Los Angeles Chapter  California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT

LA-CAMFT Member Article

12/31/2019 10:30 AM | Mike Johnsen (Administrator)

Leila Aboohamad,

Do You or Your Clients Love Too Much? The Secrets to Creating a Loving “I-Thou” Relationship: The Eighth Step

In working with the clients in my practice who are either in unfulfilling relationships or alone, I have discovered the steps they need to take and what they need to know and to find that perfect mate for them. This is the sixth in a series of articles on The Steps to Creating a Loving “I-Thou” Relationship.

The Eighth Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to believe that we deserve the happiness and sense of security which come from the formation of a solid, loving, supportive and ever evolving union with another human being. All too often in my over 30 years of psychotherapy practice have I worked with sad, lonely clients who want more than anything to love and be loved in a good relationship. Those clients needed to know at the very deepest soul level that they had a right to experience the joys and challenges of a healthy relationship.

Before I go on to explain more about the Eighth Step and how to accomplish this, here are the first seven steps:

  • The First Step to creating a loving “I-Thou” relationship is to recognize that we are complete and whole unto ourselves.
  • The Second Step to finding your soul mate and a happy, fulfilling, committed relationship is to understand your Family of Origin.
  • The Third Step to creating a loving “I-Thou” relationship is to become acutely aware of how we feel.
  • The Fourth Step to finding a happy, fulfilling, committed relationship is to understand that it is a wounded inner child which has never healed that goes out into the world looking for love, acceptance and companionship.
  • The Fifth Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to understand the importance of setting boundaries.
  • The Sixth Step to creating a loving, committed relationship is to understand the importance of communication.
  • The Seventh Step in learning how to create a loving, committed relationship is to know with every fiber of our being our own unique qualities and character—who we really are in so many different areas.

I have noticed through the years that most of my clients would enter therapy because of unhappy relationships or pain and confusion as to why they were alone when so many friends were married and seemingly happy. At least 75% were in their early 30s and coming to the realization that they were not married, engaged or even dating a possible good mate. They were all afraid that they were destined to be alone, without a partner, and without children, if they so desired. They were, and are, an equal number of men and women who wanted companionship and a family structure on this lovely pathway of Life.

Why did they end up in my office, sad, confused and needing help in creating a healthy partnership? Because at their deepest soul level, they did not believe they were worthy of the joys of true love . . . they had not accepted their Divine right to love and be loved. Many had grown up with parents who had not shared a joyful, compatible and loving partnership.

My clients had not experienced the serenity and positive energy of parents who truly knew how to love and be loved. So . . . how could they possibly create for themselves something which they had never experienced and did not know how to create?

Trial and error led these lovely clients to my door, hurting, confused yet still hopeful that there must be an answer. And there are lots of good, healing answers. But . . . and this is a big “but,” our chronic deep-seated pain in our past and current relationships must be surrendered to the belief that there is a way to stop the pain and create the love we deserve. We have to reach out for help, listening to that still, small Voice within, that intuitive wisdom which is at the center of us all. We must forget the world of appearances and delve deeply into the Truth which lies within each human being. 

And the Truth is that each person must stop looking outside oneself for love and acceptance and learn how to live peacefully with oneself. I guide clients to accept the fact that for 24 hours every day of our lives we must live with our self. No matter how dismal our love life has been, we are absolutely capable of leaving that ugliness behind if we are willing to have the courage to spend quality time alone, exploring the wonderful aspects of our self.

Spending time in nature, hiking, biking, taking classes in subjects which interest us, decorating our home, meditating, meeting new friends and forming a community which nurtures us. And this must be done without any ulterior motives . . . just the joy of growing in new areas and building a fuller, more inspired life.

Reach out to others as a friend and learn about them. Smile and say hello to others as you take your morning or evening walk. Stop looking for a mate. The mate will appear as you grow and develop into a person of love and character. Your light will shine and another whose light shines will come into your life. It will be so natural and comfortable that all will unfold quite simply and easily, because we have taken the time to reach out to life and participate in so many new and exciting ways.

It has been so much fun watching my clients step out into the world with a whole new attitude. It is like watching a baby take their first steps. I have been there to guide and encourage, but they have been willing to step out into the world with a positive, centered attitude that knows deep down that this is a new, more fulfilling path. I have celebrated at so many weddings as I watched my clients fulfill their dreams of love. It is absolutely possible to transform the negative into positive experiences. I have done it and so can you!!

Leila Aboohamad, LMFT, is a psychotherapist practicing in Brentwood, Santa Monica and West Los Angeles, California. She specializes in helping individuals and couples create successful, committed loving relationships. She has studied and practiced spirituality and mindfulness for over 35 years. Leila also works with gifted, talented and creative adults helping them to identify and share their special gifts and passions with the world. Website: www.leilalmft.com.

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