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Canít Compete with Love
by Alan Cohen
At a seminar I presented in Greece, a woman named Georgia
reported that she had been married to a man who was emotionally absent. After
long and frustrating attempts to infuse life into her ailing marriage, Georgia
felt she needed to leave. "I told my husband I wanted a divorce, but he
refused to give it to me," she recounted. "So I decided that even if
he didnít love me, I would love me. I decided that I would give
myself the love and kindness I had been seeking from him. So every day I wrote
myself a long love letter telling myself how beautiful, wonderful, and desirable
"Then one day my husband found one of these letters. Since
it was unsigned, he assumed it was from another man. He came to me waving the
letter in his hand and told me, ĎI canít compete with this ó you can have
Everyone and everything that shows up in our life is a
reflection of something that is happening inside of us. All events and
experiences in our field of awareness represent the outpicturing of a feeling,
belief, or attitude we are holding. Thus we can use every event as a barometer
of where we are on our path. "We think in secret and it comes to
pass; environment is but a looking glass."
This universal Law of Attraction means that we "hire"
everyone in our play to act out the script we have written. This is why we
experience repetitious patterns in relationship, work, or health; different
actors are showing up to play out the same role. Eventually we recognize that it
cannot be an accident that the same type of people keep doing the same things;
it is we who have drawn them according to the signals we are
radioing to central casting.
The good news about the Law of Attraction is that the moment we
change our mind, heart, or attitude, the outer world must reflect it, often immediately.
In Georgiaís case, she was holding an unconscious attitude that she was
unlovable and did not deserve a husband who was present and attentive. As soon
she grew beyond that limiting belief, released her husband from the onus of her
emptiness, and gave herself the love she sought, he had no choice but to match
it or leave. I have every reason to expect that Georgiaís next relationship
was a vast improvement.
We can save ourselves all kinds of pain, and escape the struggle
of endless manipulation, by determining what we would like to receive from other
people, and then giving it to ourselves. This all-important shift can be difficult
in a world where we are daily bombarded with the notion that we are empty and
needy, and everything we want and need is "out there". Out there in a romantic
partner; a hit record; a new car; a more prestigious job; a better house. The
funny thing about getting things from out there is that if you did not know you
were whole before you got the thing, you will not become whole when you get it;
in fact you will feel even more empty and confused. As Buddha asked, "If
you do not get it from yourself, where will you go for it?"
Cool Runnings is a delightful (based on true) story
of a group of young Jamaican men who decide they will enter the bobsled
competition in the winter Olympics. The team faces and overcomes tremendous odds
to make it to the competition. The night before the big race, one of the team
members confides to the coach that he will feel like a failure if he returns
home without a medal. The coach has some good advice for this fellow: "If
you do not know that you are good enough without the medal, you will not be good
enough with the medal."
February is the month of lovers. All of us truly want to be in
love, for love is our natural state ó literally who we are. The question is
not, "Should we love?" but "Where will we find the love we
desire?" If we decide that another person is the source of our love, we set
ourself up for a roller coaster ride of heady ecstasy followed by painful
frustration. Sometimes our partner will do things that make us feel loved, and
sometimes he or she will do things that make us feel unloved. But as long as
anything she or he does can make us feel one way or another, we have set
ourselves up for a fall; we have given our power away in a most unkind (to
ourselves) way, and we become little more than a yo-yo on the string of life.
There is another way to love, far more magnificent, real, and
rewarding. This way finds the source of our love, power, and life within
us. This way teaches that our purpose is not to import love, but to express
it. Instead of being a love seeker, we become a love finder. We do not wait for
love ó we generate it. Then we get to bask in the warmth of our
own beauty any time we choose, potentially all the time.
D.H. Lawrence elucidated this principle most eloquently:
Those who go searching for love only find their own
lovelessness. But the loveless never find love; only the loving find love, and
they never have to search for it.
Recommended book by
"Happily Even After: Can You Be Friends After Lovers"
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