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You Have Impossible Dreams? Find Out About Four Secrets to Realize Them!

You Have Impossible Dreams? Find Out About Four Secrets to Realize Them!

Beginning of 2013, I decided to realise an impossible dream. I set my intention to write my first book. Today, the manuscript is finalized, and the book will be published within the next couple of months. When I started this project, I was full of doubts and worries. Am I good enough as a writer? Will I be ever able to finish it? I had no idea what steps were necessary to publish a book, yet I kept moving forward, one tiny step after the other, embracing fears, doubts and worries as part of the process. Now, I know that everything will work out great.

I am sure that you also have impossible dreams, maybe they seem too big or unreachable. Perhaps a loving and intimate relationship? Or a new step in your career? Or the one-year sabbatical and the trip around the world? Maybe a move to another country or continent? It does not matter what your specific dream is and whether you believe that it is possible or not. If you can dream it, you can also achieve it. Dreams come to you because they are possible for you.

Here are four secrets that will support you in realizing your dreams:

Take small steps.

If you want to realize your dream, take one small step at a time. It does not matter how small it seems. Get rid of the expectations by when you want to achieve it – if you make it in 2014 it is great and also if you realize it within the next couple of years. Some projects are just so big that they need more than one year to be created. It is not about when you achieve it but that you achieve it.
You can start with visualizations and affirmations. When I decided to write a book, I saw the published book in my hands in my inner eye, and I said to myself each day positive affirmations like “I am a good writer”, “I can achieve everything I set my mind to”. I also put a collage at my wall that showed my written book. Visualizations and affirmations are powerful and magical allies in achieving our dreams, and they are the smallest step you can take to begin with.

Surround yourself with supportive people.

I learned that the people I am with have a major influence on my capabilities, this can be supportive for my dream or blocking it. It was a painful but precious experience. Now, I choose to relate with people who are supportive of my objectives and reduce contact with people who drag me down because it will not help me to achieve my goal.
To create your dream, surround yourself with people who believe that you can do it and avoid those who are negative and sceptical, e.g. if you want to open your heart and find true love, surround yourself with people who believe that this is possible and avoid people who are afraid to open their heart again and talk in a negative way about finding true love. Another way is that you look for positive role models, for people who have already achieved what you want to realize and learn from their experience. The more supportive your environment is, the easier it will be for you to move forward in realizing your dreams.

Ask for help.

When I started to write my book, I had no idea about the process, so I read books about it, then I participated in a program that supported me in writing and publishing the book, and I asked experts for help in specific areas where I needed support. It does not matter what my dream was, I experienced that asking for support can be the most powerful thing for me to do.

Sometimes, you may have no idea how you can achieve your dream and perhaps it had not worked out before. Maybe you already had several failed relationships and now want to create a loving and intimate relationship. If something does not work out in the first few tries, don’t give up! Don’t be afraid and don’t be shy, ask for help by an expert. This is not a sign of failure but of strength, and it can be a powerful and wise step that supports you in accomplishing your goals.

Stay positive.

While writing my book, there were moments when I felt overwhelmed, stuck, full of fear and panic that I will never make it. In these moments, I took a break, maybe for some hours, sometimes for some days. I spent some time in nature, or I had a coffee in a nice café, trusting that a solution would show up. One time, I felt so desperate that I prayed for a miracle. The next day, I received it.

If you want to achieve an important goal, it is likely that there will be moments when you feel overwhelmed and stuck, full of worries and doubts, or maybe paralyzed with fear. In these moments, the best thing you can do is to take a break. Don’t give up on your goal, but spend some time without working on it and relax. Change your focus and become aware of where you are right now and what you already have accomplished. Get rid of your expectations about where you should be and how it should be. The important thing is that you already have moved forward.
Praying can also be a powerful way to stay positive in times of fears and doubts. Pray for solutions, pray for support and I assure you that it will come. These moments of doubts will pass by as the clouds in the sky and when they have gone you have taken another important step to realize your dream.

It does not matter where you are right now – you can realize even your biggest dream! Nothing is impossible. Have patience and trust, and never give up. This way, you will realize your biggest dream.

What are your biggest dreams?

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post In Wholeness, We Meet.

Why Does The Heart Go Through So Much Heartbreak?

Some weeks ago, a client asked me this question: Why does the heart go through so much trauma and heartbreak?

