How to Love Ourselves When Things Are Falling Apart

Good morning Dear Ones,

Summertime can be a wonderful time for play and expansion; it can be a perfect time for tuning into our desires and giving ourselves permission to follow these where they lead.

For many though, summertime can also be a time of great upheaval and soul-searching. There’s something about the heat and lethargy of these summer months that seems to lend itself to making structures that no longer serve us fall by the wayside.

Perhaps it’s the awakening sense that the job we’re in no longer serves our soul’s highest expression. Perhaps long stretches of negative self-talk finally takes its toll and our bodies start breaking down under the stress of mistreatment, demanding that we stop and make a change. Or perhaps our struggling relationship or marriage finally has the time and space to reveal it’s unsustainable and needs to change shape. Or maybe all of these changes and more happen at once.

For years while I was living within a disempowering relationship with myself, summer was predictably the time when my tenuous romantic relationships would rip apart at the seams. Before I understood how I was the source of these tormented experiences, I dreaded summer. I braced myself for the return of each June, intuiting how these honest months without structures of school or work would predictably bring an end to each insecure romantic attachment I’d prayed would turn into something solid and secure.

And many clients I’ve worked with struggle with this same unfolding.

After years of watching my world hit rock bottom in June, July or August, I finally made up my mind to learn how I could break this painful cycle. Eventually, I learned to ask myself questions that would feed me power and set me up for success, no matter how shitty things were looking at the time.

So how can we be in an empowered relationship with ourselves and life when things are falling apart? 

A few good questions, honestly asked and answered, can make a world of difference.

When you have time to sit quietly, take a moment and let yourself feel into an area of your world where things appear to be falling apart. Once you’ve pulled up the most charged emotional area of your world, ask yourself the following questions (these work equally well in addressing major challenges with work, love, and health etc):

  • What am I assuming is true about this situation? 
  • What am I making this situation mean (about me, others, life)? 
  • What might be a deeper truth about this? 
  • How might I explain why this is happening to a child or dear friend I love? 
  • How might I tell myself why this is actually happening with similar levels of compassion and care?   
  • How willing am I to look at my situation from this different perspective? 
  • How might I show up differently in my life now, anchored into this deeper truth? 

Let’s work through these with an example (fill in your answers for your situation as we go).

Let’s say that your partner or spouse has just announced that they’re leaving.

  • What am I assuming is true about this situation? 

I’m assuming that my partner left because THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME.

  • What am I making this situation mean (about me, others, life)? 

I’m making this mean my partner left me because I’M UNLOVEABLE, OTHERS ALWAYS LEAVE ME, and LIFE WANTS ME TO SUFFER.

  • What might be a deeper truth about this? 

My partner left for reasons that are IMPERSONAL and HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ME.

(i.e. they struggle with long-term intimacy with anyone, they’re threatened by emerging power in any partner, or you two simply have irreconcilable values differences (like you value growth-oriented partnerships and they value safety-oriented partnerships etc.), and they’d leave anyone who has different values than they do).

There’s NOTHING WRONG WITH ME. I’m UTTERLY LOVEABLE AS I AM.
The RIGHT PARTNER FOR ME WILL HAPPILY STAY.
Life WANTS ME TO EXPERIENCE A PARTNER WHO LOVES ALL OF ME and is MAKING SPACE FOR THIS PARTNER TO FIND ME.

  • How might I explain why this is happening to a dear friend or child I love? 

“Sweetheart, this is a painful experience for sure. But the truth is you are BEYOND LOVEABLE. Take all the time you need to grieve. But know that I KNOW with every fiber of my body that one day we’ll see how THIS IS HAPPENING FOR YOU. Life wants you to be happy. You deserve that. And someone is coming who is ready to love ALL of you. I’m here whenever you want to cry, talk, or just BE. I love you so much.”

  • How might I tell myself why this is actually happening with similar levels of compassion and care?

(Tell yourself the above, affirming you are every bit as precious and important as any friend or child you love! And KNOW every bit of it is true!).

  • How willing am I to look at my situation from this different perspective? 

I’m willing. So every time the wounded part of me comes up who tells me this is happening because there’s something wrong with me, I’m willing to FEROCIOUSLY PUSH BACK and to ASSERT THE DEEPER TRUTH ABOUT ME, OTHERS, and LIFE.

  • How might I show up differently in my life now, anchored into this deeper truth? 

I’m going to create time and space in my schedule to let myself feel my core feelings of grief, loneliness, and helplessness over the decisions of others.

But then I’m going to practice showing up daily inside the truth that I’M BEYOND LOVEABLE (there’s NOTHING wrong with me), THIS IS HAPPENING FOR ME, and the RIGHT PARTNER WHO CAN LOVE ME FOR ME IS WAITING FOR ME NOW.

And inside that, I’ll start showing up lovingly caring for myself, being attuned to my deepest feelings and needs. I’ll reach out to friends who love me and let them shower me in care (and if I don’t have those friendships yet, I’ll start cultivating them now).

And I’ll make space each morning to ask life:
“What would you have me do today to be happy?”
“What would you have me do to make space for a partner who can love all of me?”
And I’ll honor what I hear by acting on the messages I receive.

Does this make sense?

What is the deeper truth about your own situation? How can you start showing up differently in your own life now, anchored into this deeper truth? 

Yes, this exercise takes practice and courage. It asks us to love ourselves when our instinct is often to abandon ourselves or to numb out our feelings when things are feeling the rockiest.

But this, my dears, is how we love ourselves when things are falling apart.

And the rewards for doing this, especially when we don’t want to, are enormous.

You deserve this much love. And then some.

With love and happy anticipation of hearing the miracles you are about to create from the ashes of every form of seeming disaster,