Over the years I’ve been facilitating inquiry, I’ve heard a ton of stressful beliefs about primary partners: lovers, husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends.
Perhaps you’ve had a few stressful thoughts about primary partners in your life, people you’re dating, lovers who wreak havoc in your life.
A few years ago, I was working with a woman who felt critical of her partner.
He’s so lackadaisical. He never follows through on anything. He doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do, ever. Tasks unfinished, no ambition, always playing computer games. He needs to lose weight.
That person should be different!!
If you’ve ever had a partner….or you can think of anyone at all (it doesn’t have to be a love interest) who has been lazy, left things unfinished, didn’t put the dishes away, didn’t clean up, took forever to finish the house project, failed to take the reins for the important event….
….let’s do The Work.
First, is it true?
Yes, said the woman doing The Work. I still remember how already she was tearing up and feeling the disappointment rush in.
Can you absolutely know it’s true that he never gets anything done, or that he should be more ambitious, or ought to clean up after himself more quickly, or become thin?
Yes. She was sure it was true. She was angry.
How do you react when you believe someone should be different than they actually are? What happens when you think he never gets anything done (and should) or works too slowly or isn’t reliable?
The fury was palpable.
This woman was so raging disappointed, she was holding back from sobbing.
I followed along with her, because I’ve had flickers of the same kinds of thoughts about my own husband.
He shouldn’t be playing that video game. He should be working on some house project. He’s looking at facebook again?! His stomach looks too big.
It’s like there’s an ideal version of this person you care about, and then the real thing….
….and you’re asking him to be the ideal version.
So who would you be without the belief that this human being on the planet, who happens to be connected with you closely, needs to be different, faster, quicker, more assertive, more full of plans, more a get-it-done type….
….in order for you to be happy?
Instantly, I’d be back with me. Noticing what makes me happy, all by myself.
I love movement, creating, building, accomplishing things. I love seeing something go from super dirty to really clean. I love projects. I have a ball getting things done.
I also love resting sometimes. Kicking back. Slowing down. NOT accomplishing anything. Meditating.
Without the belief that someone else ought to do more than they are, I myself am far more relaxed in their presence. I’m curious. I feel gentle towards them, not disappointed.
Turning the thought around: he’s just right.
How could that be as true, or truer?
It doesn’t mean you condone what he does.
It means you get to see genuine examples of how it could really be OK that he IS the way he is.
All his life experiences, all his interactions and learnings from childhood to now, all roads this man took, led to the way he is, now.He is doing the absolute best he knows how.
“If I think ‘what’s the matter with him?’ there is something the matter with me in that moment. I’ve just put an obstacle between us. It’s only a thought, but look what my mind does with it. And until I question what I believe about him, until I do The Work, I lose the awareness of love.” ~ Byron Katie in I Need Your Love–Is That True?Turning the original thought around again:I’m so lackadaisical. I never follow through on anything. I don’t do what I say I’m going to do, ever. Tasks unfinished, no ambition, always playing games. I need to lose my weighted-down thinking…especially about him. Especially about me.
The inquirer I was working with discovered that these thoughts were equally as true.
Wow. Even truer.
She grew very excited that he was the way he was, and she was the way she was, and that they might remain very good friends….but she no longer wanted to be in relationship with him in the way they were.
I don’t know how the story unfolding….how the break-up actually went and what happened next, but the sweetness of the insight was palpable.
Because I was aware myself, to enter the unknown is the most exciting way to walk the path of relationship.
It is not “good” to stay together in one particular format. It is not “bad” to change the way the relationship appears.
Marriage, divorce, friends, lovers, dating, buddies. Every dynamic can happen in love, with excitement, honesty, and truth-telling.
Who would you be without the belief that he needs to be different?
You love him very deeply, and you might still leave. Oh how fun to do it with joy and tenderness.
“You may or may not be willing to put up with your partner’s apparent flaws. Whether you stay in or leave a relationship, there are always two ways to do it. One way is in peace, with love, the other is at war, with anger and blame…..Clearly see that his flaws are flaws in your own vision. Then let the decision make itself. It always happens right on time, and not one second before.” ~ Byron Katie in I Need Your Love–Is That True?
Much love, Grace