It remembered me of the times when I asked this question myself. My heart had experienced heartbreak, hurt and pain, and this question made me feel hopeless and deeply frustrated in the past. I did not see a feasible way to get out of this pain, and it accompanied me for many years, even though in different forms. In my childhood, my family relationships were full of suffering and, as an adult, my romantic relationships seemed to be a repetition of, at least, part of the hurt and pain. I asked myself, Why does the heart go through so much suffering? many times, but it did not lead to a solution. One day, I saw that I was asking the wrong question, and I started to ask myself, What can I do so that I can let go of trauma, shock, hurt and pain so that I will attract a healthy relationship? And suddenly, I saw new perspectives, and I found out that I had the power to heal my heart and get out of this painful circle.

Here are my recommendations so that you can let go of pain, trauma, shock and suffering and create a healthy relationship:

Connect to your dreams.

Most everyone wants a healthy, depth-of-their-heart true love relationship. Yet, many of us have deep wounds that need to be healed to experience this. Use the power of your dreams to motivate you to heal yourself and your heart so that you can attract the relationship you want. You deserve a healthy relationship, and you have the power to create it. See your past pain and suffering as a blessing because it showed you all that you do not want and transform it into joy and happiness by defining what you really want. It does not matter what happened in your past, you can now create the relationship you really want. Imagine how would be your life in a healthy, depth-of-your heart true love relationship? Imagine how would you feel if you really have attracted it? Never give up on your dream and use its power to motivate you on your healing journey.

Create a loving relationship with yourself
.

Learn to love, honor and respect yourself. This way, you will develop a healthy self-esteem, which is vital to a healthy relationship. Loving yourself is an inner process. It allows you to be authentic and speak your truth, to say “no” when you want to say “no” and to leave a relationship that violates your boundaries. It also supports you to enjoy life as a single person until the intimate love relationship that you desire becomes real. Be loving with yourself because the relationship with yourself is the most important one you will have in your life and the way you treat yourself can influence the way how your partner treats you.

Become a complete person.

Heal your childhood wounds and other negative experiences of your past and become complete. Learn to be aware of your needs and start to fulfill them by yourself. You are now an adult and able to fulfill your needs by yourself. This means that you are independent, and you can consciously choose the relationships that you want to have. And it empowers you to decline relationships that produce suffering. You may not be able to avoid short-term pain but you protect yourself from further long-term suffering.

Learn about new realities.

Your reality is shaped by your experiences. What type of relationships did you experience as a child? I only had painful experiences, and I thought that all relationships were struggle and suffering. As an adult, I learned that there are other realities. Healthy relationships do exist and creating them isn’t a mystery. Behaviors and attitudes that nourish a positive, joyful relationship can be learned. Look for positive relationships in your family or in your circle of friends. Look for stories about positive role models and create your picture of a healthy relationship and say no to relationships that do not comply with your picture.

Always remember that you are the most important person in your life, and you deserve to be loved, honored and respected, by yourself and your partner. If you have a loving relationship with yourself, this will protect you from staying in relationships that produce continuous suffering and it will give you the strength to leave these relationships. This way, you open the door so that better opportunities can arrive.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you know your worth?

Can She Really Make It?

Once upon a time, there was a little cat who travelled around the world. She had sparkling eyes and was full of positive energy. She stayed in amazing countries, made new friends, and her dream was to help others from the depth of her heart. After years of travelling, she came back home and stayed with the other cats of her tribe, still inspired by the many cultures she got to know and the many languages she spoke. She wanted to share her wisdom.

One day, she received the opportunity to talk in front of hundreds of other cats and to help them. She was thrilled, yet also fearful. Would I be able to make it well? Will I be really able to help others? What if I fail? were the doubtful thoughts that ran in her head. Insecure about her capabilities, she asked her aunt for advice. Her aunt was a huge gray cat that was always a bit discontent about her own life, but did not want to change anything. When the little cat came to her, she sat majestically in her padded chair. The little cat asked her, “Dear aunt, I have a question. I received an offer to hold a speech in front of hundreds of cats. Do you think that I will be able to do this?” Her aunt looked at her, disapprovingly and thought, she has not deserved this opportunity; I never have received an opportunity like this, while she said aloud: “Well, I don’t think that you will be able to make it. I don’t see you as a public speaker.” The little cat’s smile disappeared and all her courage went away. How should I be able to do it if my aunt does not believe in me? I should give up. With her head down, she left her aunt and wondered through the streets without destination. She looked around, and saw some kitten playing. As always, they beckoned her over, but she just shrug her head from one side to the other. She wasn’t in the mood to play because she was too disappointed. She felt worthless, just like being nothing. During the next days, she withdrew more and more from her friends and family. She looked around and everything had changed. The leaves of the trees had lost their fresh green and the flowers their colors, everything was gray. She was convinced that she could never realize her dream.

