I want to teach you a new way to think about love.

It’s different than what other people teach, and I think you’re going to love it.

Love doesn’t ever have to hurt.
Love doesn’t mean you say “yes.”
Love doesn’t have to be complicated.

Listen to this episode to learn how love is a skill you can get very good at, starting right now. It just might change your life. 🙂

Here are more of my favorite resources for this episode:

Full Self Love And Romantic Love Episode Transcript

Welcome to the Design Your Dream Life podcast where it’s all about designing your life on your terms and now your host, Natalie Bacon.

Hello, and happy Valentine’s day. It’s a couple of days away and what better time to talk about love. I am delighted to be doing a podcast about love for you because this is the work I am most proud of in my life, at least right now. Right? I feel very comfortable with money and with business and when I kind of first mastered that and really got into abundance with both my money and my business at that time, it was work that I was very, very proud of as well and I still am, but the side of love and relationships feels newer for me, so I am just so proud of it.

I grew up in an alcoholic family. My dad was an alcoholic and my parents divorced when I was 12 and I dated men who now I am very thankful I did not marry so I can look back and see how everything happened so perfectly for me and that part of my relationships ending was such a gift because without them I wouldn’t have been able to deep dive into personal development and become a life coach and really create relationships that I want to be in and that are healthy and that I love.

It was not intuitive for me and I want to say that because it’s so important that whatever you think about love now and however you experience love can change. It doesn’t have to be how you experience love forever in the future and even if you feel like relationships are a part of your life that you don’t need to improve upon a lot, I want to offer to you that there’s always a way for you to strengthen connection and deepen connection and improve your relationships in ways that you might not even be thinking about. I am still working on this as I think we would all admit that we are, right, as humans it’s sometimes easier to love other humans than it is to sometimes love ourselves. And that it is to love other humans. And what I mean by that is some humans seem easier to love for us than other humans.

So let me just start by defining love. And if this is the first time that you are really learning about love in this way I want you to save this episode and come back to it because it will really change your life and in a way that reduces suffering and in a way that helps you feel better and experience life so much more fully even when things don’t go your way. So love is a feeling. Okay? I teach and I coach using a coaching model where there is a feeling line. It’s the F line we call it. Love is a feeling and your feelings are caused by your thoughts. So your thoughts cause your feelings. You’ve heard me say this before, but when it comes to love, we tend to think that love comes from outside of us. And it’s simply not true. Love is a feeling that you cause from your thinking.

It’s something selfish that you do for you. And I want you to know that regardless of the circumstance, you can always choose love all the time. Now you may not want to, but I want to challenge you and say, but why not? Because when you choose love, you get to feel the love. We tend to think that when we choose hate or disappointment or some sort of other negative emotion that the other person feels that emotion and they don’t. If the other person feels negative emotion, it’s because of a thought they’re thinking. So your emotions don’t jump into their body. So I really want you to separate this out. I think it’s sometimes confusing because we make it confusing and it’s very, very simple.

You have thoughts that create emotions. And when you think thoughts that are loving, they produce the feeling of love. And I think that true self mastery is learning how to love unconditionally. Unconditional love means that it is dependent on nothing. So I think my dad is such a good example of this. It’s funny, I wrote kind of a tribute to him when he passed away. You can see it on Instagram at NatalieRBacon. It’s the one that looks like me as a child who was sitting on my dad’s lap and he has a mustache. So the photo will be pretty easy to find. And at the end I signed it to the greatest unconditional love I have ever known and I was referring to me, right? The work that I did to love him unconditionally. Right. And so when you read the whole post, it kind of comes off as if it was his love for me. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about my love for him and I’m so proud of the work that I did around him and around his alcoholism.

When he passed away so many people, even like nursing staff sometimes would, kind of talk to me about their struggle to love a parent who made choices that they didn’t agree with. So they would be like, oh, I know how hard that can be my dad was an alcoholic too, or have an alcoholic in the family and I know what that’s like and I know it’s kind of hard. And it was so amazing to me, kind of like a lot of people would kind of tell their story when I was going through my dad passing away and I had done so much work with my dad and I really unconditionally loved him that none of these thoughts actually came to my mind and it wasn’t my experience at all.

