Love Lessons from Gabrielle Bernstein
The spiritual teacher and NY Times best-selling author, most notably know for her books Spirit Junkie and The Universe Has Your Back, has been on the forefront of the the current collective awakening, talking about consciousness on Super Soul Sunday and being referred to as a “next-generation thought leader.” It’s no doubt that Bernstein has a lot to teach about spirituality and how to experience more peace and joy on a daily basis, but she also has some serious wisdom to share about dating, love, and relationships.
Here are 3 lessons from Gabrielle Bernstein when it comes to matters of the heart:
1.Don’t look for love. Instead, remove the internal blocks you have to love.
The world teaches the concept of finding love, as if you have to go on an online dating mission, take the perfect selfie, and send witty, well-crafted text messages, in order to earn love. This approach to love focuses on the external: your appearance, whether there is an abundance of potential partners in the city you live in, your age, history, etc. Gabrielle Bernstein advocates the opposite: Don’t seek for love. Seek, instead, to remove the internal blocks you have to love.
She says, When we accept that we are addicted to fear, we can let ourselves off the hook for anything that occurred in the past and for the detours into fear we will continue to make on our spiritual paths. We can forgive ourselves for holding on to old patterns. Honoring this shadow side of ourselves is the way to heal our resistance. The metaphysical text A Course in Miracles says, ‘We must not seek for the meaning of love but instead seek to remove all the barriers to love’s presence.’
So, what this might look like is asking for guidance to show you where you’re blocking love from entering your life. You might discover that you’re energetically holding on to a past partner more than you realized, or you haven’t dealt with a difficult childhood, and so you’re manifesting partners who play out a drama similar to what your parents experienced. Identify what’s blocking you by getting still and quiet each day and ask the Universe to show you places you can heal.
2.Surrender by releasing past stories.
The concept of surrender can be confusing, as it oftentimes connotes this image of laying around all day in your pajamas, snuggling with your cat (that’s not surrender, by the way - just a dreamy Sunday). No, the kind of surrender that Gabrielle Bernstein is talking bout is releasing your stories from the past.
She says, We we surrender our will to the power of the universe, we receive miracles. Another way to surrender to the power of the Universe is to get clear about how the stories and beliefs we carry dictate our experience.
For example, let’s say your mom continually spoke about love as something that was “hard,” or let’s say you never learned how to communicate in a loving way, and the only story you have about communication and relationships is that it’s impossible to work through something without screaming, those (often unconscious) beliefs will dictate the person you attract into your life, as well as the sort of relationship you have. When I was growing up, one of the unconscious beliefs I picked up was that if a problem arises, the best thing to do is to not talk about it. This unconscious belief affected each one of my relationships, until I repeated the negative pattern so many times, I finally saw it and was able to let go of it. I still find myself wanting to shut down when a problem arises, but now I’m aware, or conscious of this pattern, and I don’t let it ruin my relationships any more.
You need to get clear on what you picked up from your parents, past relationships, and stories you heard and identify how they shaped your beliefs about dating and love. Odds are, your family didn’t resemble Leave it to Beaver, and so you picked up some pretty crummy ideas about relationships that it would serve you greatly to recognize and release.
3.Everyone you encounter is an assignment.
It’s easy to wonder why you attract certain people into your life, as no doubt you’ve dated some pretty horrible people. The truth about relationships is that we attract the person who will tigger us in order to help us heal. For example, if you have abandonment issues, because your father left, you might attract a man who travels for work. He’ll trigger your feelings of lonesomeness and longing, so that you can feel it, and ultimately heal it.
Bernstein says, The world is your classroom, and people are your assignments. Showing up for the Universal assignment requires your willingness to feel the pain it triggers so you can heal from the past. Many folks on the spiritual path skip this incredibly important step. It’s easy to throw an affirmation on top of your fear or try to will it away. But underneath all of our difficult experiences are unfelt anger, resentment, and fear.
What this means is if you’re attracted the “wrong” sort of partner (maybe someone who’s emotionally reticent, dishonest, or afraid of commitment, you can ask yourself what lessons you might be able to learn by being in relationship with that person, rather than blaming him or her for being a crummy partner. It’s likely that your horrible dates are reflecting back a part of your psyche that needs healing. I can remember going on date after date with one commitment-phobic man after the next, until I got still and prayed about it; the answer I got from the still, small voice was that I had a deep fear of love that needed healing before I could attract an emotionally healthy partner.
At the core of Gabrielle Bernstein’s teaching is to look within in and do the inner-work if you want your dating life or relationship to change, because it’s your fears and stories that are blocking love from entering your life. Once commit to letting go of your blocks to love, you attract an entirely different reality. Real change happens when you are willing to take radical responsibility for your love life.