One afternoon, she wondered around and sat down under a majestic old tree with huge branches and roots to take a rest. Suddenly, there was a bright rainbow colored fairy in front of her face. She asked the little cat, “Why are you so sad?” The little cat told her the story. The fairy listened to her mindfully. When the little cat had finished, she said: “This comment wasn’t fair. You have so much light and love to give. Forget about what others say about you, believe in you. Don’t worry, you will do it well and you will make it better each day. Speak from the heart, be who you are.” The little cat was still disbelieving, “But my aunt said that I would not be able to do it. She knows me well.” And the fairy continued, “Never let other people define what you are capable of doing. It is normal to have fear if you start a new adventure. Don’t allow your fears to guide you. If the universe offers you an opportunity like this, you are perfectly well prepared for it. Just take the first step, and you’ll find your way. Each time, you will make it better. And always remember, if you need help, I’ll always sit at your shoulder.” And she softly touched the little cat on her left shoulder and disappeared. The little cat decided to give it a try. She had nothing to lose, but all to win.

One week later, she went on the stage and walked towards the speaker’s desk. She could hardly breathe. Then, she looked up and saw into the eyes of hundreds of cats. Oh, my god, I’ll never make this. What will they think about me? Her hands started to shake. “Don’t worry about what they think about you. Believe in you. Just tell your story.” The fairy whispered into her ear. The little cat took a deep breath and started. She could hear her voice trembling. No, I won’t give up; I have something valuable to share, she told herself silently, and she continued. Suddenly, she had forgotten about the other cats and just told her story as she always wanted to tell it. When she had finished, she didn’t dare to look up. She had given her best, but was it good enough?

There was silence in the room. Then, she heard a voice from the back, “Thank you”, and another “Thank you” from the front row, suddenly, many “Thank you”  echoed in the room. She looked up and saw that the other cats were standing and applauding her. She had tears in her eyes and did not know what to do. Then she saw the little fairy sitting at a lamp by her left side. She had a big smile on her face and made little jumps out of joy. The little cat smiled at her and said, “Thank you. Without you, I never would have made it.” The fairy twinkled, “That’s why I am here.”

That day, the little cat started to believe in herself, and she knew that the little fairy would help her whenever she had doubts.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you have impossible dreams? Find out how to realize them.

What if Your Relationships are Complex…?

Complex Relationships

Do you sometimes spend hours thinking about how your partner might react before you do something? Or do you create scenarios in your mind about what your partner might think or feel?

Just a while ago, I sat in a lovely restaurant with my friend who had recently fallen in love. I listened to her discourse about how her partner might react if she’d would do this or that. Her explanation about his world was full of doubts and worries, possibilities, twists and turns. Silently, I wondered how she could know his feelings, thoughts and needs without ever having asked him. Half an hour later, there was still no conclusion what she should do and I asked her, What do you really want to do? Her answer came quickly and was simple, I want to call him. Suddenly, everything was clear.

In the past, I spent hours thinking about the reactions of my partner before I decided what to do, or I created my own interpretations why he reacted in a specific way, and I never checked with him whether it was really like this or not. Since he meant a lot to me, I wanted to do it “right” but my relationship became complicated. I wasted my time and energy, and I learned that it did not work that way.

How can you simplify your relationships?

Here are some basics that helped me to understand the world of relationships better and that made my relationships simpler:

Each person has a different inner world

The truth is that each person has their own “reality” of the world. This means that each person perceives and experiments the world in their own way, with their experiences, feelings and thoughts and they create their own inner world. Just to give you an example: My sister and I have completely different memories about our childhood. She does not even remember moments that have been significant and highly emotional for me and vice versa even though we experienced both the same situations. Each person has a unique inner world. In your relationship, you have your world, and your partner has another world. You are expert in understanding your world but you will never really know what is going on in your partner’s inner world. Your partner is the expert for their inner world. So, stop thinking about what might be going on in their inner world.

Explore your partner’s world with curiosity

Instead of thinking about what your partner might think, feel or need, ask them. Be just like a tourist who is visiting a foreign country, in this case your partner’s inner world, and explore it with curiosity, just like a treasure map. I once coached a good friend and during the coaching process she suddenly revealed me dreams she had never mentioned before because she feared that I would judge her. I was deeply touched and surprised by the beauty of her inner world. Explore their world without judgement, ask them questions to get to know them better, and you may find precious jewels you never expected. The inner world of your partner might be a surprise to you. There will be things you like and others you dislike. It doesn’t matter how long you know each other, people can change overnight and their inner worlds, too. So, it is always worth to explore your partner’s world.

