The Smartest Things You Can Do for Love

June 19, 20245 min read

“Authentic love begins with vulnerability. It's about taking down the walls you've built to protect yourself, opening up, and embracing both your strengths and imperfections." - Dr. Ashleigh Moreland

Introduction: Embracing the Journey

Welcome to the Re-MIND Institute's blog! I'm Dr. Ashleigh Moreland, and today we're diving into the depths of love, exploring how to transition from trauma-driven behaviours to authentic, healthy relationships. This journey isn't just about finding the right partner; it's about becoming the best version of yourself and attracting a love that complements your true self.

Understanding Trauma-Driven Love

Often, our early experiences shape how we perceive love and relationships. Trauma-driven behaviours can manifest as self-sabotage, codependency, or a relentless pursuit of validation from others. Recognising these patterns is the first step towards healing and building authentic connections.

Practical Tools for Healing

  1. Self-Reflection and Awareness

    • Daily Journaling: Start each day with a reflection on your thoughts and feelings. This practice helps you identify recurring patterns and triggers in your relationships.

    • Mindfulness Meditation: Spend 10-15 minutes each day in mindfulness meditation. This can help you become more aware of your emotional responses and reduce reactivity.

  2. Therapeutic Interventions (we implement BOTH approaches)

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): This form of therapy helps you reframe negative thought patterns and develop healthier ways of thinking. I call this ‘top down’ therapy, and while it is helpful to better understand situations, it isn’t very effective at resolving the trauma-responses stored at an unconscious “body” level.

    • Somatic Experiencing: Trauma often resides in the body, and I call this approach “bottom up” therapy. Somatic experiencing helps release this stored trauma through body-focused techniques.

  3. Building a Support System

    • Therapy Groups: Joining a therapy group can provide a sense of community and shared experiences, helping you realise you're not alone in your journey. A very unexpected finding in my PhD research was that group interventions are HIGHLY effective when it comes to inducing neuroplasticity (rewiring the nervous system). This was an accidental discovery as I ran my interventions in a group setting simply because I was pregnant with my first child, and didn’t have the timeline to deliver it 1:1! Let’s call it divine intervention :-) Now, the results I see in clients from our group program (where we IMPLEMENT the top down and bottom up processing) have never been replicated 1:1. It’s truly something pretty spectacular - more info on this program at the end of this blog.

    • Supportive Relationships: Surround yourself with people who encourage your growth and respect your boundaries.

The Power of Vulnerability and Authenticity

Authentic love begins with vulnerability. It requires you to take down the walls you built around your heart to protect yourself, open up, share your true self, and embrace both your strengths and imperfections. Here’s how to cultivate this in your relationships:

  1. Emotional Availability

    • Active Listening: Truly listen to your partner without planning your response. This fosters deeper connection and understanding.

    • Expressing Needs: Clearly communicate your needs and desires. This prevents misunderstandings and builds trust.

  2. Authentic Communication

    • Nonviolent Communication (NVC): This method focuses on expressing your feelings and needs without blame or judgement.

    • Regular Check-ins: Schedule regular times to discuss your relationship, addressing any concerns or issues as they arise.

Scenario-Based Applications

Let’s explore some practical scenarios to illustrate these concepts:

  1. Scenario: Overcoming Emotional Unavailability

    • Challenge: You struggle to open up emotionally in your relationship.

    • Solution: Start with small steps, like sharing a minor concern or feeling. Gradually build up to more significant issues as you become more comfortable.

  2. Scenario: Dealing with Conflict

    • Challenge: Conflicts escalate quickly, leading to hurtful exchanges.

    • Solution: Implement a “pause” button. When a conflict arises, take a break to cool down and reflect. Return to the conversation with a calmer mindset and focus on resolving the issue, not winning the argument.

Healing Within Relationships

Relationships are mirrors that reflect our deepest wounds and greatest potential for growth. Here’s how to navigate this:

  1. Recognising Triggers

    • Self-Awareness: Identify your triggers and understand their origins. Share this insight with your partner to foster empathy and support.

    • Grounding Techniques: When triggered, use grounding techniques like deep breathing or sensory exercises to stay present.

  2. Healthy Boundaries

    • Define Your Boundaries: Clearly define what behaviours are acceptable and what are not. Communicate these boundaries to your partner respectfully.

    • Enforce Boundaries: Consistently enforce your boundaries. This might involve difficult conversations, but it’s essential for maintaining self-respect and mutual respect.

Creating a Healing Environment

  1. Safe Space

    • Physical Environment: Create a calm and nurturing space at home where both partners feel safe to express themselves.

    • Emotional Safety: Foster an environment where both partners can share their feelings without fear of judgement or retaliation.

  2. Shared Activities

    • Bonding Activities: Engage in activities that both partners enjoy and that promote connection, such as cooking together, hiking, or attending workshops.

    • Learning Together: Attend seminars or read books on relationships together. This can provide new insights and strengthen your bond.

The Role of Self-Love

Healthy relationships start with self-love. Here’s how to cultivate it:

  1. Self-Compassion

    • Positive Affirmations: Begin each day with positive affirmations that reinforce your worth and capabilities.

    • Forgiveness: Forgive yourself for past mistakes. Understand that growth is a continuous process.

  2. Personal Growth

    • Continuous Learning: Commit to lifelong learning and personal development. This could involve pursuing new hobbies, furthering your education, or attending personal growth workshops.

    • Healthy Habits: Develop habits that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being, such as regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest.

Conclusion: The Journey Ahead

Transforming from trauma-driven to authentic love is a continuous journey. It requires dedication, patience, and a willingness to face uncomfortable truths. But the reward is a deeply fulfilling and authentic relationship that enriches your life.

At Re-MIND Institute, we are committed to supporting you on this journey. Our programs, such as Rise and Thrive (which we encourage couples to do simultaneously, together!), are designed to guide you through this transformative process, helping you become the best version of yourself and create the love-life you deserve.

Let’s walk this path together, embracing the challenges and celebrating the growth. Your journey towards authentic love starts with a single step—commit to knowing and loving yourself today.


Join Our Community

We invite you to join our free Facebook group, Heart-Centred Healing Hub, where you can connect with like-minded individuals, share your experiences, and receive support from our community. Let us know in the comments what topics you'd like us to cover next. We're here for you, every step of the way.

Watch Episode 63 of the Re-MIND Podcast here

Dr Ashleigh Moreland is a passionate advocate for personal and professional development, dedicated to helping individuals achieve holistic well-being. With a background in neuroscience and holistic health, Ashleigh combines scientific insights with spiritual practices to guide others in balancing logic and intuition. As the founder of Re-MIND Institute, Ashleigh has empowered countless people to transform their lives through mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. When not writing or coaching, Ashleigh enjoys spending time with her family, connecting with friends, and being active.

Dr Ashleigh Moreland

Dr Ashleigh Moreland is a passionate advocate for personal and professional development, dedicated to helping individuals achieve holistic well-being. With a background in neuroscience and holistic health, Ashleigh combines scientific insights with spiritual practices to guide others in balancing logic and intuition. As the founder of Re-MIND Institute, Ashleigh has empowered countless people to transform their lives through mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness. When not writing or coaching, Ashleigh enjoys spending time with her family, connecting with friends, and being active.

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