From Rip Cord Effect to True Love

by Danielle Pirera, Australia

My friends and I would often joke about the ‘rip cord effect’; when a woman gets married and then pulls the cord, like on a life vest, and ‘poof!’ – instantly she puffs out, putting on weight. My partner has also joked to me about this, but I could feel that it was from a genuine concern or fear that this would happen to me. I pondered on this more deeply, seeing it in my mother, and I reflected on times when I had put on weight in relationships, or ‘let myself go’.

In my teenage years and as a young adult I grew up not living as the lovely girl or gorgeous woman that deep down I felt I was. Living in such a way felt empty or bottomless… not living in the stillness and preciousness that I could feel myself to truly be. Somewhere along the line I was taught, shown or told that I could be this lovely woman when I had a man, got married and / or had children. So in my head I thought that if I had a man beside me, or became a wife or mother, I would no longer feel the empty and desperate feeling within. I then spent a greater portion of my life driving or pushing very hard to get a man and kids; I lost myself completely because every choice was based on what would enable me to reach my goal.

However, every time the goal was achieved (find a man), I still felt like something was missing. I then thought the relationship was wrong, or the man wasn’t loving enough, or there must be more that I needed to do, i.e. have the right career, look a certain way or drive the right car. I then spent 10-15 years working on my career, money, looks, fashion, body shape and finding the ‘right’ man to try to fill what I felt was missing. The relationships were cycles of finding someone lovely and then feeling it wasn’t right, or wasn’t loving, and / or there was no true love, and so I would leave.

Not long ago I began a relationship with a man who was truly loving; not perfect, but offering true love to the best of his ability. Eventually, and unfortunately, I went into my usual cycle of finger pointing to say how, where and why he was not being loving, because deep down it didn’t feel that the relationship was as loving and amazing as I knew it could be. Then one night I recognised the cycle, and I realised the truth of the ‘rip cord effect’. No matter what I achieve on the outside, even if I get the ‘perfect’ husband and children, I will still feel the despair and devastation within, but it is felt with an even greater sting. The sting is much more harsh because I have worked so hard towards achieving the goal thinking that it would deliver me the preciousness I knew life could be: not only did it not do this, but every step made towards the goal was in fact one step further away from myself. So in a sense it is a double-sting, and this sting is so great that many women like myself cannot handle feeling or dealing with it, and so will instead choose a life of distraction and comfort which results in the bloating or ‘rip cord effect’.

I decided I wanted to break that cycle. I could point my finger at life and the man and demand it to be different, OR I could deal with the fact that I didn’t feel the grandness of the love that I knew in my life because of something deeper inside me. I recognised that every relationship I have will feel ‘not enough’ until I choose something different for myself. I then felt the pain and utter devastation of not living the stillness and preciousness that I have always felt myself to be. And I could feel that I had been literally running away from feeling (this) my whole life… and at first it was hard to feel, because it was so old and so buried. It hurt to feel that because the grandness of my beauty was and is so massive, there needed to be much effort in order to push it down; effort provided by my self-loathing, self-hate, distraction and numbing, all to hold the gloriousness back – OUCH!

And now, every day I discover ways to connect more deeply to this preciousness and begin to let it out. The more that I do this, the more life around me mirrors the preciousness and gloriousness of what I am feeling on the inside. I clearly see that life and relationships will appear loveless until I let my gloriousness fully out. But the magic is that, as I let my glory out, people may not or don’t really change, but to me they do feel completely different, and so the relationships feel completely different, even though they personally have hardly changed. So my relationships start to feel more truly amazing and loving, as I let more of this out. How amazing is that? We all have the power to have love in our life and our relationships, just by choosing it for ourselves first. I then realised that it doesn’t matter if I have a partner or not; or if I chose a partner, it wouldn’t really matter how he was, as long as he is open to love then he will always appear loving and amazing to me, so long as I am loving and amazing with me.

There is a deep steadiness and trust in my knowing this, because now I see that if I choose to marry a man I don’t need to be fearful of what might lie ahead. there will be no ‘rip cord effect’ for me, because I will not have had anything to numb myself from feeling, and so can guarantee that it will be love, if I choose this first for myself.

263 thoughts on “From Rip Cord Effect to True Love

  1. It’s a very empowering read, thanks Danielle. I feel what you have shared can relate to any kind of relationship including family or friendships. Your words about how you needed to reconnect to your love and stillness and let that out as being key to loving relationships turns everything we commonly hold as true on its head – we mostly see love outside of ourselves and having to be brought to us, not brought out of us.

  2. Expecting the other to have it all cuts out my responsibility to bring love into the relationship as an equal. I’ve said recently that I am open to a relationship but what needs to be asked is: Am I willing to bring all the love that I am to myself firstly?

    1. “Am I willing to bring all the love that I am to myself firstly?” What a great question, and I’d say in my own life that this is key to me experiencing more harmony with people because it cuts my investments in others and expectations that they deliver something to me that only I truly can. It’s the ultimate in responsibility and relationship harmony to not demand from others and live our own love.

  3. If we wait for a ‘special’ man or woman to come into our lives we miss the opportunity in each moment to make every relationship about love.

  4. Until we build a solid foundation of love and care for ourselves first we will not value or feel enough simply as ourselves and seek outside for the love and recognition we desperately want not realising that we need to embrace it within before are able to offer true love and support to others.

