My mom called me the other day and asked what I’d like to do with all my self-help books. All 987 of them (OK, realistically, it was actually more like 100, but you get the idea). They were all of the relationship books that I left at her house when I finally had the courage to head off for California to follow my dreams. I didn’t have the space to take them with me, and couldn’t bear to get rid of them – they had been such a good friend, so supportive during some of the darkest times of my life. Such a shoulder to cry on. “Oh, those books?” I said. I’d forgotten I’d kept them all. “Would you be ok if I donated them to the library?” she asked. Yes, of course; I didn’t need them anymore. Hopefully they’ll find their way to a lonely heart who they can help as much as they helped me.
And then an interesting thing came out of that conversation. As I thought about all those books, all the money I spent on them, all the time I spent reading them; something clicked. I realized that no book in the world, no matter how good, how insightful and relevant and personal it might be, no book can instill the change that’s needed without you being ready to make that change from within. Yes, I read all those books and yes, I now have a relationship blog myself; but I know from first-hand experience that me writing these words on these pages, and you reading these words will not create any kind of change in your life. Because I know what it’s like to get it on paper. To read something and be saying to yourself, “I know. That’s true, that’s me. That’s exactly where I’m at. That’s exactly what I do. That’s me! She’s writing about me!”
You see, the thing is that change doesn’t happen because I write about it, or because you read about it. Or because someone who’s been in a similar situation as you are right now, who gets it, says she knows what you should do to make it better, and tells you what you need to do. Even if you realize she’s right, and you need to do it. Because of the 987 books I read on the subject, none of them brought the man of my dreams to me. None of them changed my life for me. I had a ton of “aha!” moments with every book I read where I saw my situation and myself mirrored in the pages, along with the prescribed actions that I should take to change that very state of affairs for the better. I knew they were right, that I should do those things. But it wasn’t until I really understood, inside, in my heart, that I was ok, that I didn’t need a man to make me ok, that I was able to forget all of the subconscious programming. The programming that told me there was something wrong with me, that I needed a man to pick me to make me worthy, to prove to myself or anyone else that I have worth because someone chose me. And getting to that point was a whole journey that no relationship book could have replaced. But what those books did for me, that was invaluable, was to provide me with insights as I was already ready for them, inside at the deep heart level. As the Buddhist proverb says, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
And so that’s why I’m telling you this. I don’t expect you’re going to change everything overnight. It would be nice, but it just doesn’t happen that way. And the truth is that’s not how we really grow. It’s about baby steps. An increase in awareness. A process. Sometimes three steps forward, two steps back. Some good days, some harder days, but no bad days; all of them lead to progress. Some days we feel like we’re finally there, ready to step out and embrace our birthright, and other days we just want to bury ourselves under the covers and cry. The point is, it’s our own journey; it’s all about what happens every day to our consciousness that causes us to move forward on our life path at a pace that only we know. And no one can do that for us. We can have people and experiences and, yes, even articles like this one that can plant ideas and inspirations and “aha!” moments along the way. But I can say from experience, looking back over my own personal journey, reflecting on my journey from there (miserable, lonely) to here, (contented, happy), I realize that it all comes together when we’re ready. It comes together with the timing that’s right for each of us, and the timing that’s right for you is going to be different than what’s right for your best friend, your sister, or your yoga instructor.
My journey was different from yours and yours will be different from mine, but why I’m writing this to you is because it’s these little “aha” moments that plant the seeds in our consciousness. And those same little moments are what cause monumental changes in awareness within us that ultimately cause the changes that we need to bring love and happiness into our lives. Like when Mr. Right finally shows up at your door. It didn’t just happen. It started with an openness on your part, progressed to a gradual change of consciousness on the inside of you, and eventually manifested itself in a physical occurrence of the person you’ve been waiting your whole life for. Walking through the door and finding you ready for him at the exact time that he’s at that same point and ready for you. It’s beautiful, and believe me, it happens and it will happen for you.
Just keep planting those seeds.
P.S. Always know that life hasn’t passed you by. No matter what stage of life you’re in, where you’ve been, what you’ve been through or where you’ve come from, there is someone out there for you who’s on his own journey right now. When the two of you do get together, compare notes. You’ll find that you’ve been simply getting ready for each other all along the way. That’s what true love is, and it works with surgical precision.