Let’s start with getting a master Love Mentor. This is a person you look up to,
who is like a good parent or loving benefactor. Like a good mother, she sees the perfection in you.
Most self-help books talk endlessly about how you can’t rely on others to give you what you need. Well, on one level that’s true ultimately you have to do it for yourself. But it’s an awfully long road, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. In the end, you won’t succeed anyway by trying to be Ms. Independent. So give yourself the gift of a mentor. You are the only one who can, and as Oprah once wrote: “You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.”
Finding a master Love Mentor will open the door to love. This is a person who provides a kind of reparenting for you. And this process is the secret, the strategy that has totally transformed my life and the lives of thousands of others.
A personal story first: I was the fifth daughter born to a Sicilian family that only valued boys. My mother was less than thrilled to have me. When my father found out I was a girl, a throwaway, he did not bother to come to the hospital to see me. The rest of our relationship flowed from there. Basically, the only attention I got from him was a hard smack on the back of my head while he called me stronzo (a turd).
Growing up, I was disconnected from myself, shy with outsiders, and pretty much mute. These wounds did not exactly set the stage for love with a man. Instead they landed me in the Abuse Recycle Deadly Dating Pattern, among others, throughout my early dating life. I dated bad boys who treated me like crap. I hungered for more. There was no amount of rejection I seemingly couldn’t handle. At one low point I was lost in the throes of sex with one of the bad hotties and another girl called him. He jumped away from me, threw on his clothes, and ran out the door. And, like a fool, I actually agreed to see him again. That’s a Deadly Dating Pattern for you.
But in my early twenties I got into a PhD program in clinical psychology and my life changed forever. I lucked out and got into therapy with an innovative psychologist who was a validating and prizing coach. He told me that I had great potential and that I was smart and beautiful—all the things I needed to hear from a parent. I thought he was either insane or just lying to build up my self-esteem, but in a secret compartment of my heart, I slowly took it in and began to feel lovable. This therapist never crossed any boundaries and was not sexual with me in any way. He was, however, my surrogate father and a master Love Mentor, because he helped me love myself. Out of that experience, I was eventually able to accept the love of a good guy who was crazy about me and willing to grow. That man is my husband, Sam.
So, even if you come from a very difficult family background, have suffered emotional setbacks in your early love relationships, and don’t exactly have the highest levels of self-esteem, you still can create love in your life. If I can, you can.