Viewing entries tagged
acceptance

Three reasons to THINK before you speak to your loved one.

Communication is hard. We are a complicated species, and we walk around with a super computer in our heads that the smartest people on the planet still haven’t completely figured out. It’s no wonder we have trouble communicating with one another. Throw very real emotions and personal agendas into the mix and you have a recipe for anger and confusion and, ultimately, resentments. And we all know the poison that resentments stain relationships with.

     Many of the conversations that Julie and I have had started on a good note, with good and loving intentions on either side. But sometimes, one or both of us were poised, ready for a tense situation and confrontation. But either way, this mental preparation was not only exhausting, it was counterproductive.

      There are three things Julie and I try to remember before we get into difficult conversations or just any time we’re conversing.

1.) Spoken words often change meaning between the time they leave the lips and the time they reach the ears : Often times, we say things with the best intentions, but the message somehow gets skewed when it is received and the other person reacts with anger or indignation or any one of a bunch of other negative emotions. We, in turn, react negatively to the other person’s negativity, because the tone of our original message was misinterpreted. Ours is a complex language and, therefore, is prone to implying the wrong shades of meaning while we talk. Therefore, choose your words carefully, and watch the tone and even the body language.

 

2.) Your loved one has already imagined the conversation you're about to have and has already decided how to respond and react to everything you're about to say : He/she has already decided how the whole thing is going to play out. Therefore he/she is unreceptive to how the conversation actually might have gone, if it had the chance to develop organically. The spin you intended to put on the topics discussed will likely fall on deaf ears - the other person thinks he/she already knows what you’re  thinking and what you’ll say. If you think your partner may have already spun the whole conversation out in his/her head before you have uttered a word, it’s usually best to start slowly. Very deliberately, and using as little emotion as possible, state your belief that there may have been a miscommunication about a particular matter, and you want only to clear up any possible misunderstandings between you two.

 

3.) You have no idea the space your loved one is in or how receptive he/she is to new information : Although you and your loved one have known each other for awhile, it’s impossible to accurately assess the mental or spiritual place he/she is in all the time. There will be moments, hours, days, or even entire weeks where you two are growing in different directions and experiencing different life lessons. At times like these, it is very difficult to predict how information will be received, especially if it is of a subject matter that is emotionally charged. It’s best to simply ask if now is a good time to talk about whatever it is that’s on your mind. If now is not good, just ask when a good time will be, or ask him/her to think about when will be a good time and to get back to you.

      As you can see there are SO many factors to consider when communicating with your partner. Have you ever experienced this in your relationship? What did you do? How did your partner handle it? Please tell us about it in the comments below - we would LOVE to hear from you! 

If you loved this please share it with your friends and if you feel ready to go deeper into your journey either with your partner or solo, reach out to use at support@lovejulieandandy.com to set up a FREE 30 minute coaching session. 

 

Truth in a Book

There are a lot of books out there, many written by authors of great inspiration. Although reading seems to go in and out of fashion, largely due to the fact that people seem to find great difficulty in holding onto a coherent thought for more than a minute or two at a time, books still have a great impact on tens of millions of lives around the globe. There are works of fiction and nonfiction, and there are historical texts. You can find how-to books, autobiographies, and entire wings of bookstores are dedicated to self-improvement. And then there are the books that tell you how to live your life. 

    Essentially, the author is trying to impose his version of the truth onto your life and your circumstances, through the form of the written word. Despite its apparent waning popularity, the written word still exerts an incredible amount of influence over the lives of the populace. This is largely due to the fact that an individual can pore over the manuscript repeatedly for hours or even days, dissecting and reevaluating passages, phrases, words, and even punctuation in order to coax the meaning from the text that will give him the answers he seeks. 

    I’m inclined to wonder what makes any particular author the authority of that which is true in my life. Or your life. Or anybody’s life, except his own. I understand there are some pretty powerful tomes out there. Weighty pieces of work that speak the word of God, in the many names that people use to reference Him (or Them). And there are guides like the Big Book from Alcoholics Anonymous that endeavor to help escort people from the throes of addiction back to a healthy life. 

    What if the truth can't be found in the pages of a book after all? Perhaps the Truth - your “Truth” , as it specifically pertains to you, in your life, at this point in time, corresponding to and deriving from your thoughts, your actions, and your experiences - can only be found within yourself. No one can just hand you the Truth. You have to work for it. You have to earn it by actively seeking it. Meditate, devote time to self-introspection, climb a mountain, spend time in nature, commune with those who would help you look at things differently (not with absolutes and ultimatums, but with suggestions and new perspectives). There are as many paths to the Truth within yourself as there are books that would place it there for you, without any effort on your part. Truth doesn't come to the sheep. It comes to the hunter.

    Much can be gained by referencing as many external sources as possible in your pursuit of Truth. There is a great body of work dedicated to finding it and understanding it, and you can learn a lot from the efforts of those who have come before you. But because you are the only one who exists exactly in your time and space, it is only you who can ultimately decide just how exactly you fit in there. It is only you who can grasp Truth, as it defines you and how you define it. Trying to insert someone else’s Truth into your reality is like going shopping for a suit that fits. You see the styles that look good on other people, and there are many brands, shapes and sizes to choose from. But ultimately, there is always compromise to be made, because it was not custom-made for you. 

    The problem with shopping for a version of Truth that you find is an acceptable fit to your life - rather than building your own - is you end up with something that has been mass-produced. It has been watered down so as to accommodate as many lives as possible. By gratifying a few basic needs, such as security, acceptance, or the promise of a reward for prescribed behaviors, it attracts as large an audience as possible. There is strength in numbers. This breeds validation for followers and power for those who spout the rhetoric of their Truth.

