I had several conversations in the last couple of weeks which all boiled down to the same two key questions.
I talked to a young woman who is dreaming about moving abroad and having the adventure of her lifetime. What is holding her back? Her story about her relationship is her block. She is waiting for her boyfriend to “grow-up and come with her”. Her story is, “he either has to change and get on board, or I have to break up with him to live my life the way I want to. And I don’t want to break up with him.” While she is waiting for him to change, she is robbing herself of enjoying the relationship for what it is in the moment. He feels her disappointment, which underneath the surface is already growing into resentment. Her energy of waiting for him to be different from who he is choosing to be in this moment in time is slowly eating away at the relationship.
The key question for her is, “Can you love him the way he is right now?” If the answer is no, it is time to break up. If the answer is “yes”, and “I can just enjoy being with him in this moment in time. I don’t need to know what is going to happen next year,” this relationship will still have lots of growth and learning opportunities for her.
The second key question is, “Can you love yourself enough to make the choice which is most empowering for yourself? What is most loving for you to do, if the change you are hoping for does not occur?” Her answer was clear. “It is most self-loving for me to move abroad without him.” Some of the beliefs the young woman had to change were: “It’s okay for me to say good-bye”, “I can handle loss well”, “I release all responsibility for others”, “I am loyal to myself and my own dreams and goals” and “I am only responsible for my own life”.
I spoke to a man who is waiting for his fiancée to clear up her debt. His condition for getting married to her is that she clears out her debt first. He has been waiting for a long time and the longer it takes, the more judgmental he seems to feel. He is not enjoying the relationship anymore. He feels helpless and out of control because she seemingly is sabotaging his timeline for buying a house and starting a family. He is asking himself why she does not love him enough to cut down her expenses and clear out the debt. That question is coming from HIS fear of not being lovable. Her love for him has absolutely nothing to do with her financial struggles.
I can completely emphasize with not wanting to be affected by somebody’s debt. Yet, the same key questions apply for him: “Do you just love her when she is a good little girl and changes in the way and time you feel she should, or can you love her the way she is right now?” At the same time, he has to be very honest with himself and ask the second key question, “What is most self-loving for me to do, have or be in this situation?” He can continue waiting and feeling resentful. He can break up with her and attract a partner who is financially more stable. Or he can find a way to keep their finances separate, move forward in some way and love her, independent of her financial situation.
Some possible beliefs to test and balance for this young man were: “I love others for who they are and not for what they do”, “Our value as a person is independent from our financial worth”, “I trust my fiancée to make the decisions which are right for her” and “I deserve to keep my finances separate and feel financially secure”.
I had a conversation with a woman who is waiting for her husband of over 30 years to finally “get healthy”. She works out, watches what she eats, and uses natural remedies when she needs to. He is overweight, makes unhealthy food and drink choices and self-medicates heavily for all sorts of issues. The more she wants him to live healthier, the more he resists. He doesn’t hear that she is worried that he is causing damage to his body, or that she is afraid that he might not live as long as she. All he hears is criticism. He feels not good enough and is overwhelmed by her discipline and determination to have a healthy life style.
Pushing him won’t get her anywhere. She has to ask herself the same questions the young girl and the young man have to ask. “Can I take my energy back that I have invested into him changing and love him the way he is?” The second question is: “What is most self-loving for me to do, have or be in this situation?” If she just focuses on her own health and enjoys her wellness, he might want to join her. Nobody is going to change from a place of judgment; however, from a place of loving acceptance, it becomes possible. She might need to affirm or balance at a subconscious level, “I trust my husband to make the choices which are right for him”, and “I release any worry about the future and enjoy my life with him right now”.
Encouraging somebody to be the best they can be is different from investing our entire energy into them needing to change. Waiting, hoping or pushing for others to change, can distract us from making our own changes. We can get so busy criticising or fixing them, that we forget to do our own work.
Focusing on what is “wrong” with the other person, also has an immediate effect on how we experience life. We are in relationships to learn and grow. One of the main lessons is to learn to love others and ourselves unconditionally. Love is the best soil for growth and for change. As long as our energy is going toward wanting to change our partner, parent or child, we are robbing ourselves of appreciating and loving them for who they are. We are postponing being happy to a point in the future when the change we want has occurred; we are ultimately depriving ourselves of true happiness.
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Life and Belief Change Coaching, PSYCH-K®