Updated: Jul 12
When I first began this latest stage of growth seven years ago, I was so relieved and excited to finally understand the piece I had been missing…that my enthusiasm often poured over into my marriage, even when my partner wasn’t ready for it.
With behaviors like sharing what I had learned (without asking permission) …. and subtly laying books in plain sight that I hoped he would read…. I set myself up for disappointment because I wasn’t accepting where he was at in his own process. AND WORSE YET……. This energetic impatience amplified a block between us because it silently sent a message that he, and where he was at… ‘was not enough’ in my eyes. And it unknowingly amplified his own wounds of being a chronic ‘disappointment.’
But wait, why do I have to.....
Some may argue at this point that none of us are responsible for another’s perceptions and interpretations. Although this may be true, in relationships of any kind our ability to ‘relate to’ someone includes volunteered sensitivity to each other’s humanity. And that includes the other’s wounds.
And I understand that sensitivity on the part of one person isn’t necessarily a ‘cure-all’. It takes ‘two to tango’ in relationships. Even when I got to a point where Calm-Loving-Center (CLC) was more often my default state, there were a few relationships that changed or ended by choice simply because the other person in it wasn’t ready to face their pain and heal, at any pace. That can happen.
But in this case with my husband, the eagerness that stemmed from my yet-to-be-embodied, new-found knowledge was blocking me from that needed sensitivity. And it was saying in non-words, that although my partner was trying, it wasn’t ‘safe’ for him to work at his own pace.
What I didn’t know at the time, was that although I was rich with new knowledge, I hadn’t yet applied it for long enough to change my default emotional state to that of Calm-Loving-Center (CLC). In other words, my so-called ‘enthusiasm’ was coming from a mind full of new learning, but a default body state that was still over-adrenalized and still dysregulated. And that sense of urgency that I labeled as a ‘calling’ or ‘passion’ was really just a mental reframe of the same undifferentiated, still-centering, emotional-physiological state.
Now, reframing isn’t necessarily a bad tool to have. But it’s only one tiny step in a process, that if left incomplete, can lead to behaviors that are just as unhelpful, addictive and polarizing as your former ones – like my unrestrained enthusiasm to rush my husband through his own process. My intention all looked innocent and ‘good’ on the outside, yet my action was relationally polarizing and not working towards what I really wanted.
But thankfully….once my body started to adopt its new response state (for me it took about 4-6 months of daily wotk), I noticed that along with it, the urgency for my husband to be in constant ‘lock-step’ subsided… my acceptance of his effort (at whatever pace and style) increased and miraculously…. he started talking more. The seedling of the safe ‘space’ that would bloom into the field for the deepening connection…had been planted. And it only required me to shut the f*ck up and do my own work.
So learn from this. If your partner or friend IS making an effort, acknowledge that…. lean in when they do speak…. and encourage any unifying change you witness. But by all means…. let them work it out on their own, do your own work and... remain silently present for when they do reach out.
THIS is the foundation for deepening connection.
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