You know those times when you occasionally find yourself bitching that if you had really known your spouse was stingy with his freaking feelings (instead of warm, passionate and 90% shirtless like Jamie Fraser from Netflix’s Outlander), you might never have married him? Even if, yes, you (sorta) realize Jamie is not real?
What’s up with that? Why would we (I mean me) pick stingy over fuzzy?
Well, although we weren’t taught how to human better in high school, we don’t have to have excelled at elementary school math to find the common denominator in our life’s laundry list of complaints (i.e. my spouse is stingy, my boss is a narcissist, my kids are ingrates, and my metabolism is why I’m overweight). Right? The common denominator of that list is, uh, YOU.
Okay, so here’s the perfect example in my marriage.
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As a life coach, I have my own coach, and just as I hold my clients to their weekly promises, my coach holds me accountable to mine. One of my weekly promises, in order to make sure I always feel connected to my husband, is to hug him twice a day. Not like one of those quickie, fake hugs I might do as I pass him in the hallway on my way to do something, but a long, deep, heartfelt hug.
So, the other day, I spotted him in the kitchen while I was sitting in the living room working on my laptop. Quickly, I clicked send on my email and headed into the kitchen to fulfill my promise to hug my man and be proud of myself. Mind you, I didn’t check to see if it was a good time for him. Who cares. Not my problem. Oh, all right, the truth is, my calendar alert went off, reminding me to hug him and I had already pushed snooze twice.
So, I waltz right up to my unsuspecting, Israeli husband of 25 years and give him a deep, long hug. Fifteen seconds into my hugely generous hug, (you might need to sit down for this one) I feel the man actually grab a Bounty Extra Absorbent Paper Towel and start wiping the kitchen counter.
Now, ladies (and the one man reading this), take a deep breath — I certainly did.
As luck would have it, my years of training and an unused Lamaze breathing technique class came in handy as time slowed down and I saw before me the two paths I could take:
- Path #1: The Dirt Path. A much easier choice, where I righteously and justifiably spew, “I give you my heart and stop what I am doing to hug you and you clean the counter?! You motherf*&cker, I will never hug the likes of you like that again.” Exhale.
- Or, Path #2: The Higher (several years of coaching later) Paved Path. The I could slow down and actually see something funnier — the I married ME road. I am him. I am a stingy motherf*&cker too.
Take a look — where did you marry you?
Not kidding. If you are really willing to look, you will uncover that, like me, you too sneakily married some version of yourself (or worse). And by marrying an equal, or even worse version of yourself, it brilliantly allowed you to pretend that it’s them who is the problem, not you.
What? It couldn’t be ME! Sorry, nice try. It’s you. Now, start looking.
Maybe you married a bigger slob than you so you would look organized and divert attention from your own sloppiness. Maybe you married an anti-social or quiet man so you come off open and honest and don’t have to deal with the fact that you are actually a fake and a withholder, disguised as a talker.
Peas in a pod, that’s me and my Israeli husband – stingy and stingier.
Now, don’t get me wrong, my man is definitely stingy and he should have stayed being hugged a couple more second rather than picking up the darn 2x as thick Bounty towel to wipe up the coffee grinds. BUT isn’t it perfect that I picked him to make me look like a hugger.
Genius of me, no? My Bonnie to his Clyde.
At first, the investigating of where you and your partner are two peas in a pod may feel uncomfortable and confronting. But if you’re willing to get the karmic joke of it all, and just smirk and see where you need to work on you, you can do something about it. The moment I finally understood that I was the source of all the crap (and all the great) in my life, as opposed to pointing my finger elsewhere, was the moment I was able to actually change.
If you can see that your loudest complaints about anything/anyone but yourself are more than likely pointing out something equally criminal about you, a whole world of bigger, bolder actions you could take will open up. They may be, perhaps less fun, but certainly more productive than bitching.
And that’s where the WHEW lives. And, few live there. Care to join me?
P.S. The moment you realize that “to human” is a verb, everything changes. The power is back where it belongs and where it’s always been… in your hands. Inner.U®: Learn to Human Better™ is the online coaching course from Handel Group that teaches you how to hack into your own life, see the whole picture, and connect your dots. It’s the class we never had in high school, but seriously needed. Hmm. Humaning vs. Precalculus? Exactly…