A couple of week’s back I spoke at a fellow love coaches event where I was asked to tell my own relationship story. I shared about the big breakthrough that happened right before Hemal and I were close to calling it quits and how the breakthrough was the result of a pivotal conversation that I had with my parents.
If you had asked me years ago what I thought about my parents relationship, I would have told you they should have gotten a divorce, but because of culture and religion they didn’t.
Now, this had been my story for about 30 years. And because of this story, I placed a lot (and I mean a lot) of pressure on Hemal to be a specific way. I wanted him to be vegetarian, I wanted him to come to temple with me. I would talk about our non-existent kids and about how I needed us to be more spiritually on the same page.
Yes, that kind of nagging was happening almost everyday.
So, why was I putting so much pressure on him? Good question. It wasn’t logical at all. I would even be in the midst of trying to start an argument and I could see myself and I thought to myself why am I doing this.
Ever had moments like that?
Well, what I was doing is a phenomenon I call, Pedestal Perfection. What that means is that the qualities you admired about your parents or their relationship or the way your parents showed up for each other when you were younger have been placed on a pedestal in your subconscious. And without even knowing it, you feel that you need to meet those same standards.
This usually plays out in your love life with you being really hard on yourself or the man, because you’re expecting that he meet these standards of perfection.
So, for me, the only thing I admired in my parents relationship was that they shared the same values around culture and spirituality. These were the only times I would see them really feeling connected or on the same page. So, in my subconscious I made that mean “My relationship will end if we aren’t on the same page culturally and spiritually.”
Yup, I made that decision when I was like 8 or 9 and that belief was running my entire love life. And this is what happens for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, in a relationship, or married. These childhood beliefs are actually having you open your heart, or close it down in love.
I knew I didn’t want to keep pushing Hemal away, and so I was determined to have a way more conscious relationship. I wasn’t okay with settling and thinking that “this is just how it is.”
I had heard from a mentor of mine, that the fastest way to release a belief is to experience the opposite of that belief. A light bulb went off for me.
I was going to ask my parents about their love story. I knew that, if I could see the love and feel the love that they shared was about more than just being on the same page culturally or spiritually, then maybe I wouldn’t place so much pressure just on this one quality in my relationship with Hemal.
So, I talked to my Mom, and asked “I know you and dad had an arranged marriage, and I have heard some stories from when you both got together. I already know the relationship isn’t the greatest now, but what were some of the ways you really liked or loved one another in the beginning?”
She told me about all the love letters they would write to one another, she even showed me the box with them all. They traveled through blizzards to see each other for a day because my mom lived in Cincinnati, and my Dad lived in Chicago at that time.
And while some of this information was new, and it was already changing my perspective, what hit me in my heart was the look in my Mom’s eyes. When she was telling me these stories it was like she was reliving those days. I could see and feel the love she had for my father, and something transformed inside of me in that moment.
There was love there, and in fact there always has been love, even now. It was just buried underneath all of life’s heartaches, pain, what if’s, ego, and the I wish I could have it my way’s. And I bought into their version instead of creating my own version of what I could see between them.
After that moment with my Mom, I was changed. I could see and feel all of the love between my parents. And they weren’t different people. I was just seeing them differently, and that freed me.
That belief about needing to be on the same page culturally and spiritually no longer had a chance to exist in the same way. I naturally stopped nagging. I was able to give my relationship the space to let it breathe, and I gave Hemal space to show up for me. It gave me a new way of seeing Hemal, and it allowed me to receive the love that he was already showering me with. I had been in a state of perfection instead of love, which kept me from receiving it.
A lot of people tell me they’ve had conversations with their parents, and I also hear all kinds of excuses about why it’s hard to talk to your parents, or for them to understand you. But here’s the thing you have to know: without resolving within yourself the ways you believe your parents are perfect or imperfect, you will block love.
You will shut down, retreat, not be yourself, stop giving, hold back, and think “what’s the point.”
I want say to you that, although it can be really difficult to do this, the love you are seeking is worth the journey inwards. It is SOOOOOOOOO worth it. Because the two are interconnected. When you explore your connection to your parents, and all the ways you think they’re perfect or imperfect, and you let go of those beliefs, you can reconnect to yourself and to everyone around you. And when you feel that depth of connection and oneness with everything and everyone around you, that’s when you truly start being able to let love in.