Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Truth be told...we just need space.

Sometimes it's scary to tell the truth, yet doing so serves us despite its difficulty. That is, if we are actually seeking a connection to another person. But even still, it can be so damn hard. It's like this: if I tell my husband that I need some quiet and don't feel like talking at a certain moment, his feelings may get hurt, he may think I am not there for him, and we'll have a wedge between us.  Right? Well, part of that might be true and surely he will have feelings. But can I accurately predict them? Could some good come from telling him what I need? Anything's possible. If I don't tell him though, there is only one possibility. A separation will exist. It's that unspoken energetic divide that produces long-term damage to relationships. When we don't take risks and open up space for our needs, we have no opportunity to have deeper, richer, honest understanding of others and they of us. When we keep our truths to ourselves in fear of that another might think, we are not allowing them the opportunity to really know us and love us. 

Having grown up playing the role of "peacekeeper" and "pleaser," it is a new discovery for me that my needs and feelings deserve space even if they conflict with someone else's. Allowing myself this space is a struggle I face everyday in all areas of my life.

Recently, while having dinner with my parents, I shared my excitement that my husband and I will be adopting a puppy early next year. Before getting another word out, my mother interrupted me and stated very firmly, "This is a directive from your mother. Do NOT buy a dog. There are many dogs in need of rescue." Her statement stopped me in my tracks. The first part, "This is a directive from your mother", immediately had my defensive mind rolling, "A directive from you? That's never worked on me," I thought to myself. Though I am a pleaser, I would often hear what she had to say, nodded my head and then do what ever I damn well pleased. The second part, "Do NOT buy a dog. There are many dogs in need of rescue." came as a surprise because I never saw my mother as someone who cared deeply for animals. She allowed us to have cats, but to me she seemed to simply coexist with them, rather than truly embrace them the way we did. Anyway, despite the wisdom in her statement, which I do believe has merit, she did not allow room for me, my opinion, my thoughts, my feelings or my needs. Because of this , my wall instantly went up. In fact for a moment I was compelled to do exactly the opposite of what she demanded. In truth, my husband and I have not yet decided whether we will buy a dog from a reputable breeder or adopt one from a shelter. We will have to carefully review all of our needs, including space, our city lifestyle, my husband's allergies and sensitivity to the fact that this will be our first dog.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reading between the lies

There is a guy. Let's call him Seth. He's a great guy – I will even go so far as to call him a catch. He's in his early 30s, tall, good looking, personable, funny, creative, successful, wants a family – and the list goes on. Is he perfect? No. He's got his issues (like the rest of us), but he's an all-around great guy.

Why do I bring him up? Well, he and his girlfriend of five years just broke up. Let's call this new ex Julie. A couple of weeks ago, Seth discovered Julie had been sex-texting with a co-worker. Not just cute flirting, but the full-on raunchy deal. The revelation of Julie's cheating crushed his heart and total sense of being.

Just within the past couple of months, the couple had finally started talking seriously about getting married and maybe starting a family. Lately, it seemed Julie had come around to wanting the same things as Seth – to build a solid life together. It was a welcomed change since all along, she had been wavering about whether or not she wanted to get married, have kids, etc... Actually, the one thing that seemed clear about her was that she was never quite sure about anything. She didn't know what she wanted to do with her life, where she wanted to live, what career path to take and whether to ever fully commit to her relationship.

Seth, now five years into this, is heartbroken, jealous, angry and on some level still wanting nothing more than for Julie to realize the err of her ways and see what a great guy he really is. The truth is, it doesn't matter what she sees. He's the one who needs to see his own worth. And when he does, he will no longer try to once again mend a relationship with a woman who will never love him the way he deserves.

So many of us find ourselves in similar situations. Even though the particulars may be different, we can be unable to extract ourselves from unhealthy relationships, unsatisfying jobs, etc., for fear of the unknown alternatives. When we finally come up for air, our time "invested" can feel like time "wasted" and no one wants to feel that way. Sometimes it seems easier to stay in the dark. In the end though, every mistake we make has something to teach us. But we can only see it if we choose to take the risk and make a change. The struggle and pain we endure while making needed change are the essence of growth and the only path to a happier future.

I have no doubt Seth will come out the other side of this better than ever – if he just stays with what his deepest truth tells him and doesn't give in to the fear of the journey.

Sound Advice

One thing I have learned in my life is that the answers most of us are looking for, we already know. They live within us beneath that part that doesn't want to see or is afraid. Because of this, we often need a little help uncovering them from someone without judgment or anything to gain by keeping our individual hopes, wants, needs and truths in the dark.

We all have well-meaning friends and family, who know exactly what it would take to solve our problems. And while it's often great to get insight from those who know us best, there are also some things we prefer not to share with them for whatever reason. There are also times when the people closest to us can't separate themselves from their own feelings – so they cannot be objective and honest.

So, I start this blog to offer anyone who is looking for some sound advice my ear and my thoughts. Take from it what you will. I am no life expert, just someone who is here to listen and offer some perspective.