Falling In Love?
You’re singing as you wash the dishes. You strike up an overly-friendly conversation with the checkout assistant at the grocery store. ‘You’re chirpy’, your colleague comments with a raised eyebrow. You turn up that corny Backstreet Boys song playing on the radio, and the butterflies in your stomach flutter along to the beat.
Then you realize.
You’re falling in love.
And that’s great. Nurturing your love life and connecting with others romantically provides some of the deepest, richest human experiences out there. And best of all, nobody is exempt. It’s available for everyone, and most of us–at some point–have the pleasure of loving and being loved in return.
But before you open up the newest edition of World Bride Magazine, co-founder of Mindvalley Kristina Mänd Lakhiani urges you to ask yourself these four important questions first.
‘From experience – it’s the only way to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success’, assures Kristina.
1. Are You Willing To Take Off The Mask?
We’re born without them, but in time we all learn to wear masks.
Politeness. Perfection. Civility. A calm disposition. The ‘Good Girl’. The ‘Man’s Man’.
Society assures us that if we have a wide enough collection of them, we’re sure to please. And if we’re sure to please, we’re sure to be loved and taken care of in every way we need.
Sometimes masks are useful and appropriate. The problem arises, however, when we forget to take them off.
Although our very biology begs us to blend in and never get rejected by the tribe (which in our primal days meant certain death), if we don’t learn to embrace our true selves, we’re doomed for shallow relationships.
‘A mask is what stands between us and a strong human connection,’ says Kristina, ‘and our happiness in general.’
Authenticity isn’t just a buzz word – it’s a prerequisite to deep, meaningful romance.
So don’t be scared to be open and imperfect. Give your partner a chance to fall head over heels with the real YOU.
2. Are You Willing To Fall In Love With Yourself?
Once you’ve taken off your mask, the real work begins.
Can you honestly say that no matter what you’ve seen beneath it, you’re open to loving yourself…warts and all?
Oscar Wilde once famously stated that ‘to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance’, and we agree. At the end of the day, partners, friends and even family can be in our lives one moment, and gone the next. You’ll be in your relationship with yourself until the day you die…so that’s the one worth working on first.
It also makes sense that before you can truly, madly and deeply love anyone else, you must embark on a journey of self-discovery and learn to love the full spectrum of yourself.
After all, it’s the scaffolding of self-love that holds up the very foundations of any serious romantic relationship.
3. Are You Willing To Accept Them As They Are?
Kristina believes that the first rule of personal growth is that you can only ever transform yourself – and you will only ever be responsible for your own reality.
‘In a relationship, we always think we can make the other person a little better – that they can learn something from us. But sooner or later you’ll realize that you can’t ever ‘change’ them. You can only adjust your behaviour to them, and them to yours.’
Nobody can grow for you, and you can’t grow for anyone else.
Your feelings about your partner are your responsibility, not theirs. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have healthy boundaries, (or that you should stay with an abusive partner for example), but just be aware that lasting change within your partner must be inspired and birthed from the same place…within them!
So when choosing a partner, ensure that your ego isn’t designing a ‘spouse improvement project’ from the get-go. Because unfortunately, those projects fail every time.
4. Are You Willing To Hurt Them?
This may seem like a surprising, slightly sadistic question.
But according to Kristina, in order to maintain a healthy, authentic connection with another, you must put yourself first. And sometimes, that leads to loved-ones getting hurt.
Born and raised in the Soviet Union, Kristina wasn’t exactly encouraged to be an individual.
‘We had a system, you see, and the system tells you what to do, how to please people and how to be successful.’ Kristina had a bad case of the ‘Hermione Granger Syndrome’ – as a budding perfectionist she studied hard from the tender age of seven, went on to land a world-class degree, traveled, got a high-flying job, met Mr. Right, got married, and had two children.
She had it made. By the age of forty, she had the ‘Perfect Life’.
‘But my mask of perfection didn’t have space for ‘messed-up me’.’
Despite all of her accomplishments, despite all the boxes ticked, Kristina was miserable. ‘I’d lock myself in the bathroom to cry, feeling like a bad wife and a bad mum…feeling like I’d lost my true self in all of this.’ Terrified of hurting her loved-ones by expressing how she felt and what she truly dreamed of for her life, she kept her pain to herself for a long time.
We tend to think that if we sacrifice our own happiness the people around will be happier – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
‘Guess what happens when we try and wrap our loved-ones in cotton wool to protect them from life’s hardest lessons? They’ll get them anyway.’ Kristina states.
After realizing this, she was faced with a choice: to compromise on what was important to her (so her loved ones didn’t feel hurt), or to stay true to herself (and potentially witness her loved-ones in pain).
‘I was done feeling guilty and ashamed for who I am, so after a few months of turmoil, Vishen and I decided to Consciously Uncouple. I allowed my Disney Castle to fall to the ground, but I was left with the pieces. Now I’m free to build something different, and I don’t have to pretend anymore. I can finally be myself.’
At some point, you may have to hurt your partner in the name of following your heart and being your true self.
If you’re brave enough to do so, if you’re courageous enough to be true, that makes you a sovereign being.
And if we want real, long-lasting love, that’s what we’ve all got to be.
Loving & Living By Your Own Rules
We all have the tendency to follow the paths of those who have gone before us – the tried and tested blueprints of how to live and love ‘properly’. But this is a surefire way of missing out on the pure potential magic of your own unique life as a sovereign being.
There is so much joy and fulfillment to be found in experiencing life your way.
That’s why Kristina created a FREE Masterclass named ‘Live By Your Own Rules’ to support you in creating the authentic, extraordinary, conscious life you deserve, your way.
If you’re ready to explore the practical daily habits and empowering beliefs that lead you towards deep self-love and authentic self-expression, click the link below to join us.