New York-based clinical psychologist and relationship expert, Dr Tony Ortega, shares this extract from his new book, #IsHeHereYet.
Throughout my life, I placed more importance on being in a relationship than in discovering my core value. I looked around me and saw other people could get into relationships with much ease, or so I thought. I did not believe I had the same capabilities to do so. Every time someone didn’t like me back, or a date did not lead to a relationship, I felt like there was something innately wrong with me.
Why could other people find a healthy and loving relationship with the person of their dreams and the only way I could seem to be in a relationship was with some troll I was not interested in? I could have been in a relationship anytime I wanted to–if I was not selective in my choice of mate. I have some standards, most of the time. This led to constant feelings of low self-worth, as I would constantly compare myself to my coupled counterparts.
When I am not okay with being single and not okay with who I am regardless of my relationship status, the universe reflects back my perception, and I create the reality of feeling separate and defective. The moment I relinquish the need to be in a relationship to validate my existence, my energy shifts and different things start to happen.
This is proven to me more times than not and I often experiment with the concept. On days I feel down on myself, I check dating/hookup apps and get virtually no results, or get results I don’t like. However, on the days that I feel good and don’t care what happens, the opposite is true. So even online, this concept works. Your energy will transfer regardless of the medium you are using to meet potential suitors.
I feel that one of the reasons why I and others make relationships our Higher Power is because it normalises things. Relationships engender a sense of belonging and a feeling of being “just like everyone else.” Advertisements and TV shows rarely do anything to promote being okay with being single. You either see couples and/or propaganda geared towards getting to buy a product or service that will make you part of a couple. Rarely do you see product/ service endorsements that say, “Hey, buy this product/service and you’re going to be so okay with being single.” Instead, we get, “If you buy this, you will get the boy/girl” or “this (being in a relationship) is what normal looks like.”
One of the biggest hurdles I have overcome in my dating and relationship history is not making relationships my Higher Power. This concept came to me via something a client of mine said. He was talking about how he was making money like a god and I sat in my chair and thought to myself, I make being in a relationship like my God. When I connected the dots and realized that I was making dating and relationships my Higher Power, things began to shift. In my quest for love, I was so consumed by when was it going to happen that I neglected to be grateful for what was already in front of me, and neglected my self-care. When I embarked on a journey with a life coach to get to the heart of my “bad relationship” history, I was still determined to get a relationship.
By making relationships your Higher Power, you continue to play small, to play the victim, to not take responsibility for the actions and choices you make; and to continue to blame others for any “misfortune.”
Making a relationship my Higher Power allowed me to stay exactly where I was, in the space of fear and familiarity. It is in leaving the comfort of the familiarity that I can create change in my life. I see that my interest in being in a relationship was my selfishness. I did not have altruistic motives to be in a relationship. The relationship meant that I would now be like everyone else. When I moved from the notion of being in a relationship for my own needs and focused more on the notion of being in a relationship to love and be loved mutually, things started to shift.
Ask yourself these questions (featured in more detail in #IsHeHereYet as one of the Makeover Moments):
- In what ways have you made relationships your Higher Power/power greater than yourself?
- Energetically, how does it feel when you are making relationships your Higher Power?
- What is manifesting in your life when you are in this energetic state?
Work with these affirmations during your quiet time:
“I am comfortable in my skin.”
“A relationship does not define me.”
“I am single by choice, and my life rocks.”
“Every relationship is an assignment.”
“I learn from every relationship in my life.”
“I am a powerful person.”
Getting to the point where we are wildly comfortable with who we are despite our external circumstances is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and to our partner. This way of being allows us to step into our innate power so that we can make any task ahead of us a success.
About Dr Tony Ortega
Dr Tony Ortega is a first-generation Cuban American gay man. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, life coach, and author who has been in practice since 1992, currently serving the LGBTQ population in his private practice located in Brooklyn, New York. Tony (along with his teaching partner, John Davisi) is the co-creator of the movement, RawSexySpiritual: Spirituality for Gay Men (www.rawsexyspiritual.com). Tony combines cognitive behavioural techniques along with active coaching and metaphysical principles in his work with clients. Additionally, Tony provides spiritual life coaching for individuals seeking a different way to live. He works with his clients within these three principles: Rewrite Your Story, Find Your Voice, and Live Authentically. Dr Tony Ortega is also a student and teacher of A Course in Miracles, referred to throughout #IsHeHereYet as the ‘Course’. The Course is based on the idea that only love is real and miracles are a shift in perception from fear to love.