““I needed to learn how to set boundaries within, both emotionally and mentally by integrating Spiritual Truth into my process. Because “I feel feel like a failure” does not mean that is the Truth. The Spiritual Truth is that “failure” is an opportunity for growth. I can set a boundary with my emotions by not buying into the illusion that what I am feeling is who I am. I can set a boundary intellectually by telling that part of my mind that is judging and shaming me to shut up, because that is my disease lying to me. I can feel and release the emotional pain energy at the same time I am telling myself the Truth by not buying into the shame and judgment.” – Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
When I wrote the original version of this article to be published in February 2000, I wanted to help people take some of the emotional charge out of Valentines. I had realized in my recovery that Holidays – as well as times like birthdays and anniversaries were times that can really be emotional triggers for us. (In fact it was my pattern of setting myself up to be abandoned on important days – specifically my birthday in July 1987 – that was what finally caused me to surrender to the need for me to do the emotional work that I was so scared of doing.)
“After I had been in recovery a few years – in the course of trying to figure out how I set myself up to be a victim with my expectations – I had a very important insight about holidays. I realized that holidays – not just Christmas and New Years Eve but Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, etc. – along with days like anniversaries and my birthday were the times which I judged myself the most. My expectations of what a holiday “should” be, of where I “should” be at a certain age, of how my life “should” look at this particular time, were causing me to unmercifully beat myself up. I was buying into the disease voice which was telling me that I was a loser and a failure (or going to the other extreme and blaming someone else for my feelings.) I was giving power to the toxic shame that told me that I was unworthy and unlovable.
I realized that I was judging myself against standards that weren’t real, against expectations that were a fantasy, a fairy tale. The fairy tale that everyone should be happy and cheerful during the Christmas holidays is ridiculous just like the myth of happily-ever-after is a false belief that doesn’t apply to this level of existence. The holidays are just like every other day of the year only magnified. That means there will be moments of happiness and Joy but there will also be moments of sadness and hurt.” – Holidays, Anniversaries, and Birthdays
So, this is what I wrote for what I came to call a Valentine’s Day prayer.
Valentines Day. The high holy Codependency feast Day. That is, a day when, for most of us, the disease treats us to a feast of self recrimination and self flagellation.
For a small minority of us, a true holiday of love. A time to celebrate the love we are feeling for a significant other in our life. A time to be grateful for the gift of romance, and to honor the partner who is enriching our life.
For a significant number of us – who are alone in a relationship – a time to pretend, or blame. To focus on what is good about the relationship we are in, in an attempt to convince ourselves that the payoff we are receiving is worth the price we are paying. A time to put on a happy face to cover up for a sad heart. A reminder that our hopes, and the dream of what the relationship would become, are sadly under fulfilled and that we have settled for less than we deserve. Often that internal conflict is deflected outward in blaming the other.
For another significant portion of us – who are alone – a painful reminder, usually accompanied by self judgment and shame, bitterness and cynicism. Unless our level of denial is great enough for us to truly convince ourselves that it is just another day and does not bring up any feelings – a day of sadness.
If you are one of the lucky few, enJoy it to the fullest. Glory in the magic of love. Let your Spirit soar on the wings of love. Let yourself feel the Love and Joy in the moment as if you have never been hurt, and as if this love will never go away. Grab the moment with gusto and let yourself cherish the fairy-tale-come-true feelings.
If you are part of the majority – either in a relationship that isn’t working to meet your needs, or not in a relationship – focus on being kind to your self. Use this Valentine’s Day as an exercise in Loving you.
Allow yourself to feel the sadness without buying into the messages of judgment and shame from the critical parent voice in your head. It is not your fault that you are alone – or that you have settled for crumbs in a relationship when you deserve the whole cake. It is not because you are unlovable or unworthy. It is not because you have made “stupid” “mistakes,” or because you are a “loser” or a “failure.”
And if you find yourself wallowing in resentment and blame, realize that underneath your need to point the finger at another is a place within you that needs to be forgiven by you.
It is extremely difficult to have a healthy relationship in a society that is founded on dysfunctional beliefs about the nature and purpose of being human. In a society that is not only emotionally repressive and dishonest, Spiritually hostile (based upon belief in separation instead of connection,) and shame based – but one that promotes, and programs us for, dysfunctional codependent relationships and toxic love.
We were set up to have unrealistic expectations of our self and of romance. We were set up: to make choices that would cause us to repeat dysfunctional patterns in relationships; to choose exactly the people who would repeat the emotional dynamics of abandonment, deprivation, unavailability, verbal abuse, etc.; to choose to open our hearts to people who would ignore, or stomp on, them. Often then, we learned to shut down our hearts in order to survive the emotional pain.
It is very sad. It is very sad that we have had our hearts broken. It is very sad that we have let go of getting our needs met. It is very sad that it is so hard to connect with another being in a healthy, Loving way. It is very sad that so many of us have had to shut down our hearts and locked the romantic part of us away in a deep dark place within us.
It is very sad – but it is truly tragic that we blame ourselves. We have been victimized by societies dysfunctional programming and we beat up on the victim of those forces that we were powerless over.
We do deserve Love in our lives. We deserve companionship and support and friendship. We deserve touch and affection and sexual fulfillment.
We all do!
That is the good news. The bad news is that we may not get to have that experience in this lifetime.
We do not have to like that reality – but we do need to accept it. Because accepting it is the key to stopping the self judgment and blame. Accepting that you can be happy and whole without a relationship, is the key to being able to let go of expectations and judgment so that you are be free to be happy, peaceful, and Joyous in some of the moments of today.
We have all lived multiple lifetimes in this hostile environment. That environment is now being changed. This new age we are in, is the time when – by healing our wounded souls and learning to manifest Love into our relationship with our self – we will bring about a critical mass that will shift the whole planet’s relationship with Love.
Everything without is a reflection of within. As long as individual human beings are hating and resenting them self, feeling unworthy and unlovable – the world will remain an angry, violent, love retarded, hostile environment. By learning to overcome our programming to have a hostile environment within us – in our relationship with our self – we will change the world, transform it into a healthier more Loving place for the Magnificent Spiritual Beings who we Truly are to come into body and experience.
Make this Valentine’s Day a True celebration of Love by choosing to Love and have compassion for your wounded self (own the emotional pain) at the same time you are allowing your Spiritual Self to nurture (tell yourself Spiritual Truth) and protect you (tell the critical parent voice to shut up.)” – Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior Chapter 16 – A Valentine’s Day Prayer
I have special offers for Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth on this page. (which includes offers for my other books also.)
When you purchase Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior through Joy2MeU you get a personally autographed copy;-) but you can also purchase through Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.
The Greatest Arena is also available as two ebooks (each only$9.95) eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior (the first 20 chapters of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and on Amazon UK.
Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 2: Deeper Within (emotionally) & Further Out (metaphysically) From Fear of Intimacy to Twin Souls (chapters 21 through 40 of The Greatest Arena) is available on Amazon and Amazon UK.
Romantic Relationships ~ The Greatest Arena for Spiritual & Emotional Growth eBook 1: Codependent Dysfunctional Relationship Dynamics & Healthy Relationship Behavior now also available as an audio book.