Own your stuff

Yesterday I was invited for a meeting over tea by a female friend. She had visited my Peace Camp workshop two weeks ago and after that experience a vision had developed inside of her that she and I should do a workshop together. I was very surprised and delighted with her message because I had the feeling that the particular workshop she attended was not so good. In fact, I had convinced myself that nobody would attend any of my workshops ever again because of my poor performance that day. Well as it turns out, nobody noticed. Quite ironic, don’t you think? Of course it’s my pleasure to provide you with vivid examples of how we color our ‘reality’ with our insecurity. At your service. But I’m drifting away. The idea behind the meeting was that we would explore the possibility of doing a workshop together on her favorite topic: relationships.

Let’s not beat around the bush: I think that relationships are very difficult and I don’t feel very successful at having or maintaining them. It has always been a struggle for me and still is. But I would like to design a workshop that gives some real tools and insights because I feel there is a great need for that. Ok, I need those tools and insights for myself and I need them right now, because my relationship is falling apart as we speak. But yesterday’s conversation gave me the opportunity to look at my own case from another perspective. And I would like to share what I have been learning although I don’t feel that I’ve got it completely yet. It’s still work in progress.

The first thing is that when we are still ‘in the situation’ it is hard to take a look ‘at the situation’. When we are caught up in the dynamics of the relationship (and I’m talking about problematic dynamics because that’s where I’m at right now) we get trapped in holding our own perspective for the truth easily. We have an idea how the relationship should be, how the partner should treat us and how we should feel (i.e. happy). If the picture doesn’t meet our expectations we suffer. We can suffer secretly behind our facades or more openly.

For some reason we hold the other responsible for our suffering. He or she has not passed our subconscious relationship exam.

Now what we should see is our own part. We should take responsibility for our own stuff. That starts with acknowledging it and being honest about it. When I speak for myself I see that I fear pain, grief, disappointment, rejection and because of these fears I become guarded and defensive. In fact, I’m waiting for her to make the ‘mistake’ she ‘always makes’ to justify my behavior. Deep down I’m waiting for her to disappoint me. And when it happens I blame her for acting out her patterns again. Obviously, acting out patterns is not allowed around somebody who is as mindful as me. I want her to just be herself, accept herself, love herself and act accordingly. What I don’t see is that I project high expectations on her, that I can be quite touchy and that I’m the one who is not accepting things as they are. Now what I should do is just tell her this (or put it on the internet): “Darling, I fear pain, grief, disappointment and rejection. That is my stuff. It’s not your fault”.

If we really start to look at our stuff we see that our stuff is old. It was already there before we got in the relationship we are in. And our stuff often keeps us away from experiencing love and connectedness. When we are not open, we are hiding something. We will never be fully loved if we don’t reveal ourselves but we hide behind our stuff anyway. Quite cowardly in fact, we sabotage our relationships when it becomes interesting, clinging to the unrealistic painless picture that our ego has painted for us.

Maybe, instead of walking away from our relationships we should stop walking away from our fear, cowardice and dishonesty. Let’s start with admitting to all expectations we have from the other. And, since we’re busy, admit that we feel wounded when he or she is not meeting those expectations. And finally, admit that it’s not his or her fault. It’s a start.

To be continued, I’m sure.

Comments

  1. says

    Ik heb niet zo’n zin in het Engels te schrijven.

    Ik ben nu ruim 10 jaar getrouwd. Ik merk eigenlijk steeds meer dat ik niet zoveel zinnigs over relaties (in mijn geval huwelijk) kan zeggen. Ik kan het zelfs niet goed analyseren; wat vandaag zo is, is morgen anders. Hoe ik er nu op reageer, na zulk hard werk en zelfonderzoek, kan morgen in 1 klap teniet gedaan worden. Het is voor mij een zeer duister pad; ik weet het niet.

    Het enige wat ik een beetje kan ontdekken is dat er altijd een soort eb en vloed beweging gaande is in mijn/een relatie. De ene keer ben ik tot hem aangetrokken en de andere keer niet. Dat vaak meemaken, maakt dat ik er hopelijk wat beter mee om kan gaan als ik denk “ik ga bij hem weg”. Durven dat zo te laten en te wachten dan, niet gelijk van de gedachte een handeling maken. Ik weet niet waar de grens van het daadwerkelijk weggaan zit, maar die grens is ongelooflijk rekbaar.

    Het tweede is: Hij is niet hetzelfde als ik. Dat is echt, echt waar. Hij denkt niet zoals ik, hij doet niet zoals ik. Hij gaat een eigen pad, een eigen leven vol eigen wensen en dromen, eigen shit, eigen vervelende eigenschappen en eigen eenzaamheid. Liefde is hem zijn pad te laten gaan.

    Dat iemand bereid is zo’n onbekend, niet-wetend, duister pad met mij te lopen, terwijl we elkaar in ons diepste wezen nooit zullen kennen (wat we kennen onszelf al niet eens), is voor mij (nu) een wonder.

    Ik weet niet wie ik ben.
    Ik weet niet wie hij is.

  2. Darling says

    Thank you, Atalwin.
    I fear intimacy, hope, love and trust. Its a fear origined from my childhood. This fear caused so much pain that i started to think i dont need it all of that. But i need it.

    • Jana says

      🙂 Of course you do…but you could have it without fear. They had harmed you – but this time such knowledge doesn´t help you at all. You yourself must heal your wounds… 🙂 maybe like if you try to get rid of the fear of dogs: go and caress some. He might bite you, but it also is possible he will cooperate very well. Isn´t it worth trying? Of course it is not easy, though, it IS wonderful. You´ll see… good luck 🙂

  3. says

    ‎Great Post Ata,

    Someone who taught me alot about myself through a challenging relationship once wrote me this quote:
    ~ Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. ~

    Thank you!

    Another thing I found was that the most challenging relationship teaches you the most and can help you become aware of all your fears, doubts, anger and insecurities. So they are actually showing you your blind spots.

    I also became aware of the fact that alot of these feelings originate from your childhood. Become aware, accept, forgive and try to stay true to yourself.
    I’m not there yet. I still have lots of things to forgive but I am aware of this and accept it.

    Thank you Ata for your openess.

  4. says

    mooie blog. je kent jezelf ..gnōthi seautón. chapeau!!

    t orakel in mij komt tot leven..als ik ff mag uitwijden..

    γνωθι σεαυτόν stond al eeuwen geleden in t voorportaal geschreven in de Apollo Tempel van Delphi. Het betekent ‘KEN UZELF’…
    (en idd alles begint, staat en valt met jezelf en met en door niemand anders ..ook in relaties ..schreef ze(ik) dapper)

    deze leus stond er samen met nog 2 andere mooie leuzen
    μηδέν άγαν =NIETS IN OVERMAAT spreekt voor zich denk je, maar passen we dat mindful (we blijven even bij je onderwerp ‘relaties’)toe?

    en de derde leus.. Εγγύα πάρα δ’ατη waarvan men tot op heden de vertaling of meer de betekenis ervan moeilijk vindt..letterlijk vertaald zegt het zoiets als MAAK EEN BELOFTE(of weet iets stellig) EN HET ONHEIL IS NABIJ
    ..hier kan ik verder over filosoferen en mijn eigen interpretatie op loslaten..maar wellicht food for thought voor een ieder..

    ook stond er de letter E

    van (the) End..(?)
    🙂

  5. Jana says

    Walsch Neale Donald Walsch
    Love has no requirements. That’s what makes it love.
    nice post. thanks 🙂

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