For the most part, people get tarot readings for a handful of reasons: they're worried about money, they're worried about love or they're worried that somebody, somewhere is out to get them. Of course there are exceptions to these rules ... but not many.
I had been doing variations on the same reading for years: "Client A" is bitter, angry and resentful about the fact that despite incredible effort, healthy romantic relationships continue to elude him or her. One - for example - is a successful business woman who takes excellent care of herself. She tells me that her ex-husband of five years is moving on in another relationship and is engaged to be married. She's stuck in a mind loop of "why not me?" She goes on to describe a conversation in which another woman stated, "My divorce was two years ago, of course I'm remarried!" As one might expect, this client took the insinuation personally that something was wrong with her for not having done the same as of yet. The anger and bitterness is doubled and she reaffirms her position that love is a mean and unfair thing that is wasted on the unworthy and doesn't "pay up" when we have rightfully earned it.
What really burned me out as a reader is this notion that the world owes us love, that anybody deserves - by virtue of having invested the necessary blood, sweat and tears - to be in a fulfilling, committed relationship. I'll admit that I have been guilty of exactly the same mindset. We think that if we are thin enough, smart enough, rich enough, funny enough and/or otherwise demonstrating worthiness that the automatic response from the Universe is to present us with a compatible life partner. We think that the prize for being awesome is the devotion of another.
I remember in grad school telling someone that the reason I wanted so badly to get engaged to my boyfriend at the time was because it would mean the ultimate seal of approval. That little moment of honesty carries far greater implications about what we think it means to love and be loved.
In astrological terms one might say that intimacy and romantic commitment are not the territory of Capricorn. That is to say, we cannot climb some ladder or accumulate achievements in order to reach love as if it were a goal. Love emerges of its own accord. It simply cannot be earned.
I see the bitter expressions on the faces of tall, beautiful, slender women stomping their way through Los Angeles streets, armed with exorbitantly priced designer handbags and merciless shoes. Surely, they have earned the right to be loved, haven't they? They slave away at their corporate jobs to be able to afford those accessories. They've invested hours at the gym with the very best personal trainers and they've ordered the salad with balsamic vinegar at every lunch since 1974. With all of that hard work and self discipline I can't blame them for being pissed off. I mean, they're following every rule laid out by Cosmopolitan and Vogue. They're doing everything right. Why the hell haven't each of their respective Princes Charming put a stunning Tiffany Solitaire on their fingers? What more does the world want from them, anyway?
Well, the ruse is pretty transparent, actually. The more completely we buy into this mythology of having to earn love, the worse we feel about ourselves. The worse we feel, the easier we are to control and manipulate. The easier we are to manipulate, the more money we shell out to the all powerful "let us make you good enough to love" industry. The very idea of love as something unconditional seems to fly right over the heads of contemporary Western 21st century humans.
Of course this is all very easy for me to say because I'm married.
But, as mentioned, I also spent many years doing what we all do at one time or another: I tried to earn it. I equated my personal sense of self-worth with how much romantic attention or commitment I was getting. I felt entitled. After all, I worked out and watched what I ate. I was well educated and witty. I invested time in developing my career and cultivating an active social life. I worked hard at every job. I went to therapy and self-help workshops. And most importantly, or so I thought, I was generous, loving, supportive, attentive and passionate with my significant others. Unconsciously, I was clinging to the hope that if I perfected myself and loved fiercely enough, a man would eventually have no choice but to realize how good I was for him and come to love me just as much.
My attempts to extract passion and commitment from my partners drove me to increasingly dysfunctional behaviors. The self-analysis degenerated into self-destructive, obsessive habits. I would doubt my own perceptions and dismiss my own needs. I was so hungry for love that I readily believed obvious lies over and over again. "Just try a little bit harder," was the mantra that kept spinning through my head, pushing me through another day and then another until years had gone by and I was still so very hungry.
So, yes I'll admit, I do get frustrated with "Client A" and the innumerable people just like her. Just like me. Because, I know how futile these efforts are and just how much of our power we give away when we insist on continuing to look at love as a competition, as some prize to be won. It is such a toxic mindset and it breeds incredible pain. It effectively strangles the life out of any seed of mutual understanding, compassion and respect that tries to blossom into love.
The Venus retrograde over next few weeks promises to illuminate some rather frightening aspects of the contemporary courtship dance. If I could impart any wisdom to my former self or to anyone still stuck in the cycle of trying to win love, it would be this: Stop it. Just stop it. Love is not a thing that can be earned or achieved or conquered. We are not, no matter how great we are or hard we've tried, entitled to it. We can only invite love and give it some room. That means accepting the possibility of its never arriving and making our peace with that.
Sure, it's a terrible thought. Feel free to be furious with me for even daring to suggest it. But, it's a truth that must be acknowledged if we are to take any responsibility for cultivating our own, unconditional happiness and make a healthy space in our hearts where real love may someday reside. In my case, it appeared the instant I stopped trying to be worthy of it.
Originally posted on nuicobalt.com
March 29th, 2013
Revised December 22, 2013
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