And that’s why I was able to really lean in to that period when he was passing away and just totally be there and just love him. And why this is important is because it wasn’t like I ever expected something different from him. I decided that he was an alcoholic and that how he loved me was his business. Right? I got to choose to love him. And that felt amazing, right? When he would make little comments in the hospital, you know, even about the nurses are just like so inappropriate, right? Definitely a good ole boy, like flirt with the nurses even on his death bed, right? I decided to love him and think of it as endearing and that created the emotion of love for me.

Now, I could tell you so many stories of reasons not to love him, but that people would agree with. So you just have to be careful and be on to yourself because there’s just never a good reason not to love because you deny yourself that feeling. And I say that, but I say that with caution. It doesn’t mean that you say yes, it often means you can say no. You can say I love you and feel the feeling of love and no. So if I was in a relationship with an alcoholic, let’s say a romantic relationship, I could decide, oh my gosh, I love you, love feels amazing, and your unhealthy and I don’t want to be in a relationship with you anymore. So the answer is no, this relationship is complete. That is so much different than creating some sort of push pull attachment and expectation for the other person to change.

Now you absolutely can say, hey, I really want to be in a relationship with someone who’s healthy so this is kind of me saying to you, if you want to be in a relationship with me, then you’re going to have to get healthy. And if you don’t get healthy then I’m going to leave. Like a boundary is something that you do for you and you can set a boundary out of love. It’s really important that you set it out of love and not out of fear. I was coaching someone in Grow You and she wanted to create a boundary around her mother. Her mother was giving money to a man and she did not like that and she was threatening to kind of cut off the relationship. And really what my client was doing was trying to control her mother and doing it out of fear. And her mother was an adult. This other man was an adult. And what I said was, you can just love your mother, let her know your concerns for her, but she gets to do exactly what she wants to do.

And when we try to control someone, and when we think we know better than someone, we take away their agency, right? So my dad was supposed to be an alcoholic. That’s his business. I get to love him still, right? So it doesn’t mean yes, love can often mean no, but typically what I see is a strong attachment and control instead of coming from a place of love and acting from a place of love.

So, this doesn’t mean that you never want to feel negative emotion. I like to think of the example of you have an agreement with your spouse that you are in a monogamous relationship. This may or may not have been discussed explicitly, but you two are in agreeance that you are married to each other and you are not having relations outside the marriage. And then your spouse has an external affair. He cheats on you, right? You’re going to feel most likely devastated, heartbroken, disappointed, maybe feel abandoned. Whatever emotion you feel, it’s actually not because he cheated on you, like his cheating didn’t cause you to feel that, you had a thought that caused the feeling. The thought was he broke my trust. I can’t trust him. Our relationship is over. Whatever the case may be.

I like to think about how you don’t actually experience the negative emotion until you have a thought about it. So let’s say he cheats on you and you find out about it three months later, the cheating isn’t what caused the negative emotion. It was your thought about it. And we can see it in this example because you didn’t have the negative emotion until you found out about it. So it wasn’t the actual cheating. It’s what you make the cheating mean.

And you might want to feel devastated or heartbroken when your spouse cheats on you. And he kind of breaks that agreement, that trust. But the key is to take responsibility for how you feel instead of what we do. We blame the other person. We say, you ruined my life, you cheated and therefore your making me feel devastated. And I used to do this and what happens is it causes so much more suffering than is necessary.

So some of my OG followers, my followers from years ago will reach out and I actually just had someone reach out about a month ago and ask me to do an episode on love and relationships and I, I told her she was in luck. I had already planned on it for February, but she had asked me about my breakup, which I had written a lot about years ago when I first started my blog. And then kind of the progression of my own personal development and where I’m at now, which is in such a different place.

So to kind of get you up to speed if you are new around here. I went through a breakup several years ago and it was the first breakup in my life that I did not create intentionally. So in the past I had broken up with any of my boyfriends who I had dated. This was the first one that was unexpected to me and where I thought I was going to be with that person for a really long time, get married, all the things right. And so it was, it was very abrupt. I didn’t expect it. I didn’t see it coming and I also didn’t have these tools, so I immediately blamed him. I created this whole story around how he was the worst person ever. I really felt like, for a lack of a better word, like a victim, right? And I’m talking about a victim mindset. I’m not talking about, you know, being a victim of physical harm. I’m just talking about the mindset where you blame something outside of you for how you’re feeling. That’s like the victim mentality instead of what would happen with these tools is you say, oh, that relationship completed and I did not know it was going to complete in that way. Right? It’s like, I thought it was going to happen this way and it happened a totally different way. I want to feel devastated because this relationship ended and I had a different vision for it and let me kind of mourn the loss of the vision and not so much the loss of him because that chapter was always going to end at that time.

