I often have inspirational thoughts in my head that I hope will help me have a better life. Sayings like “do one thing today that will change your life” or “speak your truth from your heart” or “listen to be heard”. The problem is most of these don’t stick. I suppose they serve their purpose and then fade away.
There are a few, however, that do seem to stick. And I am really aware of one of them right now in my life. My inspiration is “I will commit to showing up for a whole conversation in my significant relationships (and sometimes my not so significant relationships)”.
What this means for me is that whether it takes 5 seconds or a life time I will keep showing up until I feel connected and resolved. Specifically it means:
- I assume there might be more to say or hear even after a subject or issue has come and gone. Some issues just take a long time to resolve, if they ever resolve.
- There is always something more to learn
- If I walk away mad or with a grudge or sad there is more to say.
- That I have gained little in my life by not speaking my truth. Eventually it comes out anyway.
- I will have to wade through my fight or flight tendencies when I feel angry or unmet and make a choice to stay in for the lesson.
- I may not get what I want. The other person(s) in the relationship may choose to end the conversation early.
I figure most of its about me anyway and it ties to this other manifesto I have which is to have the courage to see myself more clearly, everyday. By staying in the conversation, by not leaving when I am mad, or fustrated, or hurt I give myself the opportunity to grow, heal and learn. In other words I get the lesson.
The beauty of the lesson? I do, for the first time in my life, consistently feel close to my spouse. We have had many of the traditional challenges of other couples who have not stayed together. There was plenty of anger, disappointment, sadness, etc. to go around. But we kept showing up. Neither of has yet said I am done. (Even though in my anger I really wanted too) I am also lucky my spouse Jody kept showing up too.
As an aside I have to give some credit to an old adviser Timeto. About 15 years ago he said to me, right in the middle of one of the most stressful times in my marriage, “you will know its time to go when you can do it with out anger and regret”.
Right now I am experiencing this with my men’s group. Something has shifted in our dynamics. What once felt safe, fun and really was something I looked forward too each week no longer was any of that for me. I still love the men in the group but I found myself not wanting to come.
We are talking about it. Its started several weeks ago and the conversation continues. It is hard and stressful and challenging and I want to stay home. If I stay home I don’t have to speak about my anger or judgments. Nor do I have to hear others judgments of me or feel their anger.
But I know if I did I would be walking away with sadness, anger and regret. I would not get the healing. And most importantly I would miss growing closer to men that I care about.