    Beware those who would impose their Truth on you through fear of impending consequences for not heeding their call. They may have an agenda. And that agenda may be a lot worse than the imagined consequences they claim they can keep you safe from. There is absolutely nothing wrong with borrowing and test-driving pieces of their prescribed lifestyle and behaviors. Study them with an open mind and see how they speak to your mind and heart when you enact them. This is how your truth evolves with you as you evolve with the passage of time. But don’t force ideas and ideals to fit you, nor force yourself to fit them. If they don’t speak to your soul, do not hesitate to throw them out and move on!

    Truth, as it pertains to you, is not a model or an object that exists outside of you that must be located, acquired, and operated, like a used car. It is created within your thoughts and inspiration. It is then manifested in your life through action. When there is discomfort in your life, ask yourself :
Have you actively sought your Truth, or did you follow the crowd and end up there? 
Did you reach for your Truth with open eyes, ears, mind, and heart, or was it thrust upon you?  
Has your Truth encouraged change and growth in your life, or has it limited you?
Have you stepped into your Truth with confidence and joy, or did you receive it with hesitation and fear? 

    You are more than the equation 2 + 2 = 4 . You are more than a mindless array of zeroes and ones. The energy that forms you, your reality, and the relationship among them needs constant monitoring. The ultimate authority to oversee this process is you. 

Life's Mysteries

We are a curious species. We want to know how everything works. We want to know how far the Universe stretches. We want to know what the future holds for ourselves and for those we love - and for those we don’t. We want to know if there really is a God(s) and what He/She/It/They want of us. We want to know when we are going to die and what happens next. 

    So many questions. 

    Mankind has made many advancements in the fields of science, medicine, and technology, as well as developments in more personal areas, such as open-mindedness towards, and tolerance for, one another. We no longer blame naturally-occurring events on the wrath of God.  We don’t burn witches. We have a vast array of knowledge about physical and mental health. We are more open to the concept of peaceful coexistence, and we do so more frequently and more successfully than ever before. I’m writing this on something that was barely a dream as little as 50 years ago, and you will read it via a system that was barely functioning as little as 25 years ago.  

    We have made great strides, solved many riddles, and settled many differences. In many cases, our lives have been made easier and fuller as a result of the efforts made by curious people who sought to improve situations or circumstances that were deemed to be intolerable or merely unappealing. Without a doubt, curiosity and discontentment have been monumental driving forces in the evolution of mankind. We have amassed an inconceivable store of knowledge, and we maintain the ability to gain almost instant access to most of it. 

    The result of this privilege is a sense of entitlement towards knowledge. All knowledge. If there’s a question, we damn sure expect to be able to answer it. And if we can’t, we’ll Google it. If the search avails no answers, we tend to quit searching, judging the issue unimportant. We shrug our shoulders and get on with our day. We try ignore that which we don’t understand. We don’t like mystery. It makes us uncomfortable, because it reminds us of our limitations and inherent frailty as mortal humans. 

    But it is the uncertain aspects of life, the indefinable nuances and the ever-present dilemmas that create a need to keep showing up, day after day. If you knew exactly where you were going, how you would get there, and when you would reach your destination, would you bother putting any effort into today? If the song had already been written and you knew the score all the way through, would you bother learning to play your part? Would you even purchase an instrument? If there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the bases loaded and the home team down by one run, would you be on the edge of your seat if you already know the guy was going to strike out? Would you even go to the game?

    I have never been as comfortable with uncertainty as I would like to be, and I know there are aspects of my life that will remain uncertain until...well, until it is time for them to be revealed. Which is to say, they will remain unknown until they aren’t. I don’t always love that fact, but I know the only way to gain perspective on life’s biggest, scariest questions is to let life’s mysteries reveal themselves to me on their schedule and that some mysteries may never be revealed. I don’t like that fact either, but I didn’t write the rules for this life, nor do I understand many of them. I just try to learn and follow them. 

    On a daily basis, I try : to accept that which I cannot change (life’s uncertainties), to summon the courage, strength, and patience to find answers where appropriate (life’s uncertainties that will eventually reveal themselves), and to know the difference between the two. To put it another way, I make the effort to LIVE every day, learning that which is taught, appreciating or accepting all that is either given or withheld, and letting go of that which is out of my control. 

    As an alcoholic and addict, my list of questions is rather long : Why me? Why did I waste so much time acting out on addictive behaviors? What caused my addiction? Do I get “good points” for being sober? Do I deserve any happiness in the aftermath of all my shitty behaviors?  Have I made any significant positive changes? Am I closer to God than I was? Am I on the right track to making amends to God? Am I a better person now than I was, or is it just a matter of time and opportunity until I revert to the old habits? I’m not exactly sure how to answer most of these questions, and it is in the lack of a solid answer that these questions gain so much relevance.

    The most important question is the one that cannot be definitively answered, because it is this quality that encourages me to keep showing up for life, learning, improving, and healing a little bit each day. Any critical question - and its answers - have the tendency to make subtle changes in their shades of meaning from day to day and hour to hour. Every time I think I’m getting close to an answer or basic understanding, the rules and questions shift, and I need to take a step back to reevaluate or look from a different perspective. This keeps me from getting complacent or lazy. It keeps me involved, and it is through every-day involvement that I learn vital life lessons. 


    As you let life unfold itself to you, stay comfortable with the fact that today’s questions and answers are as impermanent as this moment in time. Keep asking questions as a way to stay present, but don’t worry about being “right” There will always be another point of view and a new idea that contradicts your findings. It is more important to participate than to figure out all the reasons why everything is as it is.  The Universe knows that if you knew how it all turns out, you might not stick around to experience it.


    On any given day, a good question is infinitely more valuable than its answer.