If anyone knows about trauma, it’s Bella Maree Lane. Her harrowing story is almost beyond belief – and that’s precisely why she won’t let it define her. It’s also why she believes it’s best for her clients to heal their past trauma before looking for future love.
“It’s firstly about healing yourself,” she says, explaining that awareness and creating a loving, healthy relationship with that person in the mirror every morning is a crucial first step. “People need to be willing to forgive and respect themselves first before they can build healthy, nourishing relationships with others,” she adds.
Bella suffered rape and kidnap at gunpoint, domestic abuse, a threatening stalker – and a life-threatening car accident. Yet she defiantly rejects being cast as a victim and has recently started dating again.
Some things don’t change however. Fear of rejection remains a primary barrier to dating for everyone, yet it is felt even more acutely by those who have suffered trauma.
“Fear of rejection drives us towards self-protection which is perfectly natural and healthy,” says Bella. “The difficulty arises when past experiences and traumas cause us to automatically live in either a state of constant vigilance and protection, or to subconsciously avoid any and all situations where rejection could happen.”
This prevents us from opening up to others, she says. “Equally as difficult, if you have a sensitive soul, is the experience of having to reject another person. It can cause you to feel guilty, awkward and embarrassed.” Also, feeling afraid and generally uncomfortable further sows the seed of avoidance.
Bella suggests to her clients that they always come from a space of respect and authenticity. “Saying something like, ‘I really appreciate your time, unfortunately I didn’t feel that special little romantic click I’m seeking’. I encourage my clients to never criticize or make the other person feel wrong.”
Bella also acknowledges that it’s fine to choose not to date, and advises that it’s worth working out whether you’ve made that decision for the right reasons. “It’s important to consider why, and it might simply be what you really want. If so, that’s perfect. But if it’s in reaction to having been hurt, it’s not necessarily what you want, it’s what you feel safest doing.”
Solo to Soulmate
Having already successfully coached over 1,000 clients, Bella has just launched a new paid program for people looking to start dating again. The emphasis in this program is on authentic dating and healing heart wounds, which may be standing in the way of finding your special person.
Her ‘Solo to Soulmate – the Path to Authentic Love’ centers on the art of dating with five separate modules taking people through the steps they need to successfully navigate the dating minefield – which can often trigger past unhealed traumas.
“The point of taking the blanket off someone’s heart wounds is to help them return to a more authentic, healed state,” says Bella. “They can then create the life they really want.” Bella feels it’s important for her clients to know when feelings of fear or shame arise, so they can take steps to avoid repeating old, unhealthy patterns that prevent them moving towards finding love.
She goes on to explain that people need to learn the skill sets and the tools to know how to deal with that anxiety. “To learn to regulate their nervous system, recognize when they’re triggered, and take responsibility. I help my clients develop awareness and insight into self and others. This is the key to truly changing your dating and relationship experiences.”
Echoing Bella’s own refusal to be a victim defined by her trauma, she says that recovering from previous problems is a journey, not a destination. It has many aspects including taking responsibility when appropriate, learning to set and keep healthy boundaries, and developing compassion for yourself.
A Personal Connection
Bella says that so many of us have probably experienced heartbreak which is never fun. Given that we are hardwired to avoid pain, many of us have declined the heart healing work necessary to recover and to learn to trust and be open to love again. “It’s all well and good to blame the other person but that’s not really going to help, you have to be willing to look at yourself. Getting clear on who you would like to date, shared values, preparing a great profile and photos, and making sure above all that it is authentic is the key.”
The new program includes modules on healing the past, self-love, authenticity, dealing with divorce and rejection, defining your values, creating your dating profile, identifying and changing destructive relationship patterns, setting boundaries, attracting & keeping the right person.
While the ‘Solo to Soulmate’ program will be conducted online, as so much of people’s lives have been in a COVID world, Bella is intent on ensuring that clients still feel personally connected.
To ensure that all-important personal touch, Bella will be conducting 90-minute live group coaching workshops every Saturday, to reflect on that week’s topic.
“I will be there teaching, taking Q&A and offering my personal guidance and support on all topics dating-related for an hour and a half each week. In the sixth week, I have committed to staying online until all relevant questions have been addressed. Even if it takes six hours, I will stay on until we’re done. I want my clients to go away feeling fully equipped and enthusiastic about successfully taking on the dating world.”
Her other programs and classes include emotional freedom, relationship enrichment, conscious intimacy, chemistry and attraction and tantra, with sessions on healing after divorce, dating again, and how to build healthy relationships.
Above all, she says that trauma is not something to be ashamed of, but something to learn from. “Regardless of what you have been through, you are not your story. Your story does not need to define who you are and your life experiences.”