No matter how many bad or dissatisfying relationships we’ve had, no matter how much we may hate to admit it, we all care about love. We have an innate and powerful need to feel valued, cared for, and wanted. We can expend enormous amounts of energy trying to get these feelings, and when that doesn’t work, we can become chronically stressed, angry, or numbed out. If you feel like there’s nothing you can do to get the deep sense of love and loving everyone needs and deserves, it’s likely there are internal blocks in your way. This post tells you how to identify and understand your blocks, and outlines what you can do to remove them.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes we don’t get enough; not enough of feeling valued, wanted, and cared for. And that’s painful — too painful to face and function at the same time. We might conclude we’re not good enough. Not good enough to win someone’s deep romantic love and commitment; or not good enough to earn the appreciation and respect of someone, whether a partner or spouse, parent, kid, friend, boss, or coworker.
When we persist in not feeling sufficiently valued, cared for, and wanted we wonder: Is there something unloveable or unworthy about me? Actually, that’s the wrong question. The right question is what internal blocks are preventing me from deeply knowing and showing my own true self? Deep down, we are all lovable, remarkable people. But blocks sap our energy and create a mask that we present to the world, even to those closest to us.
We might try anything and everything to get others to value us. We do more. We accommodate and please. We communicate stronger and more clearly. We tiptoe ever more cautiously so as not to upset or offend. When nothing seems to work, it’s because the only thing that will make a difference is the one thing we haven’t tried: going inside to remove the blocks that keep us from knowing and showing who we really are. Here’s the process for removing blocks to love:
1. Safety first. Before we can find and remove internal blocks, we must be in a safe place. If we are in an environment that is physically, emotionally, or sexually unsafe, we must find a way to get to safety. Millions of people live in situations that are not safe, even in our own country. When we’re not safe, we need to hang onto our blocks. Blocks are necessary to keep the deeper, more vulnerable parts of us safe from the destructiveness of an unsafe situation.
2. Work with your partner. If you are married or in a committed relationship, it’s much better if you each work on removing your own blocks at the same time. Removing blocks is like taking down defenses. If we take down our defenses when the person who impacts us most does not, we may be hurt. Our blocks will automatically pop back up to protect us, and our efforts to remove them will be much more difficult.
3. Find your blocks. Look for moments when you get emotionally charged: angry, irritated, tense, or anxious. More subtle blocks include moments when we go numb or cold, or feel compelled to run away to the escape of choice we use to feel better, whether that be working, Facebook, exercise, drinking, or something else. These “charged” or “numbing” moments are our blocks getting activated. Blocks take us away from and help us cope with something significant going on at a deeper level inside us. When you experience a block, stop and notice if you can discern patterns that predict when it comes up.
4. Befriend your blocks. Many of us get frustrated with our blocks, which only causes them to become stronger. Change your attitude and get curious. It may take plenty of time and repetition to make friends. Sometimes blocks can be felt in your body. For example, you might associated the block with a knot in your stomach. When you sense a block, shine your attention on it like a beam of openness and curiosity. As strange as it may seem, talk to your block with a caring, curious attitude until it responds back. Keep up the conversation until you fully understand and appreciate the block, and it trusts you enough to step aside and let you handle whatever deeper parts of yourself it’s protecting. You might say: “I’d like to get to know you. I’m feeling curious. Can you tell me what you’re doing, how are you working to protect me? When and where did you come about? What are you afraid would happen if you weren’t protecting me like this? What do you need from me to be able to step aside and let me handle what’s underneath?”
5. Vulnerably share. If you’re working with your partner or have a close friend you feel safe with, confide what you are learning about your blocks. Before sharing, ask your listener to adopt an attitude of simple curiosity. If your listener goes into “fix it” mode, “feels bad” for you, or is critical or judging, tell them you don’t want those parts. Let them know you only want the part of them that is simply curious and interested in you to be present.
6. Build your ability to feel compassion and caring for the deep and painful emotional experiences you carry deep in your body, beneath your blocks. When blocks step aside, you may find a lonely and sad child, or a child that is holding onto old hurts and beliefs. When you’re ready to care for these hidden, deeper parts, and give them the compassion and understanding they need, they can reveal themselves and heal. Once deeper parts of you heal, your blocks can be free to open up and use their energy in healthier, happier ways. Yes you can experience this, and your partner and others may be able to help you!
The process of removing blocks is by no means trivial, but it is incredibly rewarding. Know that you don’t have to stay disillusioned about love and relationships. Don’t hesitate to get support if you’d like to make the process easier and more doable. A good therapist, healing person, or support group can do wonders. Our couple’s workshops are also great places to get started, and to speed up your journey.