This may shock you (coming from me) but today I am going to help you find your dream lover, just waiting to have the perfect life long affair with you, beginning today and in real life!
But first I want to ask a question, and share a little story …
Have you ever thought you knew something, only to have a life event make you realise you didn’t understand it at all?
The first time this happened to me when I was hit by a car.
Of course, before this, I thought I knew cars were big, heavy and could hurt people. It wasn’t until one hit me however that it came to me I hadn’t understood this at all.
Before this cars were just sound and vision to me; a bit like watching a movie or watching TV. Then after my minor accident, I began to start ‘feeling’ the cars around me in the street. A new sensation had dawned in me, causing my whole body, not just my mind, to become aware that I had to watch out.
I had a similar experience with the story of Narcissus falling in love with his own reflection. Later experiencing my own very real personal redemption from my own narcissism.
There were a few events that led up to this breakthrough I want to share with you today. How in the matter of one week my own experience of myself and my life completely changed.
Narcissism nowadays tends to describes a self-centered person, which in reality has nothing to do with loving oneself.
As the Greek myth explains, Narcissus was not in love with his true self, but a reflection of himself. Far from being ‘self centered’, Narcissus was totally unbalanced, gazing at what he thought was his ‘perfect lover’ (in reality his own reflection) in a pond. Not centered in himself at all, Narcissus is pictured gazing hopelessly at his shallow reflection in the outside world.
Longing for this perfect lover doesn’t only apply to people with narcissistic tendencies. Just like Echo in this same myth, people with codependent tendencies also long for their ‘perfect lover’, just as tragically, but in different ways.
Someone with narcissistic tendencies searches for completion in the praise and admiration they can win from others for their own achievements: personal worth and glory they see reflected in the eyes of their admirers. The codependent, on the other hand, seeks their true ‘soul mate’ (who will know all of the codependent’s secret hopes, dreams and fears) but will often feel that this love lies locked behind the defensive walls of an aloof (and perhaps narcissistic) partner. Rather than looking for admiration, the codependent instead searches for the key to the ‘dark well’ their true love (who continues to reject them) has locked his or her heart in – so they can set it free and heal their cruel lover – at last freeing all the love and sympathy they are sure is waiting locked inside.
Both of these ideas of finding true love are equally as flawed and dangerous as each other, and as repeated attempts at finding ‘their perfect love’ in this way fail, both the narcissist and codependent will be likely to begin resorting to fantasy.
Many of us have a little narcissism and codependence within us. We will sometimes vacillate between looking for love in the eyes of an admirer, or in the eyes of someone who will sympathise for us instead.
When neither of these attempts to find love work effectively, the wonderful life we dreamed of for ourselves may begin to slide away into fantasy.
This is the pain of the human condition – We cannot forget the love we crave, but the ways we search for it hurt ourselves along with the people around us, causing chaos, destruction and emotional pain.
So if the ways I have just described don’t work, how will we ever find our dream lover?
The truth is there is only one person who will truly love and care for you in the way that you secretly crave. And I am not talking about a divine or religious identity. Your perfect lover is a real life, living and breathing human being I want to introduce you to right now . . .
I hope this isn’t too disappointing for you, but the rock-solid truth is that only you can be your own perfect lover.
Now perhaps you are thinking “Oh yeah, loving myself and all that New Age rubbish, I have heard all that before.” or “Hey I have worked for years at loving myself, but it’s not the same as what my heart really craves.” Or perhaps you may even think this idea sacrilegious?
If so, keep your mind open for just a moment (minds work better that way!) and give this idea half a chance.
Because what I have described so far was only part of what hit me last year, and these ideas I am sharing are experiential, which (like getting hit by a car) means they are things you must experience to understand.
If you truly want to experience self love and all that goes with it, you cannot just read this article, you will need to do things that may even scare you at first.
Before I get to that however, first I want you to simply imagine exactly how your dream lover would care for you. Even if you are married or in a relationship, give yourself permission to do this and be as detailed as you can. Remember the dreams you once had about your ideal love, the actors and perhaps songs that once evoked a picture of this person.
Maybe you imagined someone who would take care of you by cooking and making a nice home for you? Or someone who would support you emotionally and financially while you changed your occupation or went back to school? Or maybe you imagined someone who would give you the life you always wanted? Someone who was sympathetic to your emotional pain, and understood that you only made the mistakes that you have, because you were hurting, afraid or misunderstood?
Or maybe you imagined someone who would carry you off to live in the neighbourhood or country where you always felt you really belong?
