A Checklist of Love–For Singles and Couples

“When you feel worthy and nourished, you can reach out for your needs, and it’s okay to reach out and take, instead of give, give and give. When it (that sense of worthiness is missing), it’s give, give, and give, coming from that feeling of I’m not that deserving, or I’m not enough.” ~ Dr. Gary Salyer

A few Sundays ago I was watching a “chick flick,” called The Ugly Truth, with a friend.

The Rotten Tomatoes’ movie review rated the film at only 14 percent (although audience “likes” were 60 percent) claiming: “Despite the best efforts of Butler and Heigl (the actors), The Ugly Truth suffers from a weak script that relies on romantic comedy formula, with little charm or comedic payoff.”

While the movie lacked the levels of humor the reviewers may have liked, I found The Ugly Truth to be in rich in content for this one reason: It showed that we know we are loved based on how someone makes us feel, not based on their  credentials.

So often we make a list of requirements for what we want in a relationship based on character traits.  Those are important to consider. I have helped clients for decades refine what they want in a relationship with those types of lists, as well as guide them through the important inner work of clearing limits from past conditioning and patterns.

Yet, character alone does not determine one’s ability to love well and become a “we” in relationship, versus operate as an “I.” The “we” mentality is a necessary ingredient of a healthy, long-lasting relationship, according to Dr. Gary Salyer.

In his book, Safe to Love Again, (which complements the neuroscience and EFT techniques I use in my coaching business to help clients rewire their brains to attract and sustain love), Salyer shares there are FOUR FEELINGS one must have to feel loved and have a LASTING relationship. These feelings are ingrained in us during the first two years of life, he says, and if you did not receive them as a child, they can be rewired in now.

He calls these tips below “a GPS for navigating your relationships and knowing when you have found true love” (and if you are a couple this list might help you see what is missing and that which might need ‘fixing’).


1. You are welcomed with joy (The other person lights up when they see you).

2. You feel worthy and nourished (The other person is thinking about your preferences and reaching out to meet/respond to your needs and vice versa; he or she is caring and attuned to you).


  1. You feel cherished and protected (You know the other person has your back and is supporting you. You get to be a “me,” explore and become your fullest self, and then return to the safety net of the “we”).
  2. You feel empowered with choice (You can be who you are and have a right to assert your truth and create your own interior experience to be fully human, both good and bad, loving and unloving, strong and weak, which gives each partner the ability to be vulnerable and intimate. And, you also make choices as a “we”).

Salyer claims, in interviews he has given about his book, that if #1, “Feeling welcomed with joy,” is missing, you can play more with that concept by showing up on dates with a more fun attitude. Or, if you are part of a couple, try waking up with these words, “Good morning, gorgeous,” or at the end of a workday, say: “I’m so happy to see you.”

If #2, “You feel worthy and nourished” is lacking in relationship, you may want to consider outside help to work through other deep-seated issues.

When #3, “Feeling cherished and protected,” and #4, “Feeling empowered with choice” are missing, you may be in a toxic relationship, according to Salyer.


The exciting news is that the brain is wired for love from birth; sometimes it just needs some reprogramming. In my experience as a coach for 20 years, transforming limiting or toxic patterns is often deep and courageous work, requiring the loving and compassionate witness of another’s skilled presence.

So often clients tell me—particularly those who are at midlife—that it feels overwhelming to change the story to attract or sustain long-lasting love. Yet, I have had the honor of guiding many others to do just that–get remarried at age 58 or older, or deepen a 30-year marriage.

I also have worked with younger adults, helping them instill a strong sense of worthiness, from which they can make better relationship, career and lifestyle choices.

The key words I offer all my clients are these: YOU ARE WORTHY of the REAL DEAL, someone who is there for you, and delights in being both EMOTIONALLY and PHYSICALLY available.

And, if you have been waiting for the “right” relationship, know this: to attract or grow those healthy feelings of love, you have to become the love you want to receive, which often requires a commitment to doing the inner work, freeing yourself from past conditioning.

To learn more, or set up a free, 30-minute consult, email gailjones@claimyourworthiness.com.

