn throughout our own lives.
Maybe it’s the lesson of life and love. It’s certainly been the major issue people have talked to us about in our thirty years as therapists and relationship coaches. Even if the person brought in a problem of depression or marital misery, this issue was hovering in the background. The depression never lifted and the marriage never harmonized until the person learned this mega-lesson. It’s as if a secret—perhaps the deepest secret—is withheld from us until we can open our hearts for the few seconds or minutes it takes to reveal the secret to ourselves.
Here is the deepest secret:
The major barrier to a loving relationship is an unloved part of you. That’s right: An aspect of ourselves that we have never loved and accepted keeps us from forming and keeping genuine love with others.
If you don’t love yourself, you’ll always be looking for someone else to do it for you. It never works, because people who don’t love themselves attract people who don’t love themselves. Then they try to get the other person to love them unconditionally when they’re not even doing it for themselves.
When you love yourself deeply and unconditionally for everything you are and aren’t, you attract people who love and accept themselves. If you feel fundamentally unlovable deep down inside, you’ll attract a lover who feels the same way.
When we don’t love some part of ourselves, we run around in desperation trying to get someone else to love us. Our hope is that if they give us enough love our unlovable part will go away. It never does. Only a moment of loving ourselves unconditionally will do that particular job.
Most of us spend our lives running from that unlovable part of us. When we finally confront it, we will usually discover it’s fear. It’s usually a particular fear, and there are a very small number of them.
The fears that keep us from loving
One of them is fear of abandonment. You can probably see why that fear could play havoc in your relationships. It certainly did in our early relationships, before we became aware that this fear was driving a lot of our troublesome behavior. When you’re afraid of being left alone, you’ll either keep people distant so it won’t hurt so bad if they leave you, or you’ll cling to them dependently so they can’t leave without dragging you with them.
Another big fear is the dread of being smothered by the other person. When you’re in the grip of this fear, you’re worried that your individuality and freedom will be lost if you surrender to full union with the other person. So, you stay at arm’s length, just as a person who’s afraid of drowning might stand a yard or so away from the water’s edge.
Making that Fear Disappear
The good thing to know about fear is that it’s simply a pulsating quiver of racy-queasy sensations in your stomach area. Fear, said the legendary psychiatrist Fritz Perls, is merely excitement without the breath. Breathe into the fear and watch what happens: The butterflies will flutter out of hiding and fly away.
When you love that fear directly, you can actually feel the fear disappear. In the space where the fear used to be, you now feel a big open space into which a wonderful new relationship can enter. That’s what happened to us, and that’s what we’ve seen happen to a lot of people when they mustered the courage to love themselves and all their fears.
The Grip of Fear Holds You In Check
It’s impossible to enjoy good relationships until we give that scary place in ourselves a split-second of love. The reason: The fear causes us to push people away when they get too close. That’s because our fear gets stirred up when we let them in close. To keep the fear under control, we keep people at a distance. We push down the very aspects of ourselves that most need to come to the surface and be loved. Then, having already judged ourselves unlovable, we strain to get others to love us. Trying to get other people to love us when we don’t think ourselves lovable is like a dog chasing its own tail. The more they try to love us, the faster we run from it.
Fortunately, you can solve that problem
There are many people out there who are in the same situation with similar circumstances. Reach out, meet new people, and find like-minded people who share your values.