A coaching client recently wrote to me to share the following (shared with permission):

Each time of the three times I spoke to you, you told me something that has been a huge lifeline for me: “If two people are willing to make it work, they can make it work.” You mentioned this to me three times and it’s been my mantra when I’m in the thick of things. That topic I know could help so many people, including myself. If you ever feel like you can share that beautiful wisdom in a blog post, that would be wonderful.

There’s no one else in the world I want to choose. My partner is the person I am choosing no matter what because I believe he is the most loving choice for me, although fear, resistance, and intrusive thoughts try to convince me otherwise. I’ve seen improvements in my growth and our relationship, especially since I’m taking more action towards growth and choosing him. Meditation and setting my intention to fall in love with my partner has been the biggest vehicle for me moving forward. Then, of course, understanding where the pain comes from.

It’s just that my heart still won’t accept the warmth of loving feelings that I just want to have for him. I want nothing more. My heart hasn’t opened up to him yet. But it will, I know this. Because I refuse to give up on him and us. I don’t want to choose anyone else. I choose to love him fully, no matter how long it takes. He and I are both committed to each other and we mean it. I know that if two people are truly willing to make it work, they can. This, in my opinion, is probably THE most important topic regarding relationship anxiety. It inspires people to keep moving forward in their healing and choosing and understanding real love.

I know I love my partner more than anything, it’s just my heart doesn’t know it yet. It hasn’t surrendered and opened up to it yet. But it’s also taken me a long time to truly dive into my inner work. I think I needed a lot of the information I’ve been learning to sink in and reflect. And then of course dealing with resistance. But I do truly believe what you said to me. Also, my heart has such a hard time opening up in general, so I remind myself that this is isn’t because of him. It’s something that lives in me. And my commitment to him and our love is what I choose. This life with him by my side is what I choose and he has done the same.

This is the truth: Sustainable love isn’t about magic or luck or serendipity. It’s not about finding “the One” and riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Creating a healthy relationship is a commitment like no other, and the commitment is just as much to your own inner work as it is to learning about what it means to love in action.

What I love about this email is that it shows that this work of breaking free from relationship anxiety looks different for everyone. Some people find my site and reading through the blogs is enough to help them break free. Others purchase the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course and find immediate relief, which allows them to spiral into the deeper layers of inner work without the overlay of the relationship anxiety causing agony. And for many others, like the course member above, they may read the posts or purchase the course but because of a variety of reasons – early trauma at the top of the list – it takes a while for the information to sink in.

As she says: “It’s also taken me a long time to truly dive into my inner work. I think I needed a lot of the information I’ve been learning to sink in and reflect. And then of course dealing with resistance.” She joined the Break Free course in February of 2017, had a few coaching sessions with me, then started counseling with a skilled therapist. She has stumbled and fallen and felt frustrated, just like the rest of us. But she has stayed the course. And those words – “if two people are willing to make it work, they can make it work” – have been a lifeline.

Inner work isn’t formulaic. It’s not a 5-step process that results in a finish line. Healing, like grief, has its own timetable, and true healing at the level of soul refuses to be boxed into a systematic approach. When we enter a healing process with an expectation that we’ll heal quickly and get back on the horse of joy, we’re setting ourselves up not only for disappointment but also for shame; the voice that says, “What’s wrong with me? Everyone else seems to be healing” can easily enter the running commentary of psyche. That’s why on the information page of all of my main courses the element of time is included. What does it take to break free from relationship anxiety and find serenity?

Accurate information + effective tools for managing anxiety + support + validation through other’s stories and posts + time + patience = serenity

None of this is easy and it’s usually not fast. But without the shame factor running the show, we can more readily give ourselves the gift of time, which is held within the commitment to showing up for ourselves and for our partner as we learn, on our own timetable and throughout our lives, what it means to love.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety – whether single, dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of her popular eCourse