Let go of control

We can’t control what will happen in the relationship. It will happen what is supposed to happen. It does not make sense to create “what if” scenarios in your head because you cannot control how your partner will react. The more you try to control, the more complex the relationship gets. Don’t try to please the other person. There is no need to. You can just be who you are. Sometimes, you may have the same needs as your partner, and often you will have different ones. There is no right and wrong; the needs of both of you are equally important. Negotiate a creative solution that fits you both if you have different needs. Trust and allow your relationship to flow.

Be authentic

Show your partner who you really are. Be honest about yourself. Speak your true voice. Share your feelings, dreams, needs and fears. Respect your boundaries and say “no” when you want to say now. A relationship requires a deep connection between two people, and this is nurtured by authenticity and honesty.

Applying these basics in your relationship is a process, you don’t have to fulfill them all today, you don’t have to make is perfect. Important is that you make small steps and practice them with joy.

What do you want to try out today?

Do you want to read more? Check the post 4 Easy Ways to Say No.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

A Secret About Change Nobody Else Will Tell You

Secret About Change

Do you struggle with changing yourself and with your growth process?

I did struggle when I first started my growth and healing process. Actually, I had a similar experience as when I started to do jogging:

Fourteen years ago, I was in a rather bad physical condition. I hiked during my holidays in the National Parks in U.S. and Canada but I didn’t do any other sports. One day I decided to start jogging. I went to a small park in Munich with my former boyfriend who was supposed to serve as my personal trainer and wanted to start running. He began to run elegantly with grace. I started to follow him and couldn’t keep his pace. He turned around, looked at me and said: “Come on, faster, you are too slow.” After one minute, I had to stop. I was completely frustrated. Yet, I continued. I ran a minute and then stopped. My head was red; I could hardly breathe. It was a fight against myself. One inner voice said, You’ll never make it. The other said, Look at you, plumb and not fit at all. People laugh at you. Another said, Give up. Just stay as you are. And with all this, I continued running.

Fifteen minutes later, I sat down with my boyfriend on some stairs that let to the entrance of a nearby house to relax. I breathed heavily while sweat ran down my face, and I could hardly talk; he seemed rather bored. I looked at the other runners in the park who ran like beautiful Arabian horses that ran in the wilderness with a flying mane while I was like a giant hippo that tramped down a path. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t do better.

Despite all my negative voices in my head, my intuition told me to continue. It just felt right to do so. I dismissed my boyfriend because it was only my journey. Every second day, I ran alone and fought with myself and my inner critics. After three months, I suddenly could do half an hour. I did not have to stop anymore, and my movement became more fluent. The inner critics stopped. I got up in the morning and wanted to go running. A year later, I ran for more than one hour.

Today, fourteen years later, I still run. Actually I can’t imagine my life without running. I run down to the beach, and I see the sea that glitters in the sunlight, the palm trees with their green leaves, the masts of the yachts in the harbor. I feel the sun and the wind in my face, and I hear the sounds of the seagulls. I enjoy each and every second, and it gives me energy and joy.

I experienced the same in my growth and healing process. In the beginning, I had to make an effort and push myself. It seemed to me that everybody else were already “better” than me. I had to overcome my fears and many times I felt awkward. Sometimes, I felt intimidated and even frustrated. Yet, I moved forward and took tiny steps. Today, it is a fluent process that is just part of my personality and my life. I trust in my resources, and I know that I have everything I need to achieve what I want. I can see the beauty of life each day. I have been richly rewarded for my efforts.

What attitudes are nurturing your growth process?

Here are some winning mind sets that will nurture your growth:

  • Change is an inner process that may feel overwhelming and impossible in the beginning. Yet I know that you can master it. Split it into little steps, let go of any expectations you have towards yourself and just take one step at a time.
  • It does not matter where you start, it matters that you start.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Everybody has their own unique journey in life. You have a unique and special journey, and you have to make your own experience and learning. Others might have to grow in areas where you are already expert in and vice versa. You just waste your energy if you compare yourself with others. Concentrate on your own journey and move your foot forward.
  • Have patience with yourself and never give up. I assure you that you’ll be richly rewarded.

So, what is the first step that you can take today?

