This month’s subject matter is “Expert”.

And I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. What makes me (or anyone) an expert in LOVE? There’s no LOVE school (I know, I’ve checked!). You can’t do a degree in LOVE, or even attend a TAFE course. Sure, there are lots of online programs, eBooks, downloadable pdf’s and You Tube clips you can watch full of relationship advice, but with something as exquisitely complex as LOVE, how do you really know who to trust to guide you? How do you even trust yourself? What’s the barometer when it comes to LOVE?

Seriously! If you asked me for my CV, what would you expect to see? How many broken hearts I’ve suffered? Or how many hearts I’ve broken? How many dates I’ve been on? How many relationships I’ve had? Or how many days I’ve spent crying into a pillow, frightened and alone, listening to the most depressing songs Adele has to offer? Because at the end of the day, all of those measures are bullsh!t anyway.

And here’s why.

When it comes to being an expert in LOVE, it’s not about making dating mistakes (although I’ve made pretty much all of them!). Nor is it about “Rules” (although a basic knowledge of how men think helps, ladies!) but as it turns out, it’s about something very different.

Last month, I learnt the biggest LOVE lesson to date. And I believe that it’s THIS that makes me an expert. So please, make a cup of tea (OK, pour a glass of wine) and indulge me as I explain what the true meaning of LOVE EXPERT is.

Hands up how many of you have found yourself in the excruciatingly annoying predicament of finding a man who ticks so many boxes that he almost aces the test. But right at the top of the paper, there’s one box he just doesn’t quite hit. And it’s a big box. Universe please, it’s sooooo infuriating when this happens and we don’t like it!

But it does happen and often in the most ironic of ways; in the words of Miss Alanis Morissette, it’s like rain on your wedding day. Yup, I went there. Not even sorry!

I work with women from all walks of life and all too often, I have clients who have stayed in relationships with men who don’t have a full score card. These women either don’t feel worthy of the real deal or they’re under some illusion that there’s no one better out there and so they settle for a guy who ticks some, but not all of the boxes.

And maybe now it’s time to confess.

I had to walk away from a relationship that almost ticked all the boxes recently. And honestly, it would have been easier to stay. If I’d stayed, I wouldn’t be feeling so lonely right now. If I’d stayed, I wouldn’t be facing yet another birthday without that special someone to organise my party. If I’d stayed, I’d be a relationship coach who was actually IN a relationship.

But if I‘d stayed, I’d also be a liar. And as an ‘expert’ in a field which isn’t regulated (coaching) and is so open to interpretation (LOVE) I know that to be congruent with myself; my message and my clients, is the most important accreditation I can earn. I had to do what I know to be the bravest thing. So I had to trust myself and LOVE myself enough to walk away from a man who only ticked 95% of the boxes. I had to honour myself enough to make that decision.

Here’s the thing. I believe we all have choices. And we can choose to live an extraordinary life, full of real uncompromised love and all that that entails… choosing love isn’t always easy. It comes with untold risk. It strips us back to our most vulnerable selves and challenges us to be better people. To have this kind of love, the kind that changes your very soul, isn’t for everyone. Because to accept this level of love, we first have to give it. And to give it, opens us up to the possibility of being hurt. The difference between those of us who give 95% but hold back a bit of ourselves in fear of getting hurt and those of us who are brave enough to offer every inch of ourselves without shame or excuse, is the difference between a practitioner and an EXPERT.

To be an expert in love is to be in a solid, healthy relationship with yourself first. If you don’t love and honour yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?

When I walked away from Mr 95% I was proving to myself that I am worthy of 100% love. I’m willing to give it because I trust in myself enough that if it’s not reciprocated, I’ll be OK. I don’t deserve 95% in return. I deserve all of it. And I love myself enough to give that to another person AND to expect it back.

So why am I an expert in LOVE? Because I AM love. And the relationship I have with myself will always be the most important one in my life.

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