With love and gratitude,


Part of living from a “we” mentality is the joy I get from sharing the talents of others, particularly my photographer friends. Judy Miller, a hospice nurse, is one of those friends. Here is what she says of life behind the camera lens: “Life is in the moment, and photography takes one moment and lets it be immortalized.” She captured this above photo of the giraffes while on a safari n Kenya. She chose to share this particular picture because in her words: “Observing these two giraffes with the juxtaposition of their necks, spoke to me of the mingling of our glorious uniqueness and vulnerability – in short… love.”  



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  • Rich s. says:

    Wonderful message about achieving and sustaining successful and loving relationships. Caring, commitment, and compassion are some of the main drivers, and if you can have fun along the way, all the better!

  • kristine says:

    I love the reminder that love is our birth right, not something to be earned!
    Love is always present within us, not something gained because of the number of degrees we have or because of the dollar figure in our bank accounts.

    This is so important, Gail, as you so gently remind us: when there is joy in our relationships/friendships, our interactions with others reflect the beauty of both ourselves and the other person. A sense of worthiness and nourishment are natural to our relationships– that when these are present, we can blossom in relationship to each other.

    Beautifully said, Gail! Thank you.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Wonderful insights about the joy reflecting back to others, Kristine, as we experience healthy relationships. And yes, love is not “earned,” except by care, commitment and attention. Blessings, Gail

  • Doug Jones says:

    As a client of Gail’s, I know how important it is to do the inner work before you can be a successful partner in a relationship.

    For years I have been dating by checking off boxes that met my self-imposed criteria.

    Little did I know, that in order to bring that which I desired into my life, I needed to claim it within, then project it outwardly.

    By working with Gail, I was able to remove my own limiting beliefs, to gain that self-confidence that comes from knowing the secret to attracting the right kind of people to me.

    I am now able to use my masculinity and self-worthiness in order to project outwardly the love that I wish to attract back to me.

    It’s true. You only get what you give, but you need to know how to give what you need!

    When you do find your true partner, you may find that they give you more than you ever knew you needed!

    True love isn’t always about giving. Sometimes it’s about knowing how to receive the gifts that are offered to you in a loving way!

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Doug: Glad you’re enjoying dating from a new foundation of worthiness. You courageously faced the inner saboteurs, sticking with the process of rewiring the brain for new possibilities and opening your heart to more joy and love. You have much to celebrate. Blessings, Gail

  • Gail,

    l appreciate your reminder that love is our birthright & our brains are hard-wired for love. So really, it’s just a matter of getting free of the limiting beliefs that interfere with our true nature. I can personally vouch for allowing in a wonderful partner once I claimed my worthiness & refused to settle for less!

    Thanks for the good work you are doing!


    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Lyndra: Thank you for “being” a real life example of the type of coaching work I provide–and that it works!!! Rewiring for love is an inside job–and is best done BEFORE going online or elsewhere looking for love. I loved that you refused to settle for less than what you knew you are worth, and have been happily married for years (and found love later in life)! Settling is one of the major blocks to claiming our worthiness. Keep sharing your own wisdom and joyful light on the world…you are a blessing to many. With love and appreciation, Gail

  • Cynthia says:

    Gail, your message is truly resonating with me. I have had the honor of being loved by two men in my life. What you say about being cherished is so true. As a child I was fortunate to have a father who made me believe I was beautiful. In fact, it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realized I was just an average looking girl. But the gift my father gave me was that I did know what it meant to be cherished and to be thought of as special. My first husband showed me in so many ways that I was truly loved and important. When he died after 27 years of marriage I stayed single for five years. Then I fell in love with another man. But I knew in a very deep part of me that I wasn’t cherished. I loved this man deeply but my gut understood it was not equally reciprocated. Luckily, I listened to my inner wisdom and ended the relationship. Then I met my current husband. Like you said in your article, he lights up when he sees me. We are very different and, if I had just focused on attributes of my “wish list” we wouldn’t be married now. He is athletic and loves to golf and swim and bike; I like to read books. He is a conservative republican; I am NOT. He loves to sail and even named his sailboat after me; I would much rather walk on the beach than be in it. Somehow, none of that matters. He loves me and he shows it to me everyday. I know I am blessed. Your insights about a healthy relationship are a powerful and authentic truth. Thank you sharing them.

    • Gail Kauranen Jones says:

      Cindy: Thank you for sharing with us insights into your most precious relationships, and what it “feels” to know you are loved. Your examples are beautiful, and go far beyond those wish lists. Bless you, Gail

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