Whatever your fantasy, once you are ready, please stop and write down some notes about the following points (give yourself the gift of a lifetime);
1. The character traits this person displays (such as beauty, strength, or honesty).
2. The ways they would care for you and protect you if they walked into your life as your perfect lover right now.
Make sure that you make notes about this, because I will suggest that these may become a checklist of the most important things you will ever give yourself in your life.
You see most of us have been brought up to believe loving ourselves will make us egotistical or conceited (or even evil) and this has caused us to deny ourselves the most important gift this life will ever offer . . .
The chance to be our own perfect lover.
I learned this the hard way over one Christmas and New Year. With a house full of kids (and their friends) on summer holidays here in Australia, I lost my direction and inner courage to continue giving myself a lot of what I really needed in my life. The first and most important being a quiet place for me to work to be able to financially support my family.
You see, I work from home and back then my daughter shared her large bedroom with me (as my office) and that worked fine when she was at school. It is a big beautiful room and she had a desk and a big art table in it for her use too, but with the kids home from school it just wasn’t working.
So I went into hiding and moved my computer into a corner of our much smaller bedroom and without seeing the ‘loveless’ choices I was making for myself, my anxiety and fear began to grow.
My story is very relevant to what I hope to share with you today, because this journey I am recommending is not easy, and the number one thing you will need to be your own perfect lover is COURAGE.
When I look back at the problems I faced the 3 previous summers, me needing a quiet space to work during summer holidays should have been obvious. But unfortunately this took all my ‘bad old patterns’ coming back, such as putting demands on my family / trying to please them to get them to feel for me / challenging their feelings for me / blame and anger / and even now and then seeking attention and recognition elsewhere.
I am ashamed to say that it even finally took me having a severe anxiety meltdown, before the fact I had things I needed to sort out for myself became clear.
Once I got through this and decided I better start treating myself better, no one in my family really helped me at all (Steve had been overwhelmed with his own workload too) but no one argued or stopped me.
What had happened was no one else’s fault, and the real reason I hadn’t seen the problem sooner was that it involved me doing some things that were new. This was why it had previously been so hard for me to see what was needed. To face my fear and believe in myself enough to look after myself better.
First I told my in-laws, that as soon as we arrived to visit them for 3 weeks on our yearly summer vacation, that before I could do anything I needed to find a room to rent (with internet) for me to work in without being interrupted for the duration of our visit.
While they scratched their heads asking how much that might cost and saying they didn’t know how I would find something like that, I was already out looking at the notice board in the local launderette and was soon on the phone.
I was scared inside about this new thing I was claiming the right to organise for myself, but after my anxiety meltdown, the idea of my own office had, in my minds eye, become a life rope back to peace and sanity.
Because I had never done anything like this when visiting my in-laws, no one really understood or believed it would actually happen. Being my own perfect lover however meant I didn’t need their support, permission or help, instead, even though I felt nervous and scared that someone might try and talk me out of it or judge me for giving so much time and attention to myself, I just did it.
So in less than 48 hours after arriving in Melbourne, and with a little help from Steve, I found myself sitting in a beautiful upstairs room, with trees outside the window and smelling the flowers I had bought for myself.
The room I found to sublet comprised the whole upstairs of a beautiful two story house and had total peace and quiet, with the fastest internet connection I had ever encountered.
And that room didn’t just feel like heaven – in a way I believe it actually was.
Because I believe God wants us to know we are deeply loved and wants us to love and take care of ourselves, from the very inner depths of our own heart.
This is not selfish either, because back home while I forgot to love myself, guess what happened?
I started believing that the love and support I needed was outside of myself and hence I became egotistical and dissatisfied with how my family was treating me. I also became anxious and hard to live with. Once I saw the light however (after my fall) and became my own perfect lover, I could see that what I had organized for myself was not only good for me but was 100% better for my family as well.
Because loving yourself does not make you egotistical and self centered, but rather less demanding and much easier to be around.
So please go back now and have a look at that list you made. Because the truth is that no one is going to give you those things if you don’t start giving them to yourself.
Are there ways you want to live your life differently? Well maybe it is time you start taking responsibility for organising those changes (without demanding too much from anyone else).
Do you long for a lover who is honest, hardworking and sincere? This is a message that you need to begin working on those traits in your own character, and grow stronger so that you can begin to trust yourself.
Will that be easy? No.
Will you get to where you want to be overnight? No.
Will you always get the life you dreamed of or what you want? No. You will often have to make the most loving choices for yourself from what is available. That may sometimes mean needing to choose to be by yourself, or to spend some quiet time contemplating nature, or even to go hungry if the food available is not a loving choice for yourself.
Will other people help you? Not if you make your needs optional or ask permission for what you need. We all need some support from others, but you need to keep your requests direct and simple and be ready to accept a “no” if the person you ask can’t help.