Do you want to read more? Read the blog post How to Become a Modern Heroine.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Forgiveness – Your Choice To Find Freedom

I listened to my friend’s voice on the phone, That Saturday, twenty years ago, I was ill, and she didn’t give me the right medication. She just didn’t see what I had. I had to go to the hospital to be properly medicated. His spouse happened to be a doctor and it seemed that she had made a mistake. He finished his story, I will never forget that she did this to me. I could hear the indignation in his voice. The anger and resentment was buried deep in his heart and he carried it around for twenty years now.

Listening to him, I wondered, How many similar stories were stored in his mind and in his spouse’s mind? How did they influence their relationship? How deep was the invisible crack produced by the anger and resentment in their relationship? My friend was a person who sought peace in relationships so I became curious and asked him, Have you ever thought about forgiveness? At the other end was silence. Then, he said, Forgiveness? His voice sounded astonished as if this option never had come into his mind. No, we have never forgiven each other. We are far away from this. He sighed.

What role does forgiveness play in your life?

It happens so often in a relationship: your spouse did you wrong and you feel hurt, angry and sad, maybe an unfair critique or even a betrayal. Each time, the invisible crack in the relationship and in the heart grows a bit deeper. Forgiveness seems impossible due to the involved injustice because there exists the general belief that forgiveness implies that we accept the unfair incidents or that we liberate the other person from their responsibility.
Yet, forgiveness is not about liberating others from their responsibility. If you forgive them,  they remain responsible for their actions and the involved consequences.

What do you win if you forgive? What will you lose?

Forgiveness is merely your decision that you let go of anger and resentment or the desire of revenge. This way you can liberate yourself from the painful story and move on with your life. It is not necessary that you still have a relationship with this person to forgive them. It is your inner process that will follow its own rhythm and will lead you to a higher level of well-being and healthier relationships. Medical studies show that practicing forgiveness leads to lower blood pressure and relieves stress. Without forgiveness you risk that you bring bitterness and anger into existing relationships and into new experiences. You may not be able to experience deep connectedness to other people.

How can you practice it?

If you feel ready to forgive somebody in your life, I propose to you the following exercise:
Set your intention to forgive this person, maybe it is your father or mother, your ex-spouse or your current partner, or a colleague at work. You can start by writing down all negative feelings you have about what happened to you. Allow yourself to describe all that you feel. Don’t judge your own feelings, allow them to emerge. If you have finished, you can burn the paper in a safe place. Now, think about what might have motivated the other person to act in such a way. It is likely that they wanted to avoid pain, perhaps they acted out of fear or maybe due to their childhood wounds. Try to see the world through their eyes and their experiences. Alternatively, you could also write the story out of the perspective of this person. How would they tell what happened? Try to understand their motivation, their weakness and their immaturity. Take all the time you need. Then, think about everything that you are grateful for and write it down. Everything is important, it doesn’t matter whether it is big or small. Finally, close your eyes, imagine the person in front of you and tell them I forgive you. Repeat these steps as often as you need to. If you get stuck in your process talk to a friend you trust in or ask for professional help.

What did you learn about forgiveness in your family?

I grew up in a family that rejected forgiveness and I have experienced as a child the never-ending cycle of bitterness and hatred that was toxic for the relationships and the emotional well-being of the involved people. I now practice forgiveness for my own well-being. If you decide to let go of anger and resentment, you will release the control and the power that the offending person and the situation has about your life, you will be able to move on with your life and to experience a higher level of inner peace and compassion as well as healthier relationships. If your mind regards forgiveness as difficult or impossible, this prospect should be a motivation to give it a try so that you can make your own experience.

What experiences did you make with forgiveness?

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post How to become a Modern Hero.

Do You Believe in Miracles?

I admit that I had some doubts that miracles really occur and then, there happened something special:

It was on a Sunday evening in December, on the birthday of my wonderful late grandmother, so it was a special date for me. After a weekend of training, I went into the Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona where I always helped feeding a colony of abandoned cats on Sunday. It was nearly dark.

Suddenly, a shipbuilder from Port Olimpic arrived with a box. Vicki, the lady responsible for the colony, looked into it and screamed, Look at this! I did and saw a little kitten, just several weeks old with his two back paws taped with bandages. She looked at him and said, He won’t survive the night here. I touched the little head with tears in my eyes and saw his eyes that were full of pain and asked,  We really can’t do anything? Vicki called the organization and they allowed us to bring him to a clinic. I got into a taxi to bring him there. There, the doctor looked at him with worries, We have to amputate at least one leg,” He said and I asked cautiously, Will he survive the night? The answer was that they would try to stabilize him. I left the clinic. There was nothing I could do.