  5. The use of the word ‘devastating’ feels very pertinent in this blog. Not living all that we innately are leads to a sense of devastation and a creation build on devastation. It is devastating to the love that we all are in truth.

    1. Thanks for your comment Richard, it often feels like the devastation is in what’s happening in life, and I’m sure it can be in traumatic situations, but what I realised from your comment was that there was more for me to explore in terms of the devastation underneath life’s situations that actually stems from my separation from myself.

  6. I had a very deep experience of what I call ‘brotherhood’ this week. It is an awareness that we are all united by the love we are all ‘from’ and of. Connecting with this awareness has deepened my love for others automatically, for now I know in my heart that every man is my ‘brother’, and every woman is my ‘sister’. And that love is the ‘life-blood’ of this true family.

    1. “…I know in my heart that every man is my ‘brother’, and every woman is my ‘sister’.” How beautiful is this, Richard. When we consider everyone around us as part of our family, there is nothing that can separate us from the love we are actually united in.

  7. That feeling of ‘not enough’ is something we invite in and can get lost in, when we’re not appreciating all that we already are and all that we bring. Without this foundation of self love, acceptance and appreciation of who we are, it’s an endless and constant search for more from the outside to fill us up.

  8. It always starts with self, the relationship we have with ourself, ‘I recognised that every relationship I have will feel ‘not enough’ until I choose something different for myself.’

  9. I hadn’t heard of the expression “the rip cord effect” but it’s a great way to describe what happens. It’s interesting how people in general hold themselves together until they get married then they let go of themselves and their bodies, it’s like marriage was the goal in life and once it’s achieved then we kind of give up. I often look at couples who have completely let go of themselves and wonder what keeps them together. Wouldn’t you want to take amazing care of yourself so that you can be an amazing partner and continue to explore love together until your last breath?

  10. Yes, it is super important to be loving and amazing with ourselves as you say, and then, ‘We all have the power to have love in our life and our relationships, just by choosing it for ourselves first.’

  11. A very honest sharing in how you were – and a really fitting blog for me to read. We can easily blame things outside of ourselves but there is such an opportunity to look at our own behaviors first and be honest with where we are at and what guards we have up.

  12. It is ironic that the more that we connect to the love that we are inside the more that is reflected to us in the whole of our lives and although the people around us do not change we perceive them in a completely different way – it just goes to show that it is our perceptions that hold us ransom rather than the unloving behaviours of others.
    The awesome thing is that we hold the key to returning to the love that we are and it is a choice that we can make every day.

  13. It is a beautiful thing to live committed to being-in-love-with-yourself just as much as being-in-love-with-another. The former bringing a depth and a wealth to every relationship – making being-in-love an everyday event.

  14. A beautiful piece of writing here Danielle, it is easy to lose ourselves in a relationship when we don’t come from a point of self-love first, it is important to build a foundation of self-love, knowing that whoever we have a relationship with that self-love will always be our foundation.

  15. Without building a loving, tender and caring relationship with ourselves we are always leaving ourselves wanting and measuring ourselves against the outside world instead of connecting with our essence and expressing from the love we hold within us.

  16. Our relationship with self affects all our other relationships, honouring and loving ourselves is key, ‘I then felt the pain and utter devastation of not living the stillness and preciousness that I have always felt myself to be.’

  17. What a great awareness, ‘ No matter what I achieve on the outside, even if I get the ‘perfect’ husband and children, I will still feel the despair and devastation within,’ yes we have to look at and heal within first.

  18. “… every day I discover ways to connect more deeply to this preciousness and begin to let it out. The more that I do this, the more life around me mirrors the preciousness and gloriousness of what I am feeling on the inside.” Beautiful to read Danielle. It’s always worth seeing how the world reflects back so much to us and what we can learn from that- if we so choose.

  19. I found myself nodding to a lot of what your’ve shared here Daanielle. I feel I am on the tip of the iceberg of uncovering the hard and frosty nature I have used to keep my delicateness squashed. But I do have lights in my life to help melt it away.

  20. What you illustrate here is so familiar, the striving to achieve something, to get somewhere or someone and then the relief as you settle in knowing you don’t need to strive any more. Yet that has such a linear perspective on life and relationships and negates the grandness that we have inside us if we build the relationship with ourselves first. No start and stop, not let down, just a forever deepening and discovering of who we are and what we bring and how our beliefs and ideals influence our perceptions.

  21. This all makes so much sense Danielle, as in past in relationships there would always be these thoughts of wanting more, or there being something wrong, which was me feeling the lack of my own self love and support and not able to go deeper with the intimacy, and just keeping at a certain level of comfort so you feel the gap between where your at and where you could take it to. But when you bring you in all of your amazingness and love, what occurs from that is an opportunity to deeper in the relationship because love is there to guide you.

  22. The beliefs we take on can have such a hold through many lifetimes to keep us away from knowing who we truly are but never is a belief of ideal no matter how big we may think it is, ever greater than the richness and grandness from the connection to our soul. It is through the connection to our soul that we express the absolute love for the all.

  23. It is great to break the cycle in recognising learned behaviours and deeply held ideals that we have lost ourselves in and transform our relationships by connecting to the love within us and expressing this without holding ourselves back.

  24. When we focus on a goal or an outcome, once we get it or achieve it – what comes next? When life is about how we are living and every moment, then the next moment is only an opportunity for more and to deepen. Is the goal in life to get a man, or to be in a relationship where there is evolution, ever-deepening love and who knows what more?

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