Occasionally I repost an older blog post to introduce it to new visitors:
Q: I have had relationship difficulties for many years, primarily finding I dont attract the type of girl I'd like. I tried the Abraham Hicks stuff on focusing on what I want, not what I dont want. But I still find it puts me back in "wanting", and I feel terrible because it reminds me of what I dont have. So things have started to get desperate - hence my emailing you.
You mention in your articles Love Is for Giving and Loving Through the Senses about loving what is here now. However, I have found I have become addicted to doing things I like, and totally avoidant to things I dont like. I tried letting go of desire, but that hasnt worked - because I still want the thing I am after. I am finding it really hard to love "what is" when I dont like it - ie. lack of relationship. I'm getting stuck and am spinning in my head! And I have not been able to let go of "wanting it" - so the pain worsens. I am confused and wondering if you could shed some light. I appreciate you know nothing of my situation, and this could be a long shot!
A: Your confusion is natural and not uncommon. And yet it is possible to love something you do not like. However, there are definitely some things that can make that easier to do:
1- First, remember that loving something you do not like does not in any way take away your ability to choose something different. If you do not like your job, then you can look for another one. If you want a satisfying relationship, then you can take actions to both find someone and also learn how to be healthier and happier in your relationships. Loving what is does not mean you become a doormat to unpleasant people or experiences, or that you cannot move towards what you want in life. Loving what is just means that you do not need to suffer or experience a lack of love when you are not getting what you want. It is just a part of life that sometimes we get what we want and sometimes we don't. So why not be filled with love even when you are not getting what you want? Again, you do not need to give up trying to get what you want, just also love what is.
2-Secondly, it can help to simplify your definition of love to its most fundamental components. We can equate love with a feeling of attraction, affection or appreciation, and yet the core of love is simply awareness and space. The simplest way to love something or someone is to give them lots of attention, curiosity, and simple awareness. Just touch them with your awareness. And also give them lots of space or acceptance. Giving space is just a matter of consciously recognizing that they are the way they are right now, and letting them be that way. You do not have to like it or feel good about it, just be present to things as they are. This is the essence of love, and it is the most satisfying way to be with the things you like and the things you don't like. You can give love in this way simply because it feels good to give spacious attention and acceptance to things, not because you want or need anything from them. You may still want something to be different, or not like something, but in the meantime, why not allow yourself to be filled with a sense of fullness and love? Why wait for things to change to start giving this open attention to your experiences? It does not cost you anything and you will never run out of awareness, so why not experiment with just giving it away freely? You may find you enjoy being curious and accepting for its own sake, even when you are not getting what you want.
3-Last but not least, the most helpful key to loving what is is to include yourself in the equation, and especially to include your dislikes and disatisfactions in this spacious awareness. If you do not like something, then the easiest way to love what is, is to give attention and acceptance to the feeling of not liking it. That is part of what is, so why leave that out? And if in the moment you do not like the feeling of not liking something, then start with giving space to not liking the feeling of not liking something! When we start with loving our own feelings just the way they are, this can start the flow of loving acceptance, and make it easier sometimes to then go ahead and just give space to the original thing that triggered our feelings. But even if in the moment, you cannot give space to something you do not like, then at least you are also experiencing some love and acceptance in the moment by loving how you do not like it.
Including yourself and your genuine feelings is the key to loving what is. By including more and more of what is already happening, it becomes easy to also experience and express more love. In contrast if you have to first get rid of your dislike for something so that you can then force yourself to love it, that just creates more internal conflict. That is no fun and makes it seem like a chore to love what is. But if you start by loving how much you don't like something, then there is no conflict, there is just some love beginning to happen. Again, sometimes this can even lead to the place where you also love the original experience as it is easier to love something else once you have got some momentum going.