Super] Love: Lyndsay Russell meets a writer who says changing the habits of a lifetime can transform your relationships

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The Independent Online
I SEEM to be surrounded by friends who feel they're in a rough relationship - or say it's rough without a relationship.

Wouldn't it be great if we could all solve our love lives in just a couple of hours? Well, Anne Naylor promises to do just that with a private consultation for pounds 200. If life in the nearest monastery sounds preferable to coughing up that amount for one session, you could be making a big mistake.

Anne, 45, author of Superlove and Superlife, has been commuting for 14 years between America (to gather techniques) and Britain (to distribute them), spreading the word like a modern-day Cupid. Her intimate one-off session may well be attractive to those who abhor group workshops, and others who shy from years of private therapy. 'Conventional psychoanalysis concentrates on traumatic events that may have affected you. It can take years, and you get nowhere. It's not necessary. What I try and do is show people how to move forward, not hold on to the past.'

I took along a friend who was sufficiently confused to merit mental untanglement. 'I'm so nervous,' quailed Emily, 27. In a telephone conversation beforehand, Anne had asked her to prepare an 'objective' that she hoped the session would attain. 'All I really want,' Emily confided, 'is to enjoy a relationship that is going well, and not do what I usually do - destroy it.'

Anne began by gently asking what seemed to be the main problem. Cautiously, Emily repeated what she had told me on the way. 'I've started a relationship with an absolute dream hunk, but already I'm finding fault. I always do this, and I think its going to get worse.' 'Any idea what causes this?' Emily answered: 'I was in a four-year relationship a couple of years ago, then he left me completely out of the blue. I can't help thinking something awful will happen. Once they really get to know me, they won't want me.' Anne clapped her hands. 'That's lovely. Once you know what's underneath, you can change what's on top. Awareness

is one thing, but you need to be able to act on that information.

'Now, what are these awful things you feel about yourself - what is it men would find hard so to accept?' Emily hesitated, then launched into a surprising list. 'Personality. Physical appearance. Habits, moods. And work. I do unsociable shiftwork.' Surprising, because she is one of the most sweet, beautiful and composed women I've ever met. 'What is it that you feel is wrong with your personality?' Anne asked. 'I'm not lively enough. Not bubbly or amusing.'

Anne smiled: 'We hold images in our head of the 'perfect person' and judge ourselves

against it. The fact is, the opposite is also attractive. You strike me as a woman who is soft, sensitive and gentle.' This was spot on. Emily has an air of tranquillity all her friends envy. Yet she had never perceived this quality, or recognised its value.

'I'm also over-tidy, and get sulky when people aren't punctual,' bleated Emily. 'If I ask my boyfriend to be tidy and make an effort and he doesn't - I get really upset.' Anne asked: 'What are you really saying?' 'That if he thought I was important enough, he'd make the effort.'

'Ah, so you depend on others to judge how important you are? If you could build a stronger

sense of self-worth, you wouldn't care. You'd find it easier to use humour instead of anger to defuse a situation. And as you change, so will they.'

To describe the whole of the next two hours would take several pages, but Emily did make one self-discovery that shook her: she works in the glamorous but superficial world of television. Her dream, she confessed, is to leave her highpowered job and become a nursery teacher at a Montessori school.

'Emily,' said Anne, 'we often teach what we really need to learn: to communicate openly. I suggest you should change your job and try for what you truly want to do. You can always return to television. But this is more important. As you teach the children, the child within you will also learn. As you become sure of how easy it is to express yourself, so you will with men.'

On leaving, Anne handed Emily a list of exercises from her books. 'Changing lifetime habits is like turning the wheel of an ocean liner. It's slowly progres-

sive. Keep up the exercises, and the effects will really show three months to a year from now.'

The way Emily was bubbling on the way home, the effects seemed to be showing in 30 seconds. 'It was like talking to a wise friend. I always thought it was more powerful not to show any emotions, now I realise it's more powerful to express them. I've been blind to the obvious. If I open up to my partner, he'll trust me enough to open up to me. The idea of communicating more openly is exciting - I suddenly feel so in control.'

Join Anne Naylor at our super seminar

READERS can learn more about Anne Naylor's techniques by taking advantage of a special offer and competition.

Anne's book Superlove is about how to create and establish long-term relationships, and will appeal to people from all walks of life and age groups who have problems with partners, colleagues, or members of their family.

If you would like to buy a copy, send your name, address, and where possible a daytime telephone number, with a cheque for pounds 5.99 - payable to Thorsons Mail Order - to Superlove, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB. Postage and packing are free. Allow 28 days for delivery.

Twelve competition winners will spend a day with Anne Naylor at the luxurious Sheraton Park Tower hotel in London. The event, on Thursday 10 November, will feature a seminar with Anne about her personal growth programme and also includes morning coffee, lunch, and afternoon tea. Readers who took part in a similar event earlier this year found it enjoyable and useful.

To enter, write to tell us, in no more than 20 words, what Superlove means to you. Closing date: Monday 31 October. No purchase necessary.

(Photograph omitted)