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Over the years, I began to notice with my clients that “relationship” issues rarely stayed in that nice, tidy little corner of our life called “love.”
If I worked with a client on his relationships, over the course of time, he would almost invariably notice that the same issue was also stopping him in his business, was affecting his success, or was showing up in his money patterns or even in his health. The reverse was also true. If a client came to me to unravel a business problem, it was almost always showing up in his relationship at home.
Valerie was a successful business coach who was tired of her love life. She asked me early in our work together, “How can I have a secure relationship rather than this polarizing attachment I have lived with my whole life?” She told me that her past several boyfriends were all the sort of guys who would “conveniently disappear” whenever it was crunch-time or there was an emergency. As she told me, “It feels like I’ll never find a man who will have my back. I’m there for him, but when I ask him to run a simple errand for me during a launch, he has to suddenly go home. Then he ‘disappears’ and suddenly ‘reappears’ when the launch is over. I’m sick of having no support in my life.”
At age 6, Valerie was given to aunts and uncles who raised her. Unfortunately, nobody ever truly took her into his or her heart. By age 16, she left the domestic mayhem of her family to start life “afresh” and “on my own.” From the day she was first floated to a well-meaning aunt, her mantra was, “I’ll make it on my own.” That’s how a missing right to belong and be supported feels. It feels like you are condemned to love on the other side of the universe, a million miles away, alone and without support with nothing but a telescope to connect with true love. If you are single, it’s Galileo meets Sir Galahad. You get to meet your perfect prince but always from afar.
Here’s the kicker. There came a time in our sessions when the business light-bulb went off in Valerie’s mind. Somewhere after about the fourth or fifth session, she said to me, “You know, I think I have hired a support staff that mirrors the men I have dated. My Web developer just took off without warning for a week while I’m in the midst of a huge launch. She’s just like Harry—here when it’s easy but gone when the heavy lifting needs done. That got me to thinking. I realized that of my seven staff members, only one or two really have my back. Is it possible that my missing love rights are also playing out in my business?” To that I simply said, “Bingo! Yahtzee!”
So how does one explain that the inner template her brain used to create loving relationships also turned up in her business? How can we explain the fact that the templates we learn from early loving relationships seemingly go everywhere in our lives? Just how does the love “program” in the brain affect the others so much? I mean, on your computer, Microsoft Word doesn’t dictate how Excel performs, does it? There’s only one answer to that question. Love isn’t a program in your brain. It’s the operating system itself. Now how do we explain that?
In my upcoming book “Safe to Love Again,” I build on the insights of attachment theory. Relationship science now knows that everyone has an attachment or love style that’s been up and running since you were a 1 year old. Early loving relationships actually wire your brain to create templates for making future experience. In fact, inside your love style are hidden six “rights” for creating nearly every future experience you will ever have. Those six rights are the rights to exist and be here in your body, to have your needs met, to separate and belong with proper support, to create your own experience, to assert and have your voice and choice, and the right to love and be loved.
Early experience between ages 0 and 3 essentially creates neural mockups for reality within our brains. These neural mockups in turn dictate how our brains go about seeking and creating more experience in the future. In other words, early experience in love gives you six “templates” or permission slips for creating later experience in your relationships. Then, because the brain is so economical in its expression, it will use these same templates from love to create experience in other areas of your life, such as business, success, health, career, etc. This is why I say that “love is the operating system.”
Let’s go back to Valerie. Once we gave Valerie back her right to be properly supported, it changed everything. First, she dropped Harry, who would not have her back. In a few months, Valerie replaced almost everyone on her staff. Once she had a right to a more supportive beloved, her brain automatically took the new right to other areas of her life. I didn’t know a thing about her staff. She noticed it. This is the really great thing that working with rights does for people. Once you restore the secure rights that tell the “operating system” how to go about its “business,” other aspects of life naturally change along with your love life.
So here’s a thought to consider this Valentine’s Day: Love is definitely not a program loaded into your brain alongside other programs like success, health, etc. Au contraire, it is the operating system itself. Love and its wiring provide the master templates for every other experience in your life such as success, business, money, health, beauty, spirituality and much, much more. If you want to change your life, work on love first. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!
Photo credit, Thinkstock, iStock, KristinaJovanovic.