Once upon a time, there was a couple who fell madly in love. They had been introduced by mutual friends, exchanged emails and phone calls and finally were face to face. Sparks flew and hearts raced. This wasn’t like anything they had experienced before. This was not just any kind of love, but the kind of heaven-opening, heart-expanding, birds-singing, sun-shining through the rain kind of take-your-breath-away kind of love.
Right down the street, on the same amazing day, there was another couple who, after a few chance meetings, decided that they would hang out with friends yet had repeatedly found themselves talking only to each other. They were both mentally stimulated and the possibility of chemistry started to kindle between them. Could this be the start of real love?
Next door in the upstairs apartment were two more people who had quite a history together. They started dating several years ago, but found their relationship to be full of change. From heated passionate nights to polarizing disagreements and differences of opinions on life issues, heated disagreements, make-up sex and then back to peaceful times. Their relationship had seen its ups and downs and ins and outs and it seemed that they were in something of a break-up then make-up kind of pattern. When they were together, it was good, but it didn’t take long again before it was bad. They would break up and get lonely for each other; other people didn’t seem to fill the void that the other person had left and a make-up would ensue. Was this was love was to be for them? Sometimes the roller-coaster ride seemed to be too much, but living without each other felt impossible to do too.
Every Love Story Is Unique
How you tell yourself your love story matters. How you see your relationship and the story you associate with your partner affects how you show up and how much of yourself you are willing to commit to each other.
Perception is reality. How you perceive your relationship and the story you tell yourself about it creates the reality you are living.
What story do you tell yourself about past love relationships in your life? In my years of working with clients, storytelling is a significant part of each person’s self-perception. How we remember and describe our past helps determine how we choose to see our present and our future.
For example, if you met your first love early in life and then grew apart into different future, you may have translated that story into a belief that true love is hard to find and that there are only one or two true “soul mates” for each of us. This back story and belief about the scarcity of true love might have you looking for something in someone else that measures up to what you think you need instead of paying attention to who they really are and opening yourself to the possibility of experiencing someone different than what you were “hoping” for. One of my favorite sayings is “we don’t know what we don’t know”. When we create an “ideal” of what someone else should be, we close ourselves off to even greater possibilities of what they may be that we stand to miss by only looking for what we know.
Likewise, if you believe that every person has value and that nobody comes into your life by accident, then your love story can be full of discovery and appreciation and purpose. This may or may not have anything to do with permanence of people in your life, but it definitely will affect your curiosity and ability to experience people as they are rather than as you want them to be.
If your love story started early in life by an experience of abandonment, your story might include something that sounds like “love doesn’t last” or “people always leave me”. If this is the story that plays inside of your heart as you are in relationship with someone else, it can have a serious detrimental effect on your ability to trust, to be vulnerable and to truly commit.
No two love stories are the same. No love story is written by one person and lived by another. We live our own stories.
What love story would you like to live in? What do you need to do in order to be the main character of that story and truly live it?