Dear Dr. Norquist:
I have never been able to fall in love with anyone. I’m 33 and I’ve had boyfriends, but I’ve never felt in love with any of them the way I hear about it from others. Is something wrong with me? I don’t know if I haven’t found the right man yet, or if I’m not capable of falling in love. Any advice?
Dr. Norquist responds:
To experience love, you have to start by loving yourself. We are taught in this culture that the love we crave resides in some special other that we must find in order to be happy. This commences a search for that someone special from whom we will finally get the love we need to be happy and content. This is the “Prince Charming” fairy tale that is imbibed by young impressionable children. I believe this sets the stage for women, in particular, to give up their power, so to speak, and focus on being pretty, and pleasing, and desirable – so to attract and be deemed worthy of that perfect man’s love. Often the message we are given is that it is bad, or selfish to love ourselves. This belief leads us astray from true love. A woman who is truly able to love and respect herself is also truly able to love and respect others. The truth is that each of us already is lovable, acceptable, and worthy – not because of some special quality we have or something we’ve been able to accomplish, but because our true inner essence is that of love. Once you recognize this experientially, you will be genuinely able to experience love in your life. Once you are in touch with this love, it will be easy to also experience love towards others.
(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.)
Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ 07030 or www.chaitanya.com or by e-mail at email@example.com, or by fax at (201) 656-4700. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. 2009 Chaitanya Counseling Services