And so what happens here is you switched from having what we call dirty pain to clean pain and this is why I was able to really lean into my father’s passing, right? I had these tools, this happened just a couple months ago and I felt a much cleaner pain than I had when I went through that breakup. And it was so much less suffering even though it was such a greater loss. Because whenever my mind goes to thoughts that aren’t useful, like I wish he was here. He shouldn’t have been an alcoholic. He, you know, did everything wrong or like he caused this and I always go back to, oh no, no, like that. Like Byron Katie says that’s God’s business. That’s someone else’s business. Like my business staying in my mind is, I didn’t know when his life was going to end. It was always supposed to complete then, his life is complete, it happened exactly how it was supposed to happen, and I want to choose to be sad that my dad’s life is over, and that sadness feels so much cleaner then the suffering on top of it when I say things like, this shouldn’t be happening, he did something wrong. Like it’s all his fault, right? That blame that victim mentality again.

So when you are experiencing a loss, particularly in a relationship situation, I highly encourage you to reframe it so that you think of it as the end as like the end of a chapter. Like that chapter is complete. Right? And it may be that you didn’t know that completion was going to happen. Right. And that’s totally okay. You can admit that. You can say, oh, I thought it was going to end in a different way. I thought it wasn’t going to end, but it did end. It ended in a way I did, I was not aware of. And now let me just be sad because I want to be sad. Not because they did this to me and they hurt me. No, no, no. Right? It’s no one’s job to hurt you except for you. And this goes back to your thoughts, create your feelings and it’s so much more empowering and then you’re all cleaned up for when you enter into another relationship. So you just want to notice your thoughts when you have a loss like that.

I also want to kind of bring up another term that’s going to be helpful, especially if you are dating or going into new relationships or even if you’re married and you’ve been married for a while. I think a lot of times we just haven’t learned this and it’s called lovability and it’s your ability to be loved. And I want to let you know that you as a human being are 100% lovable. So your lovability is 100%.

So you’ll see this in your dating history. If you’ve dated more than one person ever, you will know that your chemistry or that your relationship with different people is a totally different experience even though you’re the same constant. Not that long ago when I was dating and going on dates, different guys would show different levels of interest and I was the same person, right? So it’s just a reminder that love is a feeling that is created in your mind because these guys would have different actions, which means they had different thoughts and different feelings about me. And so they took different action, right? Some of them were calling and texting and wanting to go on dates like all the time, almost too much for me. And then there’d be the opposite where someone would be more casual and it had nothing to do with me. I was the same person.

So your lovability as a human is 100%. Now certainly you can take actions that make it easier for someone to love you or harder for someone to love you. So if you are constantly telling people or the person that you love something negative, if you’re constantly belittling them, it’s going to make it harder for them to have positive thoughts about you. But you’re always 100% lovable. And I love using my dad as this example cause I got to the place where I just unconditionally loved him and I had good boundaries and there was never any like abuse. So the boundaries by the time I was an adult were really just, I would just leave if I didn’t want to be around him or if he was kind of being negative or something, I would just leave. But it really didn’t come up that much to be honest. But that’s what you do, right? You can still love someone and feel love for them and have good boundaries and say no. Okay. And you can know how much or how little you want them to be in your life. It doesn’t change whether they’re lovable.

So my dad was one hundred percent lovable. It was not harder to love him for me because I just decided and I really encourage you to decide that you have the exact parents and family you are always meant to have. And depending on where you are in your personal development journey and depending on your parents and the story that you have, this might mean you’re telling a story like my parents were an example of what I don’t want to be, but I can still love them because they taught me so much. And then as you kind of grow and you deepen your personal development work, you can really get clarity on how valuable your upbringing was into who you’ve become today.

