1 | If you want to fall in love – you have to believe in love
I like the English expression “falling in love” because it somehow suggests that we “fall in love” – a beautiful idea. But what is most important is that in order for this to happen, you should believe in love. If you look for the blame for failed relationships or rejection only in others, you are looking in the wrong place. Of course, it’s tempting at first to think that others are just stupid and mean – but that leads us to become bitter, lose faith in love, and basically reject the people we wish we could be accepted by. This cannot work.
2 | We fall in love with people we believe can satisfy our needs
Many people wish – consciously or unconsciously – to experience in a partnership everything they have been longing for since childhood. Very often we don’t even know much of this – we often don’t recognize our needs until someone stands in front of us and “awakens” them in us. Often we desire the satisfaction of as many relationship needs as possible, making a potential partner responsible for making us feel loved, appreciated, desired, cared for, accepted. Almost always, this is far too much for that person. And often enough we expect a partner to do something that we ourselves are not even willing to do for us: That he likes and accepts us as we are. You don’t always have to think you’re “super great” – but if you succeed in making peace with yourself instead of constantly criticizing yourself, you’ll significantly improve your chances of being really liked by others, and you won’t “need” a partner who criticizes you and confirms your poor self-esteem.
3 | We find security only in ourselves and love is not controllable
We spend about 90 percent of our time running around on “autopilot”. This means that we hardly deal with what we are doing, needing or wanting at the moment and, above all, why we are doing or needing it. For example, many people want a feeling of security – but unfortunately nothing is really secure, especially not when it concerns the feelings of another person. So if we look for security “on the outside” or in another person, we will hardly be able to find it and will constantly try to control what happens to us. However, if we are always in “protection and control mode”, we will hardly be able to experience the adventure that love and even the encounter with another person promises. The moment we feel fear or need control, we deprive ourselves of the chance to let love grow.
4 | We unconsciously re-enact unresolved conflicts of our childhood
This is probably one of the most important facts to know about love and partnership: The unexplained attraction to certain people is mainly explained by the fact that we choose people who radiate a certain potential. We all carry unresolved emotional conflicts within us, traumas if you will – situations that we were overwhelmed with as children and could not understand sink into us unconsciously, yet continue to live within us and long for redemption. Most of the time, however – because we are just not aware of it – this fails, because we do not realize that we are just putting on a play with our partner: Anyone who suffered a lot as a child from the fact that a parent could not really express his or her love will, even as an adult, repeatedly choose a partner who is also unable to do so.
5 | It’s not just about good feelings
When I ask my seminar participants why they want a partnership, the answers are very similar: “To share the good things in life” or “to start a family” and above all: “to be happy”. But a partnership doesn’t automatically make you happy – and that’s exactly what it’s not about: even if your partner is someone with whom you share a lot, often laugh, help and complement each other – in the long run, this very partner is also the person with whom you argue, who drives you up the wall, by whom you feel misunderstood and who gets on your nerves enormously. And that’s exactly what a partnership is for. It’s not just about the good feelings: The partner is the person who best finds our sore points and “stimulates” them. The partner is not the one to stop – but he is the one who shows us where we want to “heal”, where we still have something “to do” to free ourselves from misunderstandings about ourselves and the world.
6 | Love is unconditional – partnership is not
The term “love” is one of the most misused words in our language. Because it is often linked to things that have nothing at all to do with love itself: With jealousy, for example – but that doesn’t arise from love, but from the fear of losing your partner, for example, or from the feeling of being neglected by your partner. Love should be unconditional – I notice it very clearly, for example, when I look at the relationship with my dog. I love him more than anything, even if he doesn’t “tell” me that he loves me and doesn’t always do what I expect or wish from him. With my husband it sometimes (unfortunately) looks different (sorry honey!), because in a partnership we have certain expectations and wishes – but these we have for the relationship and the partner – not for love. It is important that we separate this and not confuse!
7 | It is not important how the partner is, but how we are
Again and again I am asked what a “dream partner” is and must bring along and how one finds his dream partner. But the truth is: love is not about how the other person should be, but how we want to be. We often believe that we know how a person has to be so that he or she fits us and we become happy with him or her. But this is a fallacy, because since we develop the feeling of love from our unconscious, we can not even know consciously what will make us happy. What we can know, however, is how we would like to be, how we would like to feel, how we would like to be treated and how we would like to behave – in a partnership. If we focus on this, we don’t have to scan every person to see if they are the way we want them to be, but we can get to know them and feel if we feel the way we want to feel.