There’s no greater feeling than love. Most of us would not dispute that statement. Romantic love is especially intoxicating. When we’re in love, our senses come alive. Colors become more vibrant. Food tastes more delicious. The feel of our partner’s skin next to ours is exhilarating. Our hearts burst open and all feels right with the world.

However, despite our natural instincts to love and be loved, the unfortunate truth is that many of us struggle in love. We may be in relationships that drain us. We may have partners who don’t appreciate us or betray us. We may have difficulty even finding a mate, and spend years on our own, asking ourselves why others have loving, supportive relationships and we don’t.

As a sex, love, and relationship therapist, Laura Berman has been helping individuals and couples build better love and sex lives for the last 25 years. She believes that most of us struggle to find or sustain love because of the stories we tell ourselves about who are and what we deserve. “It all comes down to how worthy of love we feel we are,” she says. “Our relationships are reflections of how we feel about ourselves.”

Laura says that the stories we tell ourselves—like “All men cheat” or “Women can’t be trusted”—are so insidious and unconscious that we aren’t aware of the ways in which they affect our partners or our ability to find new love.

“We see Hollywood movies and imagine that true love fixes everything,” she says, “and then we’re devastated when we keep getting let down in love. But the truth is, it’s not until you fix yourself and the beliefs and behaviors that are standing in your way that you can really have or find the true love you deserve.”

The key, she says, is quantum love. Rooted in quantum physics, which suggests that we’re all pure energy made of atoms vibrating at different frequencies every second of the day and that “like attracts like,” quantum love posits that we are the creators of our realities, which includes our love lives. “If your future or present partner isn’t showing up for you,” Laura says, “it’s related to an unconscious process that most of us are oblivious to—our body’s energy. The emotions we hold create a system of neurochemicals that affect the frequency of the body. Quantum love teaches us how to harness the body’s atomic energy to create the relationship we desire.”

Laura says that the concept of quantum love is rooted in science. “A recent study asked mothers of newborns to leave their babies for a short period of time,” she explains. “In the interim, one group was asked to complete a stressful task, while the other group was asked to complete a simple task. When they returned to their children, the mothers who had completed the stressful task seemed almost immediately to emanate tension to their infants.”

Although the moms didn’t do or say anything in particular, their newborns started to cry and become agitated shortly after being reconnected with them. In fact, the babies’ heartbeats became more rapid as they matched the stressed-out heartbeats of their mothers. The researchers referred to this as “stress contagion.” Their results show that not only do babies become stressed in response to their mother’s agitation, but their very physiology changes as a result.

Laura says that most of us can immediately grasp and accept this concept, because we believe in the powerful, innate connection between mothers and babies. “For some reason, though,” she says, “we have a hard time believing that this energetic connection exists between us and other people, especially those with whom we have close, intimate relationships, like our partners.”

She suggests that, just as in the study, if we’re feeling stressed, unimportant, undeserving, angry, despairing, fearful, or victimized, for example—even if it’s unconscious—we will unwittingly create discord with our partners or attract partners who mirror those feelings. “But when you can hold a higher frequency, you can become a magnet for what you want,” she says.

The higher frequency she’s referring to is our “home” frequency. “It’s your natural state, your core aliveness,” she explains. “It’s that place of optimism, joy, and bliss. When you hold that higher frequency, even 51 percent of the time, and match it with a clear intention of what you really want in love, you will be amazed at what happens.”

Here’s how to elevate your emotional frequency:

Name the feeling you want to have. “What’s your biggest longing in love?” Laura asks. “If your problems in love were fixed today, how would you feel?” Maybe you want to feel peaceful, sexy, cherished, or respected. Whatever it is, Laura says, the crucial first step is to get clear on how you want to feel.

Be the feeling. “Visualize what you want and get into the feeling of having it now,” Laura says. “Don’t watch yourself. Employ all your senses. Move your body into that frequency.”

If you’d like to feel peaceful with a new love, for instance, you might imagine sitting side-by-side next to a roaring fire. Allow yourself to feel the warmth of the fire and marinate in the contentedness of being with your new beloved. Slow down your breathing, and open your heart to joy.

Alternatively, if you’d like a potentially difficult conversation with your spouse to go smoothly, imagine the back-and-forth of the conversation, but also allow yourself to feel relieved or delighted as you visualize its outcome. What’s important, says Laura, is to make the feelings real. “Stay in the feeling as much as you can,” she says. “This tricks the brain, which doesn’t know the difference between reality and a rehearsal. If you can stay in the feeling you desire just over half the time, pretty soon that’s what your love life will start looking like.”

Release your attachment to the outcome. “When you really need something to happen,” Laura says, “you’re in fear and scarcity.” Ironically, even though we may be crystal clear on what we want and are very good at embodying the emotions we most want to feel, we may unconsciously be creating the lack of what we want if our predominant feeling is the fear of not obtaining it. “If you say to yourself, I won’t be okay if I don’t get this,” Laura explains, “the result is that you’re not creating the energetic frequency of what you wish and it remains elusive.” The point, she says, is not to release your desire for what you want, but to release the desperate need for it happen.

It might feel silly to be alone in your living room pretending to dance joyfully with the man or woman of your dreams. But, if you can embody the feelings of what you want, Laura says your deepest needs will be fulfilled. “Quantum love is where amazing, satisfying, magic love happens—physically and emotionally,” she says.

If you’re in a relationship and you begin holding a higher energetic frequency, one of two things will typically happen. “Either your partner will match you there at this new level of energy and everything will improve for the better,” Laura says, “or things will evolve to a point that your life is expanding so much that it will not be so hard or painful to end things if your partner can’t match you where you’re at.”

Practicing the principles of quantum love can change all your relationships for the better, Laura maintains. “People will interact with you differently,” she says. “Difficult conversations will not be as difficult. Living in a space of power and possibility is an incredibly sexy and attractive space to be in. More of what you want just begins showing up.”

Originally published by Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health