And I love to think of the people who have had really hard paths like Oprah or like Tony Robbins and there was like the physical abuse and everything like that. And you’ll never hear them blaming their circumstances ever, especially when they’re talking about their family, right? And Tony always talks about how his suffering gave him so much compassion and really propelled him into a career of wanting to help other people end their own suffering.

So just know that you are 100% lovable always, and you always will be and you can love anyone. And true love means letting someone go. We get caught up in attachment and fear and we say things like, love hurts, love does not hurt. Love feels amazing. And this is just really good for you to know. So you can kind of tease out the verbiage that you’re using casually in conversation or you know, kind of spotted in the media and make sure that you’re getting cleaned up in your thoughts and understanding that thoughts always cause feelings.

It’s the expectation that you had that causes the hurt. So what hurts is the disappointment you feel when someone doesn’t meet your expectation. So you have this rule book for how someone’s supposed to behave and sometimes they fall short and it can be by accident. It can be by intention and it can be on a small scale. And it can be on a really big scale, right? It can be someone cheating or it can just be someone forgetting your birthday. But it always goes back to the expectations you have for others. That’s what causes the hurt. Now this doesn’t mean that you want to get rid of all of your expectations. What it means is that you take responsibility for how you feel.

And then the next thing that comes up in the coaching, especially for people who’ve done this work a little bit, they’ll say, well then if everyone is lovable and you can love anyone, who do I choose to love. And I say choose someone who is easy for you to love and someone who fits with what you want in the future. And this might change over time, but you’re gonna do your future self a favor and yourself a favor for the longterm if you choose to be with someone who’s easy for you to love and who wants what you want in the future, like really big things.

So when I first started personal development and what a lot of people will come to me and want coaching on is like they want their partner to really be into personal development. And I let go of this a long time ago. I just found it to not be super useful and not something that I was necessarily looking for. I let go of a lot of superficial things that I thought were important. The older I got, I started to really bring more awareness to the values and the type of person and the type of character that I wanted to be with. Right? Big things like I also want to be with someone who wants to be monogamous. I wanted to be with someone who wants to get married and have a family. Right? Some people just want partnerships, like the big things and focusing on those for what I want and for someone who’s really easy to love has just been life changing for me.

I love my boyfriend so much. We are such a good fit and it’s like a different type of love than I’ve ever had before because it’s loving from abundance, not from fear and it feels really good. So kind of notice this in your relationship. Are you choosing to think thoughts that create the emotion of love? I like to say like I want to be with Steve. I want to be with my boyfriend, I want to be with him. It’s like a proactive sentence that helps me show up versus I’m grateful for my boyfriend.

It kind of like, even though you can say I’m grateful for my boyfriend from an abundant place, it often is followed by, but I’m grateful for him, but…right? When you say, oh yeah, I want to be with him, you’re showing up, and so I really want you regardless of your relationship status, to get really good at practicing the feeling of love. It’s a skill you can get really good at. Like you might be in a marriage where you haven’t been feeling love for a while and that’s on you and that’s the best news ever. I love when Byron Katie says, I love you and there’s nothing you can do about it. So for you, start waking up in the morning and just finding little things to practice loving. And I’m talking about humans and romantic love and self love and this episode, but this applies to everything, not just people.

I have such a soft spot in my heart for money because I first felt abundant love for my money and I know that might sound really, really weird, especially if you’re kind of just starting your money journey, but I just want to offer to you that everything is lovable. It’s not just people you can just choose love. I just like love my money, but not from a place of attachment where the abundance is in the money, not from a place of greed, not from a place of I love money more than I love family, right? It’s just love. It’s the feeling of love.

So practice, feeling that emotion, look for it everywhere and practice loving yourself. And what this looks like is having your own back. What is your self talk like? Especially when you, you know, are doing some self examining and you might not like what you find. It’s totally okay to not like it and still love you, right? We like to say I love you anyway. Yes, I made a mistake. Yes, I’m going to apologize and I still love me.

I teach in Personal Development For Her, a concept called You 2.0, where you practice kind of separating yourself out from yourself so you can truly practice self love. And what this looks like is when you schedule something on the calendar for you, it’s like you are making an appointment with yourself. Like you’re making an appointment with me or with the person who you have in the most highest regard and therefore you’re not going to miss it. And you start practicing showing up for yourself and loving you. And when you really love yourself, this is kind of when other things fall into place.

