A man who has been unfaithful to his wife contacted this column last week. He was distraught and in extreme pain. His circumstances brought him to a place of darkness that many of us have felt before. He wallowed in the bottomless pit of guilt. Swimming with chains that kept him sinking to the bottom he sent out a signal for help.
This column is not about judgments and blame, it is about truth. The truth is in the beholder of the action. We are all living a storyline that is individual in its meaning and purpose to where we are in our lives today. Just because we are not achieving or receiving the love we want does not constitute a pass for us to disregard the reactions to our actions. We have to know when we are carrying too much stuff inside, stop regroup and move the baggage out.
Guilt and shame are some of the heaviest burdens to shoulder. They can literally weigh down our lives and keep us from being open to new experiences.
When we are not happy in a relationship that has a great commitment made, like that of marriage, we must face ourselves and analyze our grief, guilt or fear. These three emotional states are easily internalized and outwardly effect our reactions and our relationship to things and people. It is all too easy to shift the blame of our suffering on to another so that we do not have to face our own imperfections.
Making mistakes, how long do we let ourselves, suffer?
When times get tough instead of coming up with mental pictures of what our partner is doing to make our life miserable, get out a new piece of canvas and focus only on our face in that image. Take some time and sit with the emotions we are feeling. Do not judge what may arise, explore the pain and become its ally not its adversary. It is important to have a friendly relationship with these internal nemeses.
When we are able to befriend that which keeps us in the mode of suffering we can begin to learn where these thoughts and feelings are truly being generated from and not transfer them onto our partner. These feelings can be embedded from our childhood relationships with our parents, our former romantic failures or even our uncanny ability to believe we are just not good enough for anyone.
It is the language we use in the endless mind chatter that creates the situations and circumstances that bring suffering to our lives. We cannot be a full lover to another when we do not love ourselves completely. Making this connection we are able to flow with the currents of life and ask for a life preserver when we get stuck. WE can be more gentle with ourselves and others.
Feeling scared and wanting to run away from our relationship is an indicator that we have lost something inside and we need to go look for it. Sometimes we don’t even know what we are looking for so we end up lost and confused. Because we are constantly searching for gratification from the outside we end up leaving relationships that could be salvaged. We break-up thinking “thank goodness, that is over” only to get ourselves into a similar situation and experience congruent outcomes. Then we hear people say, “all women are crazy” or “men just don’t get what we want”. These statements are indicators that “we” are not getting it. The change has to come from us.
The transformation of our lives starts with an inner house cleaning and taking out the overflowing garbage. Begin by throwing out anything that smells bad and looks too old to keep. Scrape off any residue that has built up and polish. Open the curtains and let the light in! Spring has arrived!
Ask these three questions when determining if something should stay or go:
- Does this situation exemplify my goals and aspirations for my life right now?
- Are there relationships that are cluttering my life with lessons of the past? Am I gripping on to threads of patterns by not letting them/it/he/she go?
- Am I viewing myself with fresh eyes, like the turn of spring, or am I continually using an old set of vocabulary that is subconsciously creating limitations to my happiness in the now?
By taking this challenge to excavate the real reasons for our grief and discontent, we will intentionally facilitate a dismantling of actions that cause more pain and suffering instead of relief. This process is not pretty but it will help air out our illusions and define ourselves better so that we can be a whole person to the partner we have chosen not just a patchwork of former relationships, insecurities and assumptions.
Happy Spring cleaning!
Love Courageously! Just LOVE