Own Your Experience & Your Part I used to excessively blame the person I was dating when things weren’t going the way I wanted. I couldn’t find the lesson or gift in the pain of my past relationships. And for a long time couldn’t access hope in my love life. At a certain point finger-pointing, feeling sorry for myself, bitterness and complaining became a way of life. “The wrong guys pick me.” All the good ones are taken.” “How could he have done this to me?” “Why did this happen to me?” One of my favorite teachers Katherine Woodward Thomas says, “It is one of life’s great paradoxes that, though we are the authors of our own experiences, we have no ability to superimpose our will onto another person. An unwillingness to accept this will be a source of great suffering.” I think taking responsibility is a practice that must be balanced out with gentleness, self-love and compassion. For a while I confused self-blame with self-responsibility. The key to staying out of self-blame is a having a strong foundation of self-esteem. (See HOW TO MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO LOVE YOU pt. 1) Tool: Owning Your Part The world is a mirror and romantic partners and relationship are part of that. This means that with every seemingly negative experience you have in dating, you have the power to look inward at how the person may be reflecting something about you back to you. This also means that experiences you have in dating came into your life for some kind of learning/growing experience. The next time you want to complain about your love life try to avoid the temptation to be angry or offended. Pause and take a deep breath. Then ask yourself, “What is being mirrored back to me? How did I call this in?” Is it old anger, judgement, fear? Is it low self-worth? Weak boundaries? Did I want to learn or practice something? Through this kind of self-inquiry you get to become intimate with yourself which is step one in finding love.