This is a little hard to come out and admit, but for many years I was in an abusive relationship. My partner was cruel, demanding and overwhelming. I was constantly doing and doing but never getting anything in return. I was anxious. There was tons of drama. I could never get enough of what I needed. We fought constantly and these fights left me feeling exhausted and ineffective.
Why would I stay in a relationship like this? Well, I could not see a way out. I simply could not just cut my losses and walk away from this partner. I’m talking about my relationship with time.
Think about it. We are all in a relationship with time and generally speaking, it is a pretty dysfunctional one. In my relationship with time, I felt like a powerless victim with too much to do and not enough time to do it.
In coaching, I was informed I could change my relationship with time. Like in all relationships addressed by the Handel Method® — the idea is that when it comes to who’s going to make THAT change, they quip: “maybe it is you.”
This means that if you are in a relationship that is not working, the best way to fix it is to look at where you are contributing to the problem In my relationship with time, I was being dishonest, I was out of touch and I was selfish. I guess I wasn’t such a good partner myself. If you are curious about what I mean: read my explanations and see if they sound familiar.
I told myself that I could do it all. I said yes to things when I should have said no. I added more and more to my to do list and was completely unrealistic about how much time it would take. Unfortunately, I was “stuck” with the same 24 hours in my day to fit everything into. On top of that, when I would write out list of tasks each morning, I conveniently left out many important details like travel time, eating, personal hygiene, checking email, conversations and many other things that seemed to trivial to consider individually but which added up to a significant amount of time each day. No wonder I was always running late…
2. CHECKING OUT:
Along with not being honest about what I could fit into a day, I was doing things that simply did not matter. At Handel Group®, we describe time as being one of the most important currencies of our lives. Looking at it this way, it becomes clear that we ought to spend it wisely. In my life, my top three priorities are my marriage, my family and my relationship with myself. So why was I spending so much time doing “research” on the internet and watching sports on TV then using “not enough time” as an excuse for not having sex with my wife or spending time playing with my children? Seeing where I was wasting time (and being honest about it) allowed me to realign the time I spend with the things that matter most to me.
I just did not like to stop doing what I was doing when it was time to stop doing it. For example, if I was in the middle of a project and it was time to wrap it up and move on to the next task, I’d start bargaining and whining in my head. “I can finish this quickly, it is just ten more minutes. I am almost done and whatever I need to do next can wait.” The problem is, ten minutes turns into ten more and the task that I have put off, starts to feel bigger and less pleasant in my mind. It grows and creates drama, which also eats up my time. Learning to be great about starting and stopping a task on time is the best to minimize this drama and to tame the “brat” in us who whines for “just a little more time…”
Learning to look at my experience of time as a relationship and seeing where I have been a less than perfect partner has caused a shift from feelings of antagonism, scarcity and victimhood to something that I have control over. I still have the same 24 hours in the day, just as before, but by being more honest about what I can do in a day, scheduling my day according to my highest values, and by learning to talk back to my inner brat, I now have a relationship with time that makes me feel proud and powerful. I now get laid a lot more too.