When you really love your body, you don’t really want to put things in it that can harm your body, right? Like the types of foods you eat. Or when you really love yourself even if you love another person and you are a little bit attached, you say no and you are willing to experience the negative emotion. And I think real self love is having discipline. Yes, it’s some of the self care and treating your body well and sometimes it’s mani’s and getting your hair done and getting dressed. But it’s also the really hard things like getting up early to go run or sticking to your food plan when you’re having urges to eat the sweets or have the glass of wine. I think self love is going all in on you.

So one of the last things that I really want to talk about with you is setting a goal of meeting someone. It’s related, but I’m bringing it up it because the one of my sweet followers asked me specifically to talk about it and if you want to meet someone, I want you to have the courage to make that a goal.

So I think that people make a mistake of thinking that you can’t set a goal to meet someone and they often say, well it’s different. It’s less in your control. But that’s not true. If you ask anyone how to get married or how they got married, it’s some version of we met, we dated, we got engaged, we got married, right? And all the rest is just details. So until all of the other humans on the planet die, you always have control over your relationship status. If not this guy, then the next one and when you are trying to meet someone, I want to point out to you that it’s really important that you’re in the energy of attracting someone and you do this by showing up as if you already have the results. You become the person, the person you’re looking for is looking for.

And for me, when I was dating, before I met Steve, what this looked like for me was I had to kind of stop conversing with my single friends about how quote unquote tough dating is or how there are no good guys left and I even stopped following Instagram accounts where it would reinforce negative beliefs. Because when you do that and you’re connecting with people who don’t have the result that you want, you’re creating more separation and what you want to do is create the energy that you’re trying to attract and it’s kind of hard to do, right? You have to give up your story that dating’s hard. There are no guys left. You’re going to be single forever or whatever that story is. You have to give that up and you have to go all in and you practice love. You practice loving the person across from you just because you love them, even if you don’t want to see them again.

You can just love the humans and this is why if you practice feeling the emotion of love, you will get stronger and you will be more willing to fail and go on more dates or go through obstacles and challenges because you’re not expecting someone else to make you feel better. Like love doesn’t come from someone else. It’s all created in your mind. Your brain has a thought that creates the emotion in your body and it happens so fast that we attribute it to our circumstances.

So I want you to pause and I want you to remind yourself and remember that you are the creator of your emotions. And it doesn’t mean you never feel negative emotion, but it means that you decide on purpose whether you want to feel negative emotion or not. And you take ownership of that, right? You can always choose love. It’s totally up to you. And I think again, regardless of your relationship status, this work will change your life. It will change your marriage, it will change your relationship with your job. It will change your relationship with your money. It will change your relationship with your life.

Like when I remember it to get really good at practicing love and my whole day is just better. I’m like loving the barista at Starbucks. I’m just like finding little instances of love everywhere. I’m looking for love. Like our brain is naturally always going to go looking for the negative. It’s just a survival mechanism. So you have to reprogram it not to do that. You have to program it to look for the love. And you could do this and say no. You can say, oh my gosh, I love how funny this guy is. I’m just loving my life and this moment and this experience. And I don’t want to see him again. We tend to think that there has to be something wrong and we have to kind of hit rock bottom to end a relationship and it doesn’t have to be that way.

I am so grateful for this work because I have found joy and appreciation and so much light in my life where I’m at now, with all of the problems, right? It’s like I was single and I had single person problems and now I’m in a relationship, a loving, amazing relationship that I’m so grateful for and I still show up and I still have some problems, right? But it’s so much easier. So I want to encourage you to use love in a way that you haven’t before. Whether it’s loving yourself, whether it’s loving your partner, whether it’s loving your job, whether it’s loving your kids, whether it’s loving your sister in law and come on into Grow You and let me coach you on love. It will really change your life.

Hey, if you liked this podcast you really should check out, Grow You, my life coaching program. I coach you on everything I teach on the podcast so that you can uplevel your life. We 10x it so you get the results you want most. Just like a monthly gym membership to get your body in shape, this is a monthly personal development membership to get your mind in shape. It is an investment your future self will thank you for. Check it out at Nataliebacon.com/coaching. That’s Nataliebacon.com/coaching. I will see you there.