in: Intentional Living

3 Toxic Thought Patterns You Need to Break to Find Love

Barbara Buck

Stop unconsciously sabotaging your chance at love by changing the way you THINK first. To start, avoid these three toxic thought patterns at all cost.


Everyone loves to be in love. It’s quite possibly the best thing ever, and finding it is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time! When we make the choice to open ourselves up to love, it’s a big risk. We never know if the payoff is going to be worth it, and that can be pretty scary.

Most of us would love nothing more than to find a wonderful partner who meets our needs, but we’ve been burned before. We get hurt, so our wounded self creates protective strategies—like toxic thought patterns—to keep it from happening again.

I, personally, know this all too well. I was in a long-term relationship where my partner would “punish” me when I didn’t meet his never-ending needs. If I failed to give him enough attention, or forgot to do something that made him feel loved, he would become withdrawn and ignore me.

I realized quickly that if I said “no,” or took personal time for myself, or wasn’t perfectly attentive all the time, I would be emotionally, and even physically abandoned. I created a thought pattern around this experience and carried it over into other relationships.

It became difficult for me to find someone who could meet my needs because I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted. I sabotaged a lot of potentially good relationships because of this issue, and when I finally did break the pattern, the change had a huge impact on my love life.

In the wise words of Wayne Dyer, “Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” We all have habitual ways of looking at the world, and it’s good to ask yourself how they are working for you so far.

Recognizing toxic thought patterns around relationships and love is the key to breaking them. They can hinder how we give and receive love, and even keep us from being brave enough to open our hearts to another person.

Maybe it’s time to embrace your beautiful, courageous self, and let them go for good. Here are a few you might recognize:

The tendency to focus on what’s wrong in your life, instead of what’s right.

Most people are so busy reacting to the negativity in their lives they don’t notice the good things that are happening right now. When we focus on what doesn’t work, we give it energy, which creates more of the same.

We can get stuck in a cyclical rut of creating the same negative situations over and over, without even realizing it. The best way to stop this thought pattern in its tracks, is to start a gratitude practice. When you wake up in the morning, name 10 things you are grateful for. It might be difficult at first, but even the little things count.

When I first started a gratitude practice, I was struggling with financial problems, I’d just gotten out of a long-term relationship, and I was chronically sick. The only thing that I could find to be grateful for was that my left toe felt pretty good. Eventually I found other things, and it became a habit to look for the positive instead of the negative.

The belief that a relationship will fix your problems.

Is the phrase “I’ll be happy when…” one of your daily mantras? “I’ll be happy when I win the lottery.” I’ll be happy when I get a new job.” “I’ll be happy when I find the right relationship.” If you believe that something outside of yourself has the ability to make you happy, you probably have the belief that external things can also make you unhappy.

Nothing makes you happy but you. We tell ourselves stories around what we think we need in order to feel good, but the reality is we usually have no idea what really makes us feel that way.

True happiness isn’t just the burst of dopamine you get when you’re around someone who really digs you. It’s a peaceful, contented state, where you accept your life the way that it is and make a conscious decision to enjoy the hell out of it, regardless of circumstance.

Focusing on idealized expectations of what you want in a partner.

Most people have a clear idea of what they do and don’t want in a partner, especially if they’ve been in the dating game a while. While it’s important to know what works for you in a relationship, it can become a toxic thought pattern when nothing less than perfection will do.

What if you meet someone you are really attracted to, but he has a few extra pounds around the middle, and it’s important to you that your partner be in great physical shape? Maybe this same person treats you like royalty, actively listens when you speak, and intuitively knows exactly where to touch you at any given moment, all things on your list. You’re wildly attracted, but those extra pounds aren’t part of your big picture plan.

I know people who wouldn’t even bother to give this person a chance.

If being a power couple at the gym is vitally important to your happiness and well-being, then by all means, pass this person by. I’m not saying you should settle, but take a look at your expectations. Are they realistic? That’s not a sexy word, I know, but do you even live up to those same ideals?

Imagine the pressure you would feel if someone expected you to fit perfectly into their little box of beliefs about what a relationship should and shouldn’t be.

There is no such thing as perfection, and even if you found someone who has every single quality on your list, they might have things about them you never even thought would bother you. Sometimes what we think we want, isn’t always the truth, and not always in our best interests.

About the Author:

Barbara Buck Barbara Buck

Barbara Buck is a Foundational Reconnective Healing Practitioner, writer, and teacher. She also is the facilitator for the Happy Empath community at TheHappyEmpath.com, a website that supports and empowers people who consider themselves highly sensitive. For more information, please visit her website at BarbaraBuck.org. You can also check her out on the Happy Empaths Twitter feed @the_empath.

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