My Goal this Month in Learning 2 Love & Be Connected:
My goal for week 4/8 actually turned into a month long goal. Learning to lean towards love rather than pull away because of fear or past trauma. No wonder this goal took so long to write about…
My Experience this Month:
Hmmm…the goal for the first week in April actually turned into a month long process and honestly, it is still on going. As I wrote my thoughts and feelings each week, it didn’t seem right to post any weekly updates about my experience when I felt little closure or accomplishment at the end of the week. In addition, each week was difficult to write about because the topic is so personal and hits really close to home. I mean how much closer can you get other than your relationship with your spouse, your partner, your love?
Being through my share of relationships before marriage also means I have been through my share of break-ups. And like many women, I spent my 20’s and early 30’s being single, dating, learning what I wanted, how to handle compromise and how to be “me”. Fortunately, I did most of that learning and growing up in the big city of Denver rather than the small town where I was born and spent my high school years. For obvious reasons, this was a bonus.
I moved back to Napa, CA after spending nine years living in Colorado. My main reason for moving back home was to help my Mom take care of my Father, who by that time was in a scooter and needed constant assistance. Coming back home felt like the right thing not only to be with my Dad more but also because I felt I was finally ready to meet “the one” and have my own family.
Needless to say, I didn’t find my husband until late in life…dare I say how late? By then I was certainly set in my ways and carried the scars of a few bad relationships (as most do I guess). But I always knew I wanted to get married and have a baby. And like most young women I imagined a Prince Charming would show up one day sweep me off my feet, take care of me and we would live happily ever after. What I didn’t know is that marriage isn’t so simple. Marriage is a harder proposition and you have to want it…
My husband, Tim, and I were married in 2009 and started dating in 2006 so this year in July will mark our 4th year anniversary of marriage and 7th year of being together. For both of us, this is the longest relationship we have experienced so far. And to be honest, I don’t think either of us was prepared for the stress, changes, challenges and vulnerability that comes with being married. Now add some left over issues from childhood and previous relationships and things can get a little chaotic.
But one of the great things about marriage is that you have promised to stick it out – to work through the issues – to hang in there and I think that is what makes all the difference. In marriage, the stakes are higher than when you are just dating and the consequences are greater. So it forces you to constantly remind yourself that there is a bigger picture than whatever the issue is at the moment that is causing turmoil or chaos.
I believe every relationship in our lives has a purpose and is designed to help us learn to love and bring us closer to Spirit. Some of the relationships in my life (and not just previous romantic partners) are truly testing me in so many areas and helping me work through several barriers. So for me, during the month of April, the goal that was in my heart of learning to “lean towards love” and not pull away was a huge undertaking. And it also struck me as I was writing this post that this goal also applied to other relationships in my life as well.
My past relationships (and not just romantic), with their heartaches and betrayals, have taught me that when things get tough – the safest bet is to pull away and put up a wall so I don’t get too hurt which doesn’t allow myself to be vulnerable. And perhaps that is hard for everyone at some point in their lives. Being vulnerable is what opens you up to tremendous growth but at the same time will leave you open for pain. This is a delicate balance that maybe everyone has to learn and grow through.
To me, leaning towards love means:
– trying to believe the best rather than expecting worst
– trying to let go of the little things rather than allowing them to fester
– trying to express my needs rather than assume they are known
– trying to be more patient rather than quick to respond/react
– trying to see the issues through the other persons eyes
Honestly, I am not sure how well I have accomplished this goal over the course of the month and I know it will be an on-going lesson for me but being committed to the growth and leaning towards love feels like the best step in the right direction. And every relationship that I hold dear to my heart can only benefit from “my leaning in”.
A therapist once told me; “in your relationship you are always in one of 3 states: Neutral (not good, not bad, just is), Pulling away (not forgiving, not engaging) or leaning in (having compassion, loving and forgiving)”. And if you are pulling away then perhaps look at what stops you from leaning in. There it is…the tough question: What holds you back from leaning towards love? Answer that and you just might be on to something….
~ Hoping you find a way to stay connected ~