After all the hours of therapy and self-help, self-discoveries, self-realizations, and self-improvements I’ve made, I just identified yet another layer of unresolved issues that I need to deal with. Can you relate?

When will we finally be done evolving and growing into the person who we want to be and arrive “there”—at the life we always wanted?

My personal journey from being a self-hater to a self-lover started at age 23. I had a few unforeseen stops and detours along the way, as most of us do. I zigzagged from a failed marriage to the role of sole provider for my micro family of two with a business that demanded most of my attention, to dealing with the guilt of raising my daughter knowing she couldn’t always be my priority. Perhaps you can relate to some of these pressures and know what it’s like to juggle wants, demands, and disappointments while trying to make it all come together until you are “there.”

What became clear to me in the self-analysis process is that no matter how busy we are, (or how busy we make ourselves,) our internal work is as important as our external work. In other words, we need to examine our conscious and sub-conscious thoughts because they influence our actions and determine our realities.

Every person has emotional “stuff” to deal with. Maybe your Dad was never home or you grew up without one. Or you were an only child or were ignored as one of too many. Perhaps your parents were overwhelmed and made mistakes. Or as in my case, you have mother issues to deal with. When we think about our “stuff” at this high level, it sounds complicated and it can make us feel broken. Our emotional baggage holds us back from finding self-acceptance and prevents us from attracting happiness to our lives.

The most difficult thing in life is to open up to someone on a deep level and allow him or her to see all the skeletons in the closets of our minds and the scars on our hearts. No matter how great our lives look from the outside, we remain lonely inside if we can’t emotionally connect with another person. All our accomplishments mean little when we celebrate alone. As a result, sometimes we settle for less than the person we really want and deserve.

Why do we continue in a relationship with someone whom we are not completely and deeply connected with, while telling ourselves good enough is good enough?

The reasons are entrenched in our pasts. We have opened ourselves up before and made room for that kind of connection, but it failed. We don’t want to be hurt again. We don’t want to try anymore. It’s easier to settle with what we have.

Can we connect with friends, family, and especially with that one special person on a superficial level and still be satisfied with the quality of the relationship?

We all have done it to some extent.

My self-discovery for today is the realization that this is precisely what I’ve done throughout the last decade. I chose partners with whom I cannot connect on that deep level because it’s easier for me to be in control of the relationship and decide just how much of myself I want to reveal. And when it fails (surprise— it inevitably does), the pain is easier for me to manage.

A phone call with a friend exposed this sobering realization. He explained there has to be an expression of release to get past harmful behaviors and shift the energy. My friend suggested I approach my issue with these 3 steps to break negative patterns:

  1. Identify your issue
    What is the pattern?

  2. Recognize it
    What/who has this behavior affected? What problems has it caused?

  3. Express the release
    What are you going to do to get past it? How will you do it?

What about you? Are you like me and you know deep down what the issue is and are clear about its origin, but you still feel stuck unable to release it? Let’s support each other gently throughout our growing pains.

Please share with me how you will express your release—I am still searching for my way. My thoughts are a little heavy today, I know, but some days are just like that. It’s all part of the self-growth process.

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