My rabbi once told me “don’t be so open minded that your brain falls out.” Sometimes when you work so hard on yourself and you want so much to do “the right” thing and be a good person, you can end up with one heck of a fake life. Is it possible to be so wrapped up in playing a role perfectly that you could miss some really major truths like: I don’t belong in this career, I don’t belong with this life partner? Those are two really big things we can easily end up lying about, with seemingly the best intentions. Perhaps this explains job dissatisfaction and the divorce rate.
The intention in the work we do using the Handel Method ™ is to avert big mistakes as far in advance as possible. This past weekend I was away with 13 girlfriends and as gals tend to do, we talked and talked about our relationships, our sex lives, etc. A lot of us have it really good, but there was one who didn’t (we’ll call her Deidre). She had quite a wake up call, sitting with us and listening to our stories of romance and good sex. Glaring in her face was the lack of passion and connection in her relationship. Sometimes we can’t see what we are in the middle of until we come into community and start listening and talking. The truth trickled, and then spilled out, in gasps and sobs, ending with “I am not happy!” Wow. That was a big revelation, but, thank goodness, we caught it pre-nuptials.
And it wasn’t just about the sex. The sex was a symptom. It seems noble to work really hard fitting a square peg into a round hole, but sometimes the coaching is: tell the truth about the shape of the peg!
Just try a “no” on for size by saying it out loud. “This is not my true love.” It could be about your hairstyle, your home, your job, or your lover. This is an example of what I call a “profound no.” Often we teach people how to say “yes” to risks (new jobs, potential mates, etc.) even when they are scared. People experience profound advances in life by saying “yes”, but sometimes what is even more powerful is the TRUTH of a no. Oh, you are just as scared to say “no” as to say “yes.”
When my dear friend Deidre first started realizing her fiancé was perhaps not “the one,” she had to process a lot:
- but I have been working so hard on this
- but my mother loves him
- but what if the break up devastates him?
- but maybe sex is not that important to me?
- but what about all his great qualities?
- but my friends think we fit perfectly
- what if there IS nothing better out there?
- where will I live?
- who will be with me when I am lonely?
- who will help me with the things he used to help me with?
- how will I tell him?
- how will I navigate the next few days?
See how much the mind rebels against change, even if it is for the best? This is why it is so hard to call it what it is and tell the truth about something that doesn’t work. In our experience though, once you do, the world realigns. The first true confession leads to the next until those who’ve been listening start to spill their own. Whenever we are lying to ourselves about relationships, we can be sure we aren’t the only ones. Our speaking the truth leads the trend and more revelations can be expected. Suddenly, how all the facts were configured, in such a way to justify and bolster staying together, changes and the new configuration makes a whole new future possible for everyone involved. Ultimately, when the pain and fear of change subsides, there will be relief. I promise.
Try this test; say it out loud, in the mirror and then to someone who loves you: “This is not my true love.” Be with that. Then write your list of excuses and reasons (as I demonstrated above) and call them just that. There will always be a list of good reasons to stay with the status quo. Deidre was going for perfection, working her butt off to make things turn out and to be the one who could overcome so many obstacles and keep her relationship together (seems like a good plan, right?).
Love takes work, but it shouldn’t be that hard. Tell the truth and set yourself free. If you need a pep talk, comment on my blog. Community support sure helps when you take a bold step to change the course of your life. Deidre is still sorting through her situation and hasn’t decided if she will leave or stay with her partner. Her community is supporting her through it and we know she is on the path now of telling the truth rather than perfecting a role. Now that sounds like the recipe for a happy marriage!
I’m here Deidre. I love you.
If you read this far and you relate to Deidre, know your friends will see you through too.