Are you longing to be in a loving, joyous, and healthy intimate relationship?
You are not alone—for most people, the companionship, vulnerability, and Eros make being in a romantic relationship such a worthwhile pursuit.
The goal of life is for consciousness to experience itself. Intimate relationships offer the perfect opportunity for this. If you have been in one, you will attest that you have learned the most about yourself from your romantic relationships.
That being said, to enjoy loving relationships, you have to start with the relationship you have with yourself. And for that, you have to do the inner work. Are you in a loving relationship with yourself?
What is Inner Work?
Inner work is the practice of shining awareness onto our inner world, which consists of our feelings, beliefs, conscious, subconscious, and unconscious thoughts to understand and heal ourselves.
Doing inner work is simply about stepping into your power and no longer playing the victim. This kind of intentional self-exploration is instrumental in helping you identify and overcome limiting beliefs, self-sabotage, self-destruction, and negative patterns.
Noble as it may seem and necessary as it is, inner self-exploration can be a treacherous journey of recollecting painful memories, facing hard truths, and forgiveness of self and others. One of the biggest obstacles in the journey of inner work is limiting beliefs, and of course, ego.
When you set off on the path of self-exploration, you will have to confront painful truths such as your outer reality is a reflection of your inner state.
This is a fundamental principle of the law of mirroring. If you are thriving outwardly and feeling at peace with life, your inner world is in alignment with all there is. On the other hand, if you are finding yourself in less than desirable circumstances, it is also an indictment of your inner feelings, thoughts, and beliefs. You are responsible for the pictures that make up your reality.
The Law of Mirroring
Are you finding yourself in the same relationship pattern over and over?
- You keep ending up with drama-addicted bad boys
- There is always the ‘other woman’ or ‘other man’ in your relationships
- You are always drawn to emotionally unavailable men or women
- It is common for you to get attached to seemingly great partners who later become abusive
Here’s a hard truth: You are responsible for these people and circumstances showing up in your life. This does not mean you are a terrible person; or that you deserve for bad things to happen to you, or that you are being punished.
The law of mirroring is at work here. The law, which is one among the 12 universal laws, proposes that our outer reality is a reflection of our inner state. Reality is a mirror that reflects our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions.
If you keep finding yourself in relationships with emotionally unavailable people, this is a sign that parts of you are withholding affection too or parts of you believe you are unworthy of emotional affection and attention.
Stop Attracting The Emotionally Unavailable
You will continue to attract emotionally unavailable partners until you do the inner work necessary to release the limiting belief about your unworthiness and to heal those parts of you that have held on to and perpetuated these beliefs.
Most of us would rather not face the truth that we are responsible for everything we are attracting. We’d rather assign the blame to someone else—that bad boy and his upbringing, that cheating husband who just couldn’t appreciate you, that emotionally unavailable girlfriend who put you through hell. We do not want to acknowledge that we attracted these people into our life.
Doing inner work is not an option if you want to break negative patterns in your relationships and other aspects of life. Unraveling painful truths is empowering—it puts you in the driver’s seat. You relinquish the role of the victim and adopt the role of a self-aware being who is in control of her life. Indeed, if you are responsible for attracting toxic partners, then you are also capable of attracting loving, healthy partners.
Inner work shines the light of awareness on those inner blocks that are lurking in the deepest and darkest parts of us. The reason we may find ourselves in the same life circumstances over and over is that we are entirely unaware of what is going on. Intentional self-exploration allows us to change our outer reality by addressing our inner world.
Addressing Your Inner Blocks
Take a look at those areas in your life where you are producing results you do not want—that is where your limiting beliefs or inner blocks are hiding.
Inner blocks are beliefs about yourself, others, and life that are not only untrue, but that also doesn’t serve your highest good. They are also known as limiting beliefs because they are obstacles to your evolution, transformation, healing, and forward progress.
We acquire limiting beliefs in our childhood and adulthood as well. The genesis of our limiting beliefs, however, is our childhood. Intentionally or unintentionally, our parents, guardians, and society as a whole conditioned our impressionable minds to make sense of the world in a certain way. Some of this conditioning is faulty and causes us to be stuck in beliefs, perceptions, feelings, and thought processes that sabotage us every step of the way.
Our experiences as adults are primarily a reflection of the beliefs we picked up as children and still hang on to. As we move through life, we pick up more beliefs that mostly cement those that we acquired in childhood and are already etched in our subconscious. In short, our inner beliefs guide and influence the physical, outward outcomes of our lives
Unfortunately, most of us go through life without acknowledging or even knowing about our limiting beliefs. For this reason, we end up getting caught up in the same patterns, we keep making the same mistakes, and reliving the same vicious cycle without really understanding what is going on.
Doing inner work enables you to begin unearthing your limiting beliefs and the inner child that holds onto these beliefs.
