It has been said that romance and finance are the two biggest issues in life. Probably quite true. I’m not certain I have ever been all that good at either, but it’s given me a great deal of opportunity to learn. In my forty years, I have had a few serious relationships and a handful of deep friendships. All of them have proven to be my greatest teachers. Relationships are essential to life. In fact “belonging” is a fundamental need. Be it to another or a tribe, we must belong. We are creatures designed to be with someone, even the ones who prefer to be alone, must in someway have a sense of belonging. The challenge is, how to handle this business of belonging, of relating, of being in relationship with someone. While they are essential, relationships are not easy. Even the really really good ones, have their challenges.
The most important thing I’ve learned is this:
“any time I am disturbed, invariably there is something wrong with me.”
Every single time, if I will look deep enough, something in me has been triggered by another person. They have simply pressed a button, my button. And, while they may have pressed it, all the energy attached to it, that is mine. Furthermore, a part of what they’ve touched on,in me, even if it’s only a small part, believes that they are right. That’s the part that erupts, lava like fuel, burning me up inside or spewing out with some sort of attack. If only I could keep my mouth shut long enough to figure out what in me has been triggered, then quite possibly I could leave them out of the equation all together.
For example, if you were to walk up to me and say, “you are an Indian woman.” I would not be triggered in the slightest. I would think, well, bless your heart, there’s a strong chance you are suffering from delusions and that would be the end of it. However if you walked up to me and said, “you’re so dramatic,” an internal warning flag would be raised. I spent a lot of time hearing about my “too-muchness” and it’s still a sensitive area. My gut reaction would be to point out some flaw I see in you, to retaliate and to do so quickly. Maybe in the moment I was being overly dramatic. Maybe I was making a mountain out of a mole hill, but it might take a bit before I noticed that little jewel of the truth, because I’d be much too busy addressing the part of me that was all worked up and needed you to know just how wrong you were.
The even deeper layer is, I wouldn’t actually be trying to prove you wrong. I would be trying to prove myself wrong, because I’m the one who actually believes what your saying. If I don’t believe you, I don’t have to make you right or wrong. Judgements roll off like water on a ducks back, unless I believe the judgement is true, that’s when they have power and that’s when they hurt.
The second most important thing I’ve learned, points back to the first thing,
IT’S NOT THEM.
Thank you to my friend, Morgan, that one is ingrained. I have argued with that one for a long time, “well of course it’s them, they are the ones driving me up the wall….”
No, love, it’s you believing what they say to be true that’s driving you up the wall. ARGHHH. What an unfortunate truth, how lovely it would have been if they could have been to blame and I would have been off the hook. And yet, how interesting that the common theme of all my relationships is me, which is the proof that “it’s not them”.
The third thing to a successful relationship for me,
I AM A FULL TIME JOB.
Basically, I don’t have the time to “work” on anybody else. I can just keep the focus on myself take my inventory, and that will soak up all the hours in the day. Just think of yourself as a shop and you are the shop keeper. If you spend all day at someone else’s shop, especially if you do it long enough, your shop will go to ruins. It’s easier to just mind your own self.
Lastly, but not at all least,
“DON’T TAKE YOURSELF SO SERIOUSLY”
Oh my word! I mean that one just about took me down. If you know me, you know, I can tend to lean towards thinking, what I have to say, MUST be said. When I, again, PAUSE, long enough to realize it most likely doesn’t need to be said and furthermore, if probably doesn’t need to be said by me, life goes a great deal more smoothly.
As one of our senior therapist at Onsite told me this week, “good luck with all that”. It’s not easy to take an honest look at ourselves. It’s much much easier to focus on what the other person did, giving us the opportunity to experience a sense of superiority and grandiosity, but it doesn’t get anybody anywhere when I do that.
So for now, sending you love wherever you are in the world and hoping you have a lifetime of wonderful relationships!