Monday, April 27, 2009

On Self-Compromise

Recently, I have been confronted with quite a few cases of people creating or remaining in comfortable relationships that they are not so crazy about. I hear a lot of, “oh, he really isn’t a jerk”, “he is nice to my kids”, “she is fun to be with”, “neither of us is ready for a commitment”, “I am being realistic, this is as good as anyone has it”, etc. And what is lingering on in the air is this giant BUT… with a huge pause after. Upon further investigation, I find that they are in a comfortable relationship, but that they had hoped for more. It is also a step above their track record, in other words, this relationship is better than the last one they were in. So it feels safe. At this point in the conversation, the energy feels like a wet blanket stifling the people under it.

I have to ask, since when did we get so comfortable with mediocrity? When did we say, that this is good enough? When did we give up on what makes us truly happy? When did so called “reality” take a big bite out of our heart-centered hopes? What are we so afraid of losing? Or should I ask, what are we so afraid of gaining?

Perhaps, it happened one day when the one we thought was the “one”, let us down, when the relationship that we had wanted so badly to work out, did not. Perhaps, it happened when we started doubting ourselves and thinking, maybe it is me. Maybe I want too much. Maybe I should compromise. Perhaps,it happened when we believed that the “right” person does not exist, it is just a fantasy. Perhaps, it happened when we looked at the date on the calendar and realized that we are not 22 anymore and if we keep on saying no to whomever is at the door, the doorbell may not ring again. Perhaps, it happened when we looked at those around us in similar situations being alone and unloved. Perhaps, it happened when we panicked at the thought of dying all alone with no one to love us by our side. Or perhaps, it happened when we listened to and believed those negative voices that tell us we are unlovable and we just have to deal with that.

Once again love, not having it, not recognizing it, and anything related to it has determined the course of our lives. When a coaching client comes to this point in their session, they are usually ready to acknowledge what exactly it is that they do want in a relationship. However, the challenge is: 1) communicating that need or desire to the other person; and 2) Being at peace with the consequence of the communication. Communicating our needs and allowing our partner to see us vulnerable and exposed is not comfortable. Finding the courage and the language to speak of our true desires without blame and expectation is also not easy. Add to that the possibility that you might lose your partner for good if he or she cannot give you what you want, or does not want to, makes the task even more daunting. On the bright side, when you do manage to speak your truth without blame, you are free and not compromised. You are more of yourself, you are more of the person that attracted your partner to you to begin with. This is what we cannot see when we are afraid of speaking our truth, and yet, without it, everything is muddled, unclear, and untrue.

When you make that shift, loving yourself and your partner unconditionally (allowing him or her to react any way they choose to), and communicating from that place, miracles happen. One of the greatest miracles is that you are no longer afraid of showing up in the world being yourself and you will attract the same kind of people in your life. Isn’t that the reason we get into relationships? Aren’t we always attracted to people who are comfortable in their own skin and yet we wonder why they are not attracted to us? Don’t we want to share ourselves and grow together? This can only happen when we stop settling for less than what we want, or when we start getting comfortable in our own skin. The only risk involved is losing someone who cannot or does not want to be with the real you. You alone can decide if that is the risk you are willing to take.

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