True Relationships: from Abuse to Love with Grace

by Adele Leung, Fashion Stylist/Art Director, Hong Kong

From 15 years of age onwards, there has been almost no break in the intimate relationships in my life. Every man that I have been with I thought I would marry.

Until three years ago: I got divorced from my marriage of two years because of an affair. My divorce was in fact a period of grace for me.  It was my meeting with Grace.

For as long as I can remember, I have always put men on a pedestal. The feeling that I have for men is deep. It has nothing to do with their physicality, and I never understood the excitement of seeing muscular or sexy men. What I saw in men was their tender hearts. This tenderness is what draws me to men over and over again. Yet, over and over again, it is what is contrary to this tenderness that I got to live with when in a relationship with a man.

As a woman, I also know this tenderness, though in my life I have not chosen to live it all the time. Both men and women know tenderness, and tenderness is true when we choose to live it, no matter what gender we are.

I have endured a lot of abuse in my life from men, and in-truth, I have allowed abuse towards myself. I have allowed it because of the ‘need’ to see men turn out as I have felt in my heart how they as a gender truly are tender.

I am certain that some men in my life have wished to see tenderness from me, and have endured the same kind of abuse from me.

Grace, which for me is a pause to re-connect back to my own stillness, has allowed me to feel into the depths of knowing men and women are not separate. If we allow ourselves to feel each other, we will feel that the essence of every single human being without exception, is love. By seeing one gender as more powerful (something I have consistently lived in the past), we live as examples of separation. And so, it is this separation that we will live, and will experience as well as deliver to others as well. This has certainly been my experience.

Therefore I, as Ms Living Graciousness herself, having once chosen to step onto the same pedestal that I previously put men on and now holding the hands of men, suggest we step down and just be true. Some men may step down with me, though some are too comfortable with the pedestal and refuse, and some are indifferent; but no matter their choice, I am choosing to be true in my new freedom, without position.

I am choosing to be true by not holding back who I am as a soul within a woman’s body.  I am choosing to live this equalness despite what gender I encounter. I am choosing to see equally the tenderness and amazingness in women, as in men. I also smile from a deep warmth that exudes from my heart, witnessing men living their tenderness openly, with their wives and partners, as well as with themselves.  

By releasing more and more the investment and expectations I have of men, it now feels absurd to allow myself to be in abusive situations or to condone them – as I did in the past. It feels also similarly absurd to be reactionary towards these behaviours. Speaking out about them is necessary, but fighting against them whether through force or fear, is not.

True love is something that can only be held equally with all, and a marriage for example is in essence two people committed to living the true love that they are, whilst growing this love every moment in deep honouring of each other’s rhythms and choices in life and eventually expressing equally this love – with everyone.

Holding true love for all has nothing to do with being flirtatious with everyone or sleeping with anyone we feel drawn to, for in true love, I feel desires are not present. A marriage is indeed sacred for it is a union of true love within our hearts; a bond that naturally and consistently sustains when we live our every breath as love. And therefore a livingness of true love each and every moment is the greatest commitment to a marriage.

In my heart, true union is not just of people, it is also an equal union of both male and female genders.

In this equalness there is no dominance or power play between the genders, and there can be no hidden agendas with the knowing that how one gender is choosing to be, directly affects the other (gender).

  • Honestly, if we understood that how men are today has been influenced by how women are, would we still be in denial or tolerance to how our men treat us, or how we treat our men?
  • Would we condone situations where there is anything less than true love?
  • Would we then be choosing our intimate relationships differently, knowing what we choose will continue to either perpetuate true love or ‘lovelessness’ not just for ourselves, but for the whole of humanity?

My love for men continues to deepen as a direct result of how my love for myself as a woman has deepened.

Knowing deeply within my heart that we have been equal and mutually honouring of each other as genders and that we will return to this equal union one day, but accepting how not equal it is today, is a gift that Grace has imbued upon me.

303 thoughts on “True Relationships: from Abuse to Love with Grace

  1. Deepen the love for self, and every relationship with man and woman changes. It is about being true to self, steady and solid holding love no matter what is coming our way and what is happening around us. We know love and if we wobble we choose to come back to love for love is our essence and what holds us to observe and not lose ourselves.

