"Self-love can only be achieved by living an authentic life. It's not possible to truly love and accept yourself when you are not being true to yourself." - Anthon St. Maarten
I had a beautiful heartfelt conversation with Jen Anderson on this week's Insightful Conversations. Before coming on the show, I asked Jen if there was anything in particular she would like to talk about during our time together. She said she was happy to see where the conversation flowed. Jen started by sharing how she first came across the Principles and how it had impacted her life. She described herself as having been a very shy, insecure teenager who struggled with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. I couldn't help but relate to what she was sharing, having dealt with many of the same issues myself.
As I listened to Jen share her experience, I was reminded of a video series I had watched a few years earlier, with her and her ex-husband Rudy. It was shortly after their very public breakup. Dr. Joe Bailey helped facilitate the dialogue between them and an intimate group of people who were listening and asking questions. I remember being struck by both Jen and Rudy's willingness to be so open, vulnerable, and generous with what I considered to be a private matter. I had no previous intention of covering this topic but knowing to trust what comes up in the moment; I asked Jen if she was comfortable talking about that period of her life.
In her lovely open-hearted way, Jen shared with candor what the experience had been like for her, given that she and Rudy were well known and respected within the 3 Principles community. A spiritual community, known amongst many things, for helping people achieve happy, long-lasting marriages. As you can imagine, their divorce came as a shock to many, including Jen and Rudi themselves. Jen said that if anyone had ever told her that she would fall in love with another man and end her marriage to Rudy, she would have said you were crazy. That wasn't who she was, and it was something she would never do.
Jen realized that she had let go of one persona only to replace it with another. She wasn't being true to herself. Jen lived in a thought-created reality that was telling her who she was and who she needed to be. Her thoughts also told her what she was doing was wrong, and she would pay for it. In addition, to the terrible guilt Jen felt for how her marriage ended, she also had to go through the judgment and condemnation from a small number of people within the community. It was a challenging time for all involved. But, by being true to herself and honest with everyone else, they managed to navigate the emotional upheaval with ease and grace and come through the other end as friends.
How many of us ignore the whispers of our hearts because we've made up a set of rules that we force ourselves to live by? I know I have. I was brought up to believe that I needed to put everyone else's needs and wants ahead of myself; Even if it meant that I was miserable. I didn't feel entitled to have a self. I innocently believed that I was selfish if I honored myself and what I wanted in life. I spent years as a people pleaser, not realizing when I didn't speak my truth, not only was I lying to myself, I was also lying to others.
I'm sure I'm not alone in sharing that I have stayed in relationships longer than I should have for fear of hurting the other person. What we don't realize is we have it backward. When we stay in relationships believing it is for the sake of the other person, we are doing them a disservice. Who would willingly want to be with someone whose heart is no longer in the relationship? We innocently deny our partners the right to be a loving, reciprocal partnership. We are playing god when we decide what we believe is best for them.
When we remember our essential nature is pure love, we are not afraid to speak our truth. When we remember we all live in separate realities, we don't take the end of a relationship so personally. When we remember we are perfect, whole, and complete, we are fearless regardless of what challenges we face. Love never dies, though sometimes it changes form. We may suffer temporary heartache at the end of a relationship, but our hearts are never permanently damaged. We are resilient. We heal and move on to love once again.
With love and appreciation, Del 💕