Will it be worth the fear and discomfort you will feel when leaving your comfort zone? Undoubtably the answer is yes!
Being your own perfect lover means working to give yourself what you need, regardless of what anyone else thinks. It means finding courage to claim the freedom to live your life the way that you need to, while demanding as little as possible (particularly emotionally) from anyone else.
Because self worth is experiencing and giving yourself love, not just talking or thinking about it.
And my story doesn’t finish there, because once finding my dream lover, I discovered this . . .
Because if I am to be my own dream lover, what could possibly be more valuable to me than myself?
For the first time in my life I experienced that what was inside of my chest was worth more than all of the gold or riches in the world, and this same moment I suddenly saw and experienced two things; The first was a realisation that what Narcissus longed for was not the image he saw in the cold water of his reflection, but rather to feel his self worth inside his own warm and living chest.
It was like I was Narcissus- I felt the cold hard reflection disappear and my real self come alive, and my heart expand with joy at discovering the warmth, love and reality of cherishing and valuing myself.
Narcissus’ shame was not to love himself, but to foolishly look for that love anywhere but inside himself.
The next thing I felt was all of the anxious memories that had too often defined my life, began falling away like old leaves.
This was no day dream or wishful thinking either, and I will tell you exactly why . . .
Because true love is a verb.
Giving yourself the things that your heart truly longs for (like the quiet office I had given myself) is not wishful . . . it is about doing and will take courage, determination and hard work!
At first you will say; “But I can’t afford the life that I want,” or, “My partner won’t let me do that,” or if you are more honest perhaps, “But I feel nervous because this is all new and I am afraid.”
It takes courage and strength to love yourself, and giving yourself a new and kinder life than you have in the past may be harder than you realize at first . . . but if you don’t have the courage to learn to love and respect yourself, who else will?
Loving yourself is also tough because it means giving up all your old bad habits, such as the junk food, drugs and stimulants you rely on to make yourself feel better about denying yourself the life you truly long to be living. Or your addiction to fantasy with soap operas, pornography, romance novels, music, movies, magazines, computer games or TV. Or your reliance on blame. Or always feeling you need things from others (that you won’t even give yourself) because you don’t have the courage to take some risks, step out of your comfort zone, and start taking the steps necessary to create the life that would express who you truly are.
Well you can cringe and beat yourself up about your bad habits if you want, but I am telling you now that you will never get rid of them until you replace them with something new and filled with more love for yourself.
For instance, if you are a drinker and you try to stop drinking without first finding some new pastimes, which you enjoy and that are more loving towards yourself, what do you think will happen?
From experience I can tell you that it will only be a matter of time before you are back filling your spare time in with drinking. Because it is a habit and what feels natural to relieve your stress and anxiety, even though it actually creates more stress and anxiety for yourself.
Further from this, I want to be straight with you and let you know that the things I recommend in my ebooks are not what will bring heaven into your life. My ebooks simply offer new ideas of how to live a life of self respect, replacing some of your old habits and responses that are no longer working for you (or perhaps never did but you learned simply from bad example) with better ones.
What will bring heaven into your life is you facing your fear, deciding to become your own dream lover, and finding the courage to form new habits of loving and supporting yourself as you want to be loved.
If you are truly working at change, these new ideas will feel strange and scary at first and some may indeed be challenging, but most of the time it will simply be because these ideas and suggestions will be new.
For instance, if you have never made an online purchase, purchased an ebook, or read a self-help book . . . even deciding to get started on this may be something that feels foreign and a bit scary, and that fear is completely normal.
But if you are to grow as a person, and move towards a better life full of love, avoiding the anxiety trying new things causes and saying “Don’t worry just be happy” is never going to cut it.
I have written 5 ebooks now. The first, Back from the Looking Glass (now in it’s 12th edition), shares how I turned around a marriage filled with humiliation, emotional and physical abuse. However, while I was working through the steps I offer, I was so scared that a lot of the time I felt like throwing up!
And that’s the catch 22. If your new ideas are not putting you far enough out of your comfort zone to feel some distress, you are probably not genuinely growing. The things you are doing to improve your situation are probably not going to work.
Just like exercise, where they say no pain no gain!
Whoever would have guessed that truly loving yourself would require so much strength!
So, here’s to you experiencing your own self worth, and learning what it means to truly love yourself.
PS. If you want something special and meaningful to give yourself, please check out The Little Book of Empathy Love and Friendship. Presented in the easy to read style of a magazine; it outlines concepts of being lovingly accepted in your home and community. It’s a great choice as a gift for you, your partner, or for a teenage child needing emotional support.