  2. Great questions Adele and really worth pondering on. That the way we are as women could be a leading causes as to why men are the way they are with us. There is so much to look at and we can easily go into the comfort or saying it is the other genders fault. That gets us no where. We know what is acceptable and what is not so we have to start to live that for ourselves first and then for each other.

  3. “This tenderness is what draws me to men over and over again. Yet, over and over again, it is what is contrary to this tenderness that I got to live with when in a relationship with a man”. I am sure this contrast between the inner man and the one they live with is what most women experience. I also love the tenderness of men, but have noticed on online dating sites, it is what they do and have identified themselves as that is presented. This shows me that men do not see their tenderness as an asset and tend to hide it as a perceived weakness.

  4. Committing to equality in relationships allows for true love to shine through without the stain of abuse and reaction.

  5. I am sure many can relate with what you share, this tenderness is supported by allowing ourselves to equally live in our tenderness, ‘What I saw in men was their tender hearts. This tenderness is what draws me to men over and over again.’

  6. Beautiful blog Adele. You say “My love for men continues to deepen as a direct result of how my love for myself as a woman has deepened” I am have discovered exact the same on the other side of the fence, so to speak. As I deepen the love for my self, and get rid of everything that is not love in me, I deepen the love for I have for women. I see much more beauty in them, see their sacred more. And it feels only a start. So that is the way towards one loving humanity: loving ourselves more.

  7. Men are equally tender to women as you share in this blog, ‘I am choosing to see equally the tenderness and amazingness in women, as in men.’

  8. I am one woman who has put men on a pedestal and would be desperately looking for love from them yet I have found true love is only possible when we love ourselves first and therefor we know ourselves. When we know who we are and feel worthy of love we will choose completely different relationships than when we look for love outside of ourselves. This might be just the key for all abusive and stuck relationships.

  9. Yes, we are all equal, no matter if we are male or female; what is key is the quality of relationship we have with ourselves first and foremost, as this affects all other relationships we have.

  10. “My love for men continues to deepen as a direct result of how my love for myself as a woman has deepened.” Your words resonate with me deeply Adele because for many years I spent hiding away from men out of fear and lack of trust. Then I realised that these feelings I held against men were also because I did not trust myself and my own connection to me. Re-connecting to myself through my movements and supporting myself within these movements I learned to nurture, nourish and learn what love truly is. I found all true relationships are first with ourselves and once we begin to appreciate, confirm and honour our own tenderness, fragility and grace we see these same qualities in others including men. Now I see the same qualities in both genders but note that everyone has their own unique flavour to bring and that is so very cool to consider.

  11. “Honestly, if we understood that how men are today has been influenced by how women are, would we still be in denial or tolerance to how our men treat us, or how we treat our men?” This is a really challenging statement and if I had not been brave enough (and yes I did and do consider it brave) to take my blinkers off and just observe how I am with men, how other women are with men, over a period of a few months, I would have challenged you about it. But I can see that my defensiveness, my need to justify my existence, has meant I have chosen my ‘battles’ and allowed behaviour that I could and should have called abusive both from and to myself. We have much to learn and grow from if we consider the possibilities.

    1. We as women can resist greatly that which is being offered to us in relationship hence it is no wonder we are abusive to ourselves which can come through another. Surrender and welcome open arms the offering and then see how our relationships unfold.

  12. What a joy to more deeply love and connect with men on the foundation that you do this with yourself first. How beautiful to read this ever-unfolding journey and that you have not given up on men or yourself.

  13. You have raised many questions here and there is much to ponder rather than know and answer immediately. To consider us all equally, with no difference between the genders – as one gender – would be good on so many levels. We could then look to see what service we bring to humanity rather than decide what roles we take based on gender alone.