I went home, called the kitten Angel, prayed to the universe and sent him Reiki. After three days I received the first information. The list of problems seemed overwhelming: On the first day he had a cardiac arrest, they reanimated him, then he needed a blood transfusion, he was nearly starved and had necrosis in his two legs in the back. He must have been lying injured at the harbor for several days. On the third day, the little cat started to eat. The veterinarian said, It is very likely that he will lose both legs and stay a bit stupid because of the cardiac arrest. Anyway, if this cat survives, I will start to believe in God. He gave him a chance to survive of 5%.

On Christmas Eve, I was allowed to visit him the first time. I sat in the animal clinic with a bundle of towels on my knees and in the middle of the bundle there was Angel’s little head. I returned every second day. One week later, on New Year’s Eve, another veterinarian told me, This cat will not survive. He has too many injuries. I looked at her and asked silently, but he has survived until now, hasn’t he? He eats, doesn’t he? Why are you seeing it so dark? I did not dare to discuss with her. I went home in tears because of the apparent hopelessness in this situation. On my way home I bought a candle to show that I trusted that he would survive. The candle burnt each day, I continued with my visits and Reiki. Two weeks later, they amputated the first leg. That day, I asked my veterinarian about how to handle a cat that lacked both legs in the back. He looked at me with worries and said, That will not work. I left the animal clinic and decided to trust.

One week later, they amputated the second leg. Then, they gave me hope for the first time, We hope to dismiss him next week, if everything goes fine. Yet, they had to do another amputation. A week later, the veterinarian told me, You can take him home on Friday. That’s a miracle.

Two months after I had brought him to the clinic, I was allowed to bring the little cat home. The veterinarian gave me diapers because they believed that he wouldn’t be able to go to the cat’s toilette because of his missing legs. I decided that he’d learn it. He learned it within two days.

Angel fought for his life and had never given up. He had suffered a lot in the first months of his life and I want him to enjoy the rest of it. I trust that he can do everything that he wants. And he surprises me every day. He is playful, joyous and affectionate. He loves playing soccer with a little ball and runs like hell. And I was terribly proud of him when I saw him the first time in the cave of the cat tree that is at a height of 20 cm above the floor.

He reminds me everyday that miracles can occur. And so they do.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you have impossible dreams? Find out how to realize them!

What Are the Limits of Love in A Relationship?

Toxic Relationships

“I don´t need to own to love. I don´t want to be the owner of the person I love. I neither want to conquer nor take: love is not an act of war. Saying she is mine is treating the other like a thing, as if it were a matter of buying and selling. I don´t possess you, I enjoy you while you are around in my life; and that means a lot.”

Walter Riso, Psychologist & Writer

This phrase describes well how a relationship should be like. Yet, there are also these types of relationships that are painful, difficult, confusing and incomprehensible. Maybe you have seen them in your family, in the circle of your friends, at work or maybe you have experienced them yourself. As an observer, a separation seems to be the only wise solution and you wonder why the couple stays together. If you are involved in toxic relationships you may feel like Don Quijote fighting with the windmills: powerless, guilty, without energy and maybe even embarrassed when you talk to friends about your relationship. Love has turned into continuous suffering and fighting even though you saw all through rose-colored glasses at the beginning.

Why do toxic relationships exist?

Lack of Healthy Role Models

Many people miss a healthy image of a relationship because they grew up in dysfunctional families. They have never learned how a healthy relationship should look like. They lack of positive role-models and they do not know how to behave in a relationship in a healthy way. As a consequence, they repeat as adults what they have learned during their childhood. However, you do not have to continue this cycle. You can break it. As an adult, you can choose to heal your childhood wounds and your past to generate new experiences. This way, you can experience relationships that give you support, positive energy and well-being.

Unhealthy Beliefs about Love

Some people have idealized thoughts about love. Beliefs like “love is limitless” or “true love is unconditional” make it difficult to set clear limits or leave the relationship if necessary.  Society or your own family may tell you that you have failed when you get separated. Or, that you cannot separate because of the children. My parents were divorced and, as a child, I was grateful that they had been divorced. These beliefs are often deeply buried in our subconscious mind and make a separation a very difficult decision due to fear, guilt and shame. In reality, you should say, “no” to a relationship when it affects your dignity, your identity or your happiness. You should leave your partner if their behaviour breaks with your values and principles. A healthy relationship signifies that you love your partner while you love, value and respect yourself.