Paths to Inner Work
There is no one way to do inner work. We all take different approaches toward healing and transformation, and that is the beauty of it all. Another essential truth is that inner work is an ongoing process; there is no finish line. The more you discover, the more there is to discover. As you proceed, you will uncover layer after layer after layer of yourself.
To get started, try impactful yet straightforward paths to intentional self-exploration.
Mirror work is a simple, potentially challenging, but wholly worthwhile practice. Self-love is the objective of this practice. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important relationship; it influences, in a big way, all the other relationships you have with others, especially intimate relationships.
Arrogant selfishness or narcissistic individualism isn’t what self-love is about. Instead, it is about feeling and knowing that you are worthy. It is about radical self-acceptance, where you accept everything about yourself, lovingly, compassionately, and non-judgmentally.
The foundation of Mirror Work is, obviously, the law of mirroring. According to Louise Hay, the originator of this practice, looking at yourself in the mirror reflects your thoughts and feelings about yourself. It makes you aware of the thoughts that need shifting for you to enjoy a fulfilling life, which includes excellent intimate relationships.
All you need to get started with Mirror Work is a mirror, notebook, and willingness to do the work.
Steps to Take:
- Stand or sit in front of a mirror. Look at yourself. Do not worry if you feel uneasy, embarrassed, or even disgusted. Just hold the gaze.
- Feel all the emotions that come up as you gaze at yourself in the mirror. Ideally, you should perform this practice for 10 minutes every day, if possible.
- Say positive affirmations as you continue to look at yourself. Positive affirmations replace negative thoughts. Customize your affirmations and recite at least five of them to yourself with feeling. Examples of positive affirmations are:
- I love myself
- My body is perfect
- I am worthy
- My beauty attracts all
- I am enough
- My intelligence serves me well
- I believe in myself
- Comfort your inner child. As you say these affirmations, a lot of emotions might come up that might even prevent you from going on with this exercise. This is because mirror work not only helps you to develop self-love; it may also bring up painful childhood memories. Do not feel embarrassed or pained by these emotions—your inner child is looking to heal. Comfort him/her with sweet words such as ‘It is OK to feel sad’, ‘I accept you’ ‘I am here to take care of you’ ‘I see you and hear you’ ‘You are not alone.’
- Keep a journal. While you do not have to write in it every day, you must record your experiences, feelings, and thoughts as you do Mirror Work. Journaling is an excellent tool for self-exploration and self-discovery, and this is what inner work is all about.
Inner Child Work
If Mirror Work is about building the spiritual and mental muscles for self-love, Inner Child Work is about discovering your core beliefs, wounds, and traumas. Self-love is a prerequisite for manifesting loving, healthy relationships with others. Getting in touch with your inner child allows you to recognize and break unhealthy patterns that have been keeping you in less than ideal relationships.
All of us have a wounded inner child. The extent of woundedness might vary, but it is there. Your inner child is a representation of your original physical self. It is the self that espouses innocence, playfulness, and a sense of wonder. This vulnerable self can easily be wounded even by seemingly innocuous actions such as having your toys taken away from you as a child to significantly traumatic events such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.
These wounds, if not addressed, can be a source of all sorts of pain and dysfunction. In the context of relationships, your wounded inner child will tend to bring baggage in the form of jealousy, anger, irrational fears, obsession, self-destruction, and self-sabotage. On the other hand, healing your inner child can be a source of playfulness, joy, creativity, and love in your intimate relationships.
Heal Your Inner Child
There are many ways to heal your inner child. Here are some techniques you can try. It is best to set aside a good chunk of time to do this type of inner work.
- Look back at your childhood. What memories do you have of this period? Note down these memories as they come, even those that seem silly. As you recall your experiences, try to remember how these experiences made you feel.
- Affirm your inner child. You can do this by writing a loving letter to him/her or saying positive affirmations to help them feel loved, seen, and supported. Examples of loving statements you can speak to your inner child are:
- I am so glad you are here
- You should know I am sorry
- I forgive you
- My love for you is unlimited
- I see you and hear you
- You can feel safe with me
- I accept you
Affirm your inner child as often as possible. You can say these affirmations as you go on with your day-to-day activities.
- Uncover limiting beliefs acquired from childhood. In the context of relationships, write down what your perceptions and beliefs are about men, women, and love. Be honest with yourself—this exercise will show you why you experience specific relationship patterns and what you need to work on to attract and enjoy fulfilling relationships.
- Release limiting beliefs. Now that you know that certain beliefs are no longer serving you, does it make sense to hold on to them? Indeed, it is time to release and replace them with ones that align with what you want. For example, in place of ‘Men only want women for sex’ you could affirm ‘Now that I have been in an unhealthy relationship, I know what to look for in an ideal partner.’
Self-discovery or inner work is some of the most critical actions you will ever do. Unearthing your shadow self, tapping into your inner child, and practicing self-love can be a challenging journey. It can open old wounds. But the rewards—self-acceptance, peace of mind, joyfulness, love, creativity, a sense of wonder, alignment—is well worth it. You will see.