  14. I too have put men on a pedestal because I have placed security above all else. A man going out to work and bringing in money has been priority, life centered around the man and money as being the most important and no.1 thing we must all rally round to bringing bread on the table and make everyone happy yet the emptiness was always there inside me. So I began to live a life where I started to feel my self worth and realised that this way of life was not the answer. I also began to realise that I was in fact beginning to live in a way that was in reflection to the man, a way that was in reaction to him living a security based life placing myself too on a pedestal that I knew better, an illusion which I am still mastering. What comes to me is that I have been living in so much reaction that it has gotten in the way of truly supporting and loving myself to actually bring money for myself into the home! The beliefs and roles we can fall into to simply keep us at bay from expressing our divine essence at one with everything and everyone can feel so embedded and locked in our consciousness yet we know deep within that these roles and beliefs are nothing but a false and deeply abusive way of being that over many life times have contributed to the world in which we live in today.

  15. I am accepting that abuse experienced in this life is a consequence of being abusive to women in another life and therefore the love for men is in truth the living of what a true man is about and what better way to nurture that but by being a woman and reflecting back to men what true love and care really are by living that with herself first and foremost?

  16. How we are in a relationship with a partner (or anyone for that matter) does have a direct impact on all others. I have experienced this and it’s been amazing to have this awareness. Expanding the love in one relationship expands the love in all others. And people come and go but the relationship with ourselves is 24/7.

  17. It does come down to how you live holding yourself in that equanimity of love with each person. We see the many differences on the outer and through the many expressions of each and everyone but at the core we are all the same in essence. If I hold myself not in judgement, criticism and appreciate all I am in every way it opens me up to the beauty that is forever there.

  18. I agree Adele both men and women are by nature tender, and we allow our everyday choices to get in the way of that tenderness, how can we treat others with tenderness if we don’t choose tenderness for ourselves first.

  19. Realising our patterns in relationships is no mean feat and then comes the uncomfortability of really feeling it all to the depths. But from here the next step is not so bad. Having felt the sadness of choosing something not true, abusive or of giving our power away, taking those same steps isn’t a desirable option.

  20. I do hold a very deep love for men, and this love I have for them is the equal love I have within myself, and in the reflection of what I feel I have for men, I deeply appreciate this is who I am equally as this is who they are. This confirmation is something deeply beautiful and what I deeply appreciate and will never stop deepening with my partner and with everyone I met.

    1. Well said Adele, the reflection offers something both ways. To choose to build an appreciation of the love you are as a reflection of the love they are is inspiring.

  21. ‘My divorce was in fact a period of grace for me.’ I can relate to this as it was for me too, even though I didn’t think so at the time, it was actually a huge gift of grace for me to learn what needed to be learned.

  22. A beautiful sharing of relationships with ourselves and others of both sexes and the role importance and qualitiy in this oneness we all are. “Grace, which for me is a pause to re-connect back to my own stillness, has allowed me to feel into the depths of knowing men and women are not separate. If we allow ourselves to feel each other, we will feel that the essence of every single human being without exception, is love.”

  23. ‘True love is something that can only be held equally with all…’ this is absolutely true, and has been felt in my own life. To hold another in anything less than equalness is and cannot be love.

  24. When we put ourselves or anyone else on a pedestal there is little room to move and we will inevitably slip off. When we know we are all equal we can move together towards a deepening tenderness for all.

  25. The quality of relationship that we have with ourselves is what determines the quality of relationship we have with all others.

    1. Absolutely it is only when we commit to loving ourselves truly that we are free to love others in this way.

  26. Beautiful words of wisdom Adele, that show how there is no limit to the love we are and have access to: ” My love for men continues to deepen as a direct result of how my love for myself as a woman has deepened.”

  27. I have always had a bit of a wall up with men but meeting Serge Benhayon started to shift this for me, I got to see a man who is truly honouring of women and who I could fully trust. From this I then was able to see the same qualities in other men and it this has allowed me to shift this wall and start to get to know, embrace and love the many men in my life.

  28. Very wise words and experience Adele. When I first realised this you could have knocked me over with a feather, I was like of course – “I am certain that some men in my life have wished to see tenderness from me, and have endured the same kind of abuse from me.” I live with three men and have always said the words like ‘you can’t do that to me’ or ‘show me respect’ etc. but if I haven’t said no to my self-abusive ways than I haven’t been allowing or even showing my gorgeous tenderness that is equal to theirs.