Obstacles to love

Another limit of a relationship is that your partner doesn’t love you. It is not necessary to continue with the relationship, but you must face reality and to learn how to give up. Love is the foundation of a healthy relationship. A relationship is unhealthy if you cannot grow or if you cannot follow your dreams. A relationship should give you and your partner the freedom to grow.

Any form of violence

Physical and sexual violence clearly breaks the limits of love. Love doesn’t justify violence. There is nothing to argue about. Despite the evident signs like maybe a bruise in your face, physical violence leaves a mark in the soul that requires profound healing. A very subtle boundary is emotional violence or manipulation. It is hard to notice but has the same devastating impact on our soul as physical or sexual violence. Manipulation destroys in a hardly perceptible manner the self-esteem, the well-being, the happiness and the identity of the victim. In a toxic relationship, the victim and the aggressor are in a dangerous cycle of control and power and may even switch roles from time to time.

What are the signs of toxic relationships?

Here are some of them:

  • Your partner makes you feel inferior, guilty or humiliated. They repeatedly insult you by telling you phrases like You’re insane, You’re ugly, You’re stupid or You’re fat.
  • They try to isolate you from your family or your friends. They control whatever you do or whom you talk to. They try to tell you where to go and use  jealousy to justify their unhealthy behaviour.
  • They use threats by mentioning suicide or separation or they frighten you by falsely reporting you to the police. They provoke fear through looks, gestures or by destroying objects.

What makes toxic relationships so complex?

All these behaviors break with the limits of love in a relationship. Often, the aggressor would minimize or deny the abuse, in occasions they make even their partner feel responsible for the abusive attitude. Sometimes, the aggressor looks like a charming person to other people and only shows their  abusive behaviour in the relationship. This makes it difficult for the victim to ask for help since no one else understands it. The affected person loses self-esteem until they start believing that there is really something wrong with their personality.  That is the point when the victim is convinced that their partner is right, and develops a false image of themselves. The affected person lives in fear and experiences a strong feeling of guilt and self-hatred. The victim also faces difficulties to giving up a toxic relationship due to a strong emotional dependence.

How can you change the situation?

Even though it seems difficult, you can learn a lot out of these situations: you can learn to set healthy boundaries, to stand up for yourself and to clearly say no to these toxic relationships and walk away while facing the pain of separation. This pain is a useful suffering because it opens a path towards a healthy life. You don’t have to make the road alone, you can and you should ask for professional help that supports you in facing the fear of loneliness, in healing the traumatic experience, in learning to set up healthy boundaries, in regaining self-esteem and dignity and in learning how a healthy and mature relationship looks like. This is an inner process that can guide you to freedom, happiness and connecting deeply with your essence. The beauty that life has to offer is worth to take this step.

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What If You Fear Relationships…?

Sometimes we learned difficult and hurtful lessons in life and as result, we fear relationships and deep connections. Let me tell you my story:

We were at a wonderful market, surrounded by booths selling colorful things from all over the world, the air filled with the smell of exotic food. I looked at the man at my side. I had achieved all I had dreamed of. The first date with this charming man – Spanish, good looking and humorous. It seemed so wonderful, like a dream. Instead I felt horrible, awkward and caged. I noticed this solid wall around me all the time. It put an unbearable pressure on myself. When we went home, he tried to give me a kiss – and then it happened. I heard myself saying, This will never work out, cold and sharp – the voice of my fear. I pushed him away and just tried to get out of the situation. I felt this fear inside, dark, deep and ice-cold – telling me, just to get out of here… otherwise I would die. My inner child had taken over control and was projecting all its anger and fears from its childhood to this man. I was powerless and unable to stop it. And inside my heart was crying.

We continued with a difficult relationship for one year, splitting off and starting again, never really being able to communicate with each other. I was his mirror and he was mine. Finally, I bought a book about fear of relationships. I wanted to understand our dynamics and how I could deal better with this. And I found a picture of myself I did not like to see – I had the same fear of relationships I had seen in my partner. It made me feel small, like a loser. I had never wanted to be influenced in such a strong way by my experiences in my childhood. And I was. I felt like a failure, ashamed of myself. I started working with myself and my inner child. For the following two years I focussed on changing this picture of myself. I did not dare to have a new date again because I was too afraid to return into my old habits.

And then, there came this man who I had not noticed in the beginning. By some lucky circumstances I could not avoid seeing him again. He was tall, brown-haired, attractive. In the past, my inner child always feared tall men for its experience in the childhood and this time it was o.k. My inner voice told me that it was time to go for a coffee again. So I dared to ask him for a coffee.

