This week’s question comes from Tricia:

“Dear Orna & Matthew,

I discovered your existence a few weeks ago while listening to a relationship podcast. Everything you say makes so much sense to me. I’ve been trying very hard these last six months to deal with my past so that I can have the life I want. My career is going better than ever and although I feel I accept and love myself, well, at least more than I used to, I still find insecurities creeping in.

I grew up in a home with a withdrawn father and a stressed out, frazzled, and overworked mother. I didn’t get a lot of attention from my parents and ended up being like a second parent to my younger siblings because my mom was constantly working and my dad was very depressed. As an adult, I tend to go back and forth with relationships with men who are either controlling and suffocating or completely withdrawn and emotionally unavailable. I am finally starting to recognize this pattern in the men I date but I also feel like I might be emotionally unavailable or somehow unable to connect myself.

When I start to get to know a man, especially if I like him and am interested, I begin to analyze and criticize every “dumb” thing I say in conversation. I feel a pit in my stomach when I feel like the guy might be backing off, and start to wonder what I might have done wrong. I feel this fear that ultimately, whatever is happening in the relationship, it’s going to end in rejection. This isn’t always the actual case. In fact, I have usually been the one to end most of my relationships over the years as I find I’m either being smothered or being neglected. But for me, the worst part of starting to date and finding a guy is feeling that sense of self-criticism and fear of rejection.

How do I talk myself through this? Is this feeling a sign the relationship isn’t “right” anyway?”

Dear Tricia,

Thanks for reaching out to us. We love your question, as we know that a lot of women in our community can relate. Self-criticism is one of the most powerful blocks to love.

The key to long-lasting intimate relationships is your ability to create and maintain a feeling of connection with another person. When we feel emotionally connected to our partner, then we are more likely to have fewer conflicts, and when one does arise resolve it quickly.

The habits that create a feeling of disconnection include judgment (both of self and your partner), criticism, and not taking responsibility. All of these habitual strategies create problems that if they are not addressed will cause you to push your partner away.

One of the phrases we hate the most when looking at why a relationship ended is, “We just drifted apart,” as if some unseen force like gravity caused the two people to feel disconnected from one another. This saying reveals a lack of understanding of the cause of the disconnect and the lack of desire to take responsibility for the relationship ending.

In order to change a habit of creating disconnection (which is what you are describing above), the first step is to be able to answer the question: “What are you saying to yourself about yourself?”

Most of us are unaware of our inner dialogue and how it gets in the way of emotional intimacy. By making the effort to become aware of your inner dialog and how it is affecting your feelings, puts you in the driver seat to create positive change.

The “Think, Feel, Do” cycle of behavior is the key to making this shift. First, we Think something, which causes us to Feel something, which then affects what we Do. Discovering the first step, what you are actually thinking that is triggering the negative emotion will be life-changing for you.

You could think of your negative thoughts as a type of affirmation. Whether you believe in affirmations or not, the truth is you are affirming your reality every minute of every day. Your daily affirmations (what you are saying to yourself about yourself) may sound something like this: “I am such an idiot for saying that.” “I can’t believe I just did that. I’m going to push him away and be rejected again. I don’t think he really likes me.”

Can you see how a negative inner dialog creates a feeling of disconnection?

Once you identify the inner voice you can begin the process of changing it to a positive habitual thought pattern. One that is in alignment with how you would like to feel. Beginning to use positive affirmations will help a lot. It is also important to know how to create connection with another person.

Creating connection takes the ability to see how you are similar instead of focusing on how you are different. This feeling of difference (which can show up as judgment or criticism) leaves you feeling either “less than” or “better than” the other person. Instead, access your empathy and compassion and discover how you are similar.

Our thought patterns are habits that we created when we were young in order to feel loved and safe. These thought patterns would be the same regardless of who is sitting across from you. They are not indications that the relationship isn’t “right” or that you are going to be rejected. They are simply habits that ultimately can be changed over time.

If you want a guide to help you identify your negative patterns that block you from love, check out our DIY program for soulmate love, The Soulmate Shortcut™.

The Soulmate Shortcut is designed to help you discover Your Love Imprint®, the system in your subconscious that is blocking you from the love you desire. Your Love Imprint is made up of your limiting beliefs, your mental and emotional patterns, and your behavioral strategies around giving and receiving love.

Your Love Imprint was developed in early childhood in your family of origin and the system your subconscious is using for choosing and maintaining your intimate relationships. It even determines who you have the spark of attraction with!

This Do It Yourself program is designed to guide you through an inner journey so you can be in the driver’s seat of your love life, rather than having it run on auto-pilot.

Check out this video we made that explains The Soulmate Shortcut™ in depth.

We are here to be your guides to love.

Love and Abundance,

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