    1. I have noticed that we take so many behaviours as normal that we don’t necessarily notice when our own behaviours are abusive towards ourselves. We set a low benchmark for what is acceptable and pretty much everything passes. As we start to look at being more respectful towards ourselves the bar raises and raises for all because we have a better understanding of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of our own behaviour.

  29. ‘Therefore I, as Ms Living Graciousness herself, having once chosen to step onto the same pedestal that I previously put men on and now holding the hands of men, suggest we step down and just be true.’ Thank you Adele for your heartfelt invitation to all men to re-connect to their tenderness and to all of us to drop the many barriers we have erected and live in true equality.

  30. It is absolute key to not be invested in an outcome in life as we get so affected by things not going like we want them to be. I love what you share here: “but no matter their choice, I am choosing to be true in my new freedom, without position.” We can choose to be all the love that we can be in every situation if we choose to breathe our own breath.

  31. Wow, this is huge, magically and important. Very real and life matter, yet a profound lesson for us all that teaches that men and women are equal in every angle. And that this imposition of anything else, has been created by women not claiming their absolute sacredness (divinity) from inside out (that we hold deep within) and for the men that have stepped away from their huge sensitivity and tenderness they all carry within. Hence, we have to stop blaming each other and feel our own choice we have made to create the seed of separation and lack of equal-ness.

  32. The word Sacred really stood out to me here. Do we hold our relationships as sacred and ourselves sacred in our relationships? This is something that I have not been a consideration in any of my relationships, as they were more about what we can do for each other, and it’s something that is so important. Marriage is seen in church circles as a sacred sacrament, but what is it that is sacred? Each one of us knows sacred, it is within us and it is untouched, but have lost ouch with our inner knowing of what sacred is and holds and what is built when 2 people live sacred together. I have turned relationships into rule, somewhat, in an attempt for things to look and feel like they are sacred but not. Connecting to, learning to know and live what this is for each one of us is they way we can then build this with another, so that each relationship has this as it’s foundation.

  33. Holding any expectations of how a man or a relationship should be is felt as a rejection by the man standing before you. Expectations are full of judgements and are birthed from control and investments; not really great foundations for a relationship. Thank God for ‘Grace’ the time between relationships as this is an opportunity to look within instead of outside of ourselves to find the love that we are.

  34. I have put being in a relationship on a pedestal, so what ever happened I was always trying to get the relationship going, for I held a belief that if it ended, I had failed in some way. Its amazing when we feel how crazy of behavior is. I am now building towards a body that does not allow abuse, not even to fit a picture, my relationship with my own growth and evolution needs to take top priority now.

  35. The more we are honest with what is abusive, the more we are willing to see how much abuse exists. When our nature is loving, anything that is not, becomes a form of abuse.

  36. Our essence is love, and I agree we are all deeply tender, ‘Both men and women know tenderness, and tenderness is true when we choose to live it, no matter what gender we are.’

  37. The more deeply and thoroughly we love ourselves – the more deeply and thoroughly we can love other people and help them know how amazing they are – ultimate inspiration to really get down to business when it comes to loving who we are.

  38. I have put men on a pedestal and lived with this many years, since I am developing a loving relationship with myself I can feel how abusive I have been towards the men in my life but also towards myself. It is a status quo that brings us, men and women nothing, it divides, makes room for competition and manipulate, it encourages us to live what we are not.

  39. Thank you Adele for raising a very powerful point, about the abuse that exists in many relationships. Abuse is not just a violent interaction that can occur in a relationship but equally as damaging is the abuse that comes from not honoring our tenderness our, love within ourselves, and how we then share this loveless quality with others in our relationships. Even when we impose our neediness on another we are being abusive, as we are imposing our choice of lovelessness onto another with the expectation for them to fullfill us. Over the years I have discovered that the quality in which we hold ourselves, is the quality that we bring to our relationships, and the quality I now choose is love.

  40. You give us all something to ponder on and to deeply feel within our bodies, how is our relationship with men, do we blame the men for how we are with each other or do we take the responsibility to feel how we too have been an equal player in this game which caused the separation.

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