And I had dinner with him on a Saturday evening. Later that evening we went for a walk through the city. We just talked about ourselves. I felt well, relaxed and connected to myself. I said what I really wanted to say. I just was who I am. When we said good-bye I was able to give him a hug and to say him thank you for the nice evening. That evening I had not run away for the first time in my life and I had achieved something important for me. And I knew I could repeat it anytime I wanted to.

My fear has transformed me, now I work actively on my relationships, looking at every situation with the perspective What can I learn from it? It helps me to be authentic and not to play any games. And even though love has its limits if there is any kind of abuse or mistreatment, I now see a relationship as something very precious that should not be thrown away easily and deserves the constant effort to learn and work on one self to stay together. If I leave my partner and look for a new one without learning what I should learn from the situation I will face the same problem – only with a different actor. I would just waste my time and would have to do the learning I could do now at a later stage. My fear helps me to stay curious and creative in finding the best way to relate to someone. In the end, we all want to connect to other persons and connecting to others should give us positive energy and a lot of fun.

Stories are powerful to heal our lives. We are all human and have our scars, wounds and mistakes. Important is how we deal with them and what we make out of them. A long time I saw my fear of relationships as my “biggest” mistake and I was not able to forgive myself. By writing the story the wound and sense of failure got a new definition and a different description. This time it was written from a loving and compassionate point of view. This is the true healing.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to Be a Modern Heroine.

A Wolf’s Separation

Once upon a time, there was a majestic wolf who lived happily and content with his female companion and their offspring in a green forest out of fir trees. The wolf was a loyal companion and a loving father. He took care of his pack so that they had a good meal and a safe home. He anticipated every wish of his pack.

One day, there was a terrible thunderstorm and nothing was as it had been before. The wolf and the she-wolf decided to go their own ways, separated from each other. For the wolf, his pack was his all in the world and he lost everything he ever had. He felt torn into pieces and his heart was broken. He felt guilty for not having it done better. His eyes lost the radiance and his coat the brilliance.

In a deeply black, rainy night the wolf ran into the woods. He did not know which direction to take. He just ran, ran and ran until he collapsed exhausted. Lying on the ground, he suddenly felt a gentle touch on his wet coat. Painfully, he raised his head and saw a tall bear. He thought, A bear, my God, a bear. He saw the imminent death in front of him and did not know whether he should greet him or be frightened. He was too weak to run away.

The gray bear lifted up the wolf lovingly and gently and carried him into a warm cave with an infinite amount of mirrors. The wolf stood up carefully and asked the bear, What is it?

The bear replied, That is you. Each mirror is a part of you and you’re more than all the mirrors.

The wolf looked at the overwhelming amount of mirrors and saw that in one, he was played with his children and in the other he hunted prey. Then he saw his beloved she-wolf in a mirror that was no longer his companion. When he saw her tears came up into his eyes and panic overwhelmed him. What would he do without her?

The bear touched softly his shoulder and said, She will always be in your heart. She has given you your pack. The wound is now so deep that words cannot describe it. And, one day this pain will pass by, too. If you do not see it now, you will then know that it is good as it is.

The wolf bowed his head slightly disbelieving and the bear said: Look over your left shoulder. The wolf turned around and saw a brown saddlebag on his back that was very heavy. What is it? he asked. The bear answered, These are your negative experiences. Now look at your right shoulder. The wolf turned around and saw a saddlebag that was made out of colorful and bright cloth. The bear continued, …and that is all that you have learned from it. At that moment, the wolf felt how the load on his back became balanced and lighter.

Then he saw a new mirror in which he saw another wolf, this one had a wonderful gray mane, a kind smile and a special sparkle in his eyes. This wolf looked calm and peaceful in the world, as if nothing could shock him. Astonished he asked the bear, Who is he? The bear smiled softly and said, He is you. You have all the power and strength to overcome this crisis. You’re more than just a companion and you are more than the people who surround you. Even if it’s painful, sometimes a part of us has to die so that we find ourselves. Never forget how many stars you have inside yourself. Never forget how valuable you are as an individual. I give you this stone as a reminder.

He gave the wolf a beautiful, gleaming green stone and the wolf put the stone into his heart and bowed in gratitude.

He left the cave and his head was now upright and his step powerful. When he entered in the forest again, he felt how the stone completed his heart. The rain was now over, and he looked up at the sky and saw the moon and the stars. That moment he knew that he would find his way.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Are you interested in reading more about this theme? Check the article What if a Separation is not the end…?