Tired of struggling? Let love flow

If you're struggling to find love or to create a fulfilling career and a wonderful life, I know how you feel. But it doesn't have to be so hard. You have a choice. You can let love flow into all areas of your life. You can thrive, not just survive.

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Looking back over my life, I can see how I've been addicted to the struggle. In my mind, ease, flow and abundance belonged exclusively to other people. My life was destined to be difficult.

I learned this at a young age. I watched my mum struggle and I understood that my fate, my role in life, was to struggle too.

I understood that there were two camps of people: 'them' and 'us'. I was born into the 'us' camp - the camp of struggle, lack and broken relationships - and it would be impossible to cross over and join 'them'.

The struggle also felt familiar to me and therefore comforting and safe. It's what I'd always known, meaning I became adept at creating struggle even where it didn't exist.

Ah, struggle, my old friend! It's good to see you again.

I took this mentality of struggle into all areas of my life, especially my work life and my relationships.

In my previous career, first as a foreign correspondent and then a political journalist based in the UK parliament, I worked all hours, evenings and weekends and rarely came up for air. Low self-worth and imposter syndrome meant writing my articles was a struggle, while I struggled so much in my pursuit of external validation that I burnt out and broke down. My early wounds meant that no amount of praise or achievement was ever enough - I always needed more.

I reinvented myself and moved into a new, less punishing and more holistic career - coaching, hosting courses and retreats and writing books. I swapped the tsunamis, earthquakes and political crises for sea swims, beach walks and work that restores my soul and impacts other people's lives. It's a much gentler existence. A slower rhythm.

But I can still struggle.

I can still cram my days. I can still exhaust myself in the search for approval and validation. I can still do too much, despite knowing that less is more.

Until I remind myself, as I did in this hot tub video, that it's safe to let go of the struggle, that it's OK to trust and to allow things to flow into my life, that I can give myself permission to thrive rather than simply survive.

My love life was a struggle too for many years, just as my mum's had been. It was a battleground from which I stumbled, clutching at my wounds and filled with shame because I'd wounded others. It was a series of car crashes.

I struggled to control the timing of my life, desperately seeking a partner in time to have children, without knowing for sure whether I wanted to be a mother or not. That sense of urgency and the ticking biological clock led me into relationships that weren't right for me and prompted me to walk away from the healthy ones.

I fought myself. I fought my instincts. And I allowed my childhood scars to sabotage my present and my future, condemning me to remain in a comfortable, familiar but painful place - reluctantly single, rapidly losing hope of finding a life companion and, of course, struggling.

Until, one day, I decided to let go of the struggle for love.

I decided to let go of control. I decided to put down the road map I'd drawn up for my life and open myself up to different possibilities. I decided to let love in.

And it worked. I relaxed into a beautiful relationship and I found love and, a few years ago, marriage.

On the outside, my life today looks free from struggle. A wonderful husband, a home by the beach, a slower pace of life. I swim in the sea and then come home to write my novel, coach my wonderful clients, lead my courses and plan my retreats.

But at times, the addiction to struggle bites again and I get in my own way. I fall into survival mode and forget to thrive. I turn on the control taps and hold on tightly to outcomes.

The good news is I can now spot when I'm doing this. I also understand why I'm doing it - because the child inside me is scared that she won't survive unless she controls everything, unless she holds on tightly. This understanding helps me to accept myself, to challenge the old thinking and behaviours and to do things differently, which looks like this:

I pause, reassure myself and my inner child that we're going to be OK, take a deep breath and shift back into a place of trust.

I remind myself to slow down when I am rushing and running.

I remind myself to go gently when I am pushing and striving.

I remind myself to allow space in my life instead of cramming my day.

I remind myself to believe that I will be looked after as long as I look after myself and the little girl inside.

I remind myself that struggling is the path of misery and that surrender is the path of peace.

I remind myself that when I'm in struggle, I am playing the victim, and that I get out of struggle by realising that I have a choice - a choice to let go of struggle.

Finally, I remind myself to let love flow.

If I can love myself and believe that I am loved and held and supported, not just by those around me but by something bigger than myself, then I can experience ease and joy.

How about you, dear reader?

Are you ready to let go of the struggle?

Are you ready to embrace a life of ease?

Are you ready to trust and to allow love to flow into all areas of your life?

And what one step can you take today to let love flow?

*** Free Resources ***

Free Workshop - Let Love Flow - Two dates/times - Tues, March 23 at 6 pm UK time and Thurs March 25 at 1 pm UK time. Click here to register

Free Download of Chapter 1 of my book, How to Fall in Love, at www.katherinebaldwin.com

Free Facebook group: Being Real, Becoming Whole

To explore my online How to Fall in Love and Date with Courage, Clarity & Confidence courses (my small group courses with group coaching begin March 29th - free previews available), The Love Retreat in Turkey and 1:1 coaching, go to www.katherinebaldwin.com

Katherine Baldwin

Midlife Mentor, Dating & Relationships Coach, Author of 'How to Fall in Love'

I work with women and men who are ready to change their lives or careers and with those who want to find love. I guide people on a journey of inner transformation, similar to the journey I've been on. I know how it feels to be stuck in life and to be reluctantly single, and I know what it takes to change and find love. My book 'How to Fall in Love - A 10-Step Journey to the Heart' describes how I went from being a single woman, living in London, bored with my work and longing for a more fulfilling life to a woman in love, engaged to be married, living on the Dorset coast and doing work that makes my heart sing. I have been in recovery from an eating disorder, workaholism and dysfunctional relationship patterns for 14 years, during which time I've mentored and coached others on their journey to a healthier, happier life. I have a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy Skills from the Westminster Pastoral Foundation. In my former life as a news journalist, I reported for Reuters from the Houses of Parliament and travelled with the prime minister. I climbed high but despite my external success, I felt empty inside. Since then, I've turned my life upside down in the best possible way. I work 1-2-1 and in groups, run workshops, courses and seaside retreats. I write for the national media and have appeared on radio and TV, most recently on Woman's Hour. I also speak to business leaders, students and school children about the importance of authenticity and of sharing our internal battles. I'm an advocate of wholehearted living. I do my best to walk the walk.