Having recently become engaged to a wonderful man, I have been basking in the joy of love and commitment. I have spent a large proportion of my adult life as a single mother. Various failed relationships. The wrong man, the wrong time.
Many times I had heard the phrase, ‘if you don’t love yourself first, no one else can truly love you either.’ But I had never really understood what it meant. How is that so? Of course you can be truly loved, look at all those people who are happily married and they never had to go on a spiritual journey of self-love. If they can have it, why can’t I? And yet when I reached one of the lowest points in my life most recently, I finally got it – I have to look inside, deep, deep inside and really sort this out. I became hungry for knowledge of a spiritual nature. I fell in love with myself first and then attracted someone I call my soul mate.
Something that delights me about this life is that, when one dream comes true, be that your true love, your big achievement, your new home, we quickly want to move on to the next big thing…the next dream. Before these things manifested in your life, they seemed impossible. Once they are achieved, we expand, and our reality shifts, and they become part of our ‘normal’ life. Quickly our lover, fiance, husband, can become normal and even mundane. The little things we once thought were sweet idiosyncrasies can become annoying and jarring. We start to criticise and look for weaknesses and failures. Rather than go here, it is important to remain in gratitude as much as possible. Every day.
Like everything else in life I am finding that a long-term committed relationship involves work and spiritual practice. I can choose to see my beloved through eyes of love and kindness, or eyes of impatience and mistrust. A long-term relationship or marriage is made up of a lot of forgiveness and compromise. I believe that two people must be truly compatible, but it takes an understanding and an acceptance of each other’s dark side, failures and weaknesses, in order to truly celebrate each other’s greatness.
*This article was assisted by Arielle Ford’s book, Wabi Sabi love, and the title is taken from Leonard Cohen.
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Dr. Ellen Anne Burns is an actress, writer, mother, teacher, and student, not necessarily in that order. She was brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she has just completed her PhD in Applied Drama. She believes in a holistic spiritual practice, involving meditation, self love and discovery, learning and practicing forgiveness, gratitude and love every day. Ellen wishes to support and guide others on their own journey of self and love, especially with a view to romantic relationships. She is a mentor on Gabrielle Bernstein’s-HerFuture.com and is thrilled to be one of the founding members of The Daily Sisterhood Blog. If you wish to contact Ellen please message her here, and she will respond as soon as she can.