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Excerpted from Conscious Living by Gay Hendricks. Copyright 1999 by Gay Hendricks. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright by SpiritSite.com.

"Ultimately I resigned from the exhausting task of seeking love outside myself to complete myself."

Gay Hendricks, 
Conscious Living, Part 1

In my early thirties I made a discovery about love that changed everything about my life. The discovery enabled me to attain my heart's deepest yearning: a lasting love relationship rich with happiness and creativity.

The realization was this: the only way to attract the love you want is to love and embrace your self. For years, through many unsatisfying relationships, I had been trapped inside the bubble of a delusion. I was trying to get other people to love me deeply and unconditionally, but without ever having loved my self unconditionally. In retrospect, it seems obvious, but at the time it was anything but. Right after having this realization I put it into action.

I let go of my defenses and relaxed into a few seconds of pure, loving acceptance for all of myself. I loved and accepted my anger, my fear, my loneliness, and all the other things I didn't like about in self.  I even loved myself for not being able to love myself very well! I could do it only for an instant at first, but these few seconds of unconditional love for my self changed my whole approach to life. Ultimately I resigned from the exhausting task of seeking love outside myself to complete myself.

In time this realization led me to see that my job now was to be a producer and distributor of love, not a consumer! I dropped the restless, mindless search for love in all the wrong places. In fact, I dropped the search for love anywhere outside myself. Instead, I began to look for the places in me that needed loving.

This inner shift caused real magic to happen immediately in my outer life. Suddenly a woman appeared in my life - as if by magic - and she was exactly the kind of person I'd always dreamed of.

There was a very good reason I'd never found her before. Unconsciously I had been looking for a woman to complete me and make me whole through the power of her love. Suddenly I realized that it was my job to complete myself through my power of loving me. From this place of wholeness, I would naturally attract another whole person who loved herself to exactly the degree I did. Then our lives together could become a journey of two whole people celebrating each other and ourselves.

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