1. Do Your Own Work
2. Know What You Want
The expanded version below:
- Do your own work.
Everyone has been hurt. We’ve all had disappointing experiences in our relationships – and some have been down right nasty and even traumatic. It’s important to do the work on yourself not just while you’re in a relationship but more important in between relationships. Otherwise what happens is that you won’t really get the introspction you need before you find yourself in the next one and often what happens is you just sort of drag your old wounds and baggage along with you.
And we live in this society where Hollywood and internet quotes abound – along with some marriage therapists and self help guides that perpetuate myths like… you complete me… just follow your heart… find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack your baggage… your partner should meet your unmet needs, fill up your love tanks. It’s garbage. It really is… let me puncture the bubble for you on this fairytale of gaggability – and don’t get me wrong – I’m not a relationship cynic, I am a swoonable romantic – but I’m also a realist. And I know this… the only person you need to complete you… or fix you or make you happy, fulfill your needs… IS YOU!
It’s your job…your responsibility and no one else and until you get that you are going to be prone to a chronic pattern of dissappointment because no one else deserves the pressure or responsibility for trying to make up what you lack within yourself. This is the first myth you must toss out. There’s value in the love tanks as far as awareness of what your partner responds to and how they feel loved – but let’s be real about the level your tanks are at – are you living in the land of expectation hoping for someone else to fill you up all the time? yikes. This is no good. You need to be accountable for your own life and happiness and fulfillment so you can enter into a relationship a healthy, happy, whole person already seeking another healthy happy whole person. And then you give to one another out of abundance – not deficiency or obligation. It’s a way less self focused way to exist in and out of a relationship and this tip alone will change your whole life and radically alter your perspective on connection and love.
You don’t want to be focusing on someone else to help unpack your baggage. Why do you have baggage in the first place? Because you haven’t done your work. Walking around holding your wounds from how many previous heartaches is an excuse for not doing your work to heal and move forward and be honest about the role you played in that experience.
We make those choices in our lives – if you’ve consistently chosen unreliable, unavailable, unhealthy, or downright crazy people to be in your lives you need to stop everything and figure out why and fix it. Because the common denominator is you – not all the crazies – you chose the crazy – we either attract what we are or we can become what we attract – don’t become the crazy – let’s fix it. No baggage or excuses please.
How do you know you do this? If you husband left you 10 years ago for someone else – are you still talking about it? How many times have you started a new relationship and managed your anxiety around vulnerability by putting your hand up and saying “well you see… I have trust issues.” Hello! Everyone with a dating history has trust issues – this is not unique – being lied to cheated on disillusioned disappointed heartbroken – these are not exclusive or special – they are common like the gum on my shoe. We need to stop talking about it – stop using it as a crutch to self sabotage and start getting to work.
2. Know what you want.
I have clients as early as their teens start getting really clear on what they want. And this can change, so be flexible – and know that this is not a checklist. If you have a checklist you throw that away right now! People don’t fit into boxes and if you try to make them or change them what you lose is the opportunity to really get to playfully explore and be curious about the unique make up of someone else and what makes them tick. What I’m saying though is be specific and clear about what’s important to you – your values, your attachment style, how you spend downtime, how much affection you like, what hobbies you hope to share, how you want to spend your money, your retirement, your sunday mornings. No one is going to become this list and there’s no perfect partner out there. But knowing what would be optimal and focusing on that gives you a better chance of attracting it, seeing it when it comes, being ready for it.
What we focus on gets bigger – if you’re focusing on what you don’t want and all the baggage that plays in the sandbox with that – you’re going to end up with more it. Value and respect yourself enough to keep your focus. If I really want a steak dinner- with wine and dessert and that experience of good ambience and a nice view but as I’m walking out the door Domino’s hot and ready pizza shows up. Am I going to be distracted by the hot and ready because it’s there… and ready… and hot… or am I going to maintain focus for what I really want that is really going to satisfy me. And don’t say – well you can have both. That’s not the point and you know it. Pizza is a dime a dozen from anywhere and it’s all relatively the same – so if all you’re good enough for is pizza – have as much as you want. You’ll get bored and fat on it but it’s always your choice – live by your own value system. If you want something satisfying and really know what that is – hold the focus – like all things for what you really want and deserve.
A healthy relationship leaves the garbage cliche’s and the baggage behind because the individual work has been done – you’ve accepted responsibility for you life and where you are today. You give out of abundance and positivity, not deficiency and need – in fact needy relationships have become distasteful to you. You are secure in yourself and so communication flows easily, you’re able to develop trust and vulnerability and experience the best of what relationships are supposed to be for us – a safe haven to come back to after we’ve spent the day as warriors of the rest of our lives. Know what you want – hold to it – but be flexible. No more excuses or crutches, stop talking about your issues – get to work.
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