One thing that women notice as we start working together is that opening themselves to healthy relationships and love always feels like less work and not more.
I am regularly receiving questions from women about the “inner work” and hearing them say that even after years of doing the self-development and healing work, they don´t see results in their life.
So today I decided to speak to one of the biggest illusions I see repeating itself like a self-fulfilling prophecy in the lives of women all around the world.
And the illusion I am speaking to is – no matter what I do it will be never enough.
This illusion is more than a thought, it is a way of experiencing the world that is deeply ingrained in the tissues of their bodies and heart. It shapes the way they see themselves and the world. It colors every decision they take and every relationship they engage in.
Most of the marketing in self-development actually feeds off this illusion and reinforces it by making the woman believe that she needs to be doing more – having the right career, living in the right city, networking and being in the right place at the right time, having her life together, having the right body size…
The sneaky thing about illusions is that you often don´t know you are living in one.
However, illusions always leave a trace behind them. When I work with my clients I get to see what I call their “inner landscape” reflected in their choices and behavior when it comes to choosing partners, creating support systems, and responding to everyday life events.
For instance, a woman living under the illusion of not being enough tends to get very reactive when her partner doesn´t give her what she needs or wants and her first instinct is to punish him for his shortcomings.
She will punish him by withdrawing her love and affection, she will become cold and distant, she will harbor resentment and frustration, and she will put up walls and make him work hard for love.
And to a woman who has lived her whole life under this illusion, her reactivity feels like home. She thinks it is who she is.
She believes that if she let go of her righteous resentment she would lose control and with control, she would lose love.
Her deepest fear is that if she stops “working” for love (analyzing, withholding attention, being suspicious of men and their intentions, trying to “get” the man like her – showing only those parts of her personality that she thinks he wants to see…) love won´t find her or choose her.
She grew up believing that when she is in control, she gets to decide how much love will come to her. If I get it right, I will receive love and attention. When I behave/perform in the right way (when I follow the rules) I will be loved and accepted.
So she became master at controlling herself – controlling her heart – and controlling the man.
When I coach her around her coping mechanisms and reactivity, where they guide us is a very tender place in her heart where the belief – If I stop doing, love won´t come to me – lives. Or in other words, I am not enough as I am, so I need to control and DO to get love.
I already can hear you ladies say – But what if the man is misbehaving? What if she needs him to know that his behavior is hurtful?
Well, let´s imagine that we are detectives and I will give you examples of how a woman who is living under illusions shows up and how a woman who has done the true inner work of connecting to her heart shows up and I will help you trace the effects back to their origins.
The woman under illusions is going to feel the need to shield the man and herself from her true feelings.
– If she shares how she feels it´s coming from what you hear men often referring to as drama – she blames him for the way he is making her feel (“I will never trust you again”, “You are so irresponsible”, “You care only about yourself”, “I hate you”).
When we start working together I see so many women believing that sharing this way is actually sharing their true feelings and it can´t be further from the truth. This is deeply suppressed anger and internalized doormatism seeking its expression as punitive behavior and resentment.
However, the reason many women believe it is “their truth” is because over the years they were trying to change the way they feel, make their feelings bad or use mantras and affirmations to make themselves feel better and they have partially disconnected from their inner landscape.
What they are sharing with their partner is years of unprocessed reactivity and not her true feelings.
– She will often feel hopeless and stuck in her relationship, but creating more options and a support systems feel like hard work to her. If a woman feels like she doesn´t have the energy to create a life that feels supportive, it is because she has been taught that she needs to work herself to the bone to get breadcrumbs of love and attention.
Moreover, she has been already working so hard for love and spent most of her life in hypervigilance and overworking for men and others that she literally doesn’t have the energy in her body to create connections and activities that are meaningful and that don´t come from performing.
– She will feel the urge to give him more instructions (“You shouldn´t do that”, “You should do this instead”, “Let me show you how to do it, you always do it wrong”,…) from the reactive space and “teach him how to be a man”, but she will rarely walk away from a relationship that doesn´t work for her because she believes that that´s as good as it gets.
She feels a lot of anxiety, emptiness, and hopelessness at the thought of focusing attention on her life and taking actions that support her mental, physical, and financial well-being.
If taking care of herself and her well-being feels boring or like hard work to a woman, she needs to be addressing the underlying pattern of self-abandonment first and foremost and only then move on to choosing the right relationship partner.
There are hundreds of other traces the illusion leaves behind but let´s move onto the second example of a woman who has done the work of dissolving illusions and finding a home in her own heart.
– She knows the feeling of reactivity and is practiced in not putting in onto her partner, given that he is a good man doing the best he can and sometimes falling short. Through somatic work, she learned to recognize when she is connected to her body and heart and she talks to him from that state.
She doesn´t feel like she needs to hide her feelings and NEEDS, because the illusion of not being enough no longer lives in her heart and tissues. And so she meets her wants and needs with a lot of acceptance and understanding.
She does not seek perfection in love nor does she seek it in herself.
She can go directly to the deepest desires and fears of her heart, she can say I need/want/feel… to her partner and she doesn´t feel the need to overwork and defend her needs and wants. But she also knows she can´t control his response.
– She has healed the stress- responses that kept her stuck in hopelessness, fear, and hypervigilance and she feels delighted every time she gets to make a decision that supports her well-being and provides her with more options and opportunities – whether it´s a new hobby, working on her career skills, sustaining her friendships, taking care of her finances, going on a trip, or simply giving her body time to rest and recover from overworking.
She is very aware of her energy and in tune with her body. She takes time regularly to BE with her own heart and understand her own inner landscape (I teach this process in The Sanctuary) and she doesn´t wait until the pent-up resentment will make her punish the hearts of others.
Most importantly, she doesn´t do the inner work to “earn” the relationship she wants (this would only further deplete her energy and drain her body and radiance).
She tends to her heart and emotions because it feels GOOD to her and it makes her heart feel like it matters, which IS the true recipe for dissolving the illusion of not-enoughness and accessing true self-ESTEEM from within.
– She knows that she wants a capable partner who is her equal and whom she can trust and whose decision skills she can respect. That is what makes their relationship ever-expanding and polarity exciting.
By dissolving the illusion that she won´t be ever enough no matter how hard she tries, she understands that she gets to respond to the actions of her partner with appreciation or by telling him how SHE feels and what she NEEDS but she no longer feels the urge to control his love by doing the decision making for him. Through the work she has done she started to believe that love can come to her freely and she doesn´t need to DO to be loved and appreciated.
Because she has been actively working on creating an amazing and fulfilling life for herself, she knows that she gets to flow her attention towards men, offers, and career opportunities that reaffirm her value to her and she doesn´t need to respond to those that don´t ultimately represent what she wants and needs.
In my program for emphatic ambitious women, we learn everything about healthy relationships and I help you dissolve the illusions that make you believe that you need to work hard for love and that your best will never be good enough. Once you learn to understand your heart and listen to your body and its cues, restoring the healthy polarity in your relationship or finding the right partner is just a matter of time.
If you would like to work with me 1:1 you can apply for my 10-week program for new clients. If 1:1 support is not the right fit for you at the moment, have a look at my membership self-study portal The Sanctuary.