The Friday Dose #128: Loving Relationships

1008-fd-relax-and-succeed-what-destroys-an-intimate-relationshipI’ve written about it many times. You can’t ask another person to create a great relationship for you. Those things come from the inside. If you’re always in a state of want, if you always have something you need from that person then who are you to them? You’re a burden. But you weren’t a burden when you were falling in love. You were practically willing to be a servant!

1008-fd-relax-and-succeed-to-come-upon-love-without-seeking-itWeird isn’t it? It’s counter-intuitive at first, but not after some meditation. If we’re always asking others to live for us then they are forced to defer their own life to lead the one we claim we need. But if I’m a servant I’m always helpful and worthwhile and valuable. If I’m so picky about how the house looks for company that I torture my family with anal-retentivity then is the beautiful home really valuable at all, or is it now just a source of abuse?

Some people have huge insecurities that lead to jealousy, leaving partners having to live their entire life in their partner’s fearful context when that’s not their own context. It is literally a form of being a prisoner. All actions are dictated by that identity. The same with people with tempers. If your spouse blows up the moment something goes wrong then you stop living your life and you just start trying to make sure nothing goes wrong, even though that’s inevitable. It’s a life on eggshells.

It is not other people’s jobs to live to your script. No one made you the screenwriter, director and producer of the film of all of our lives. We are not co-stars in your movie, our jobs are not to get things the way you want them. We are individuals and we have hopes and dreams just like you and they’re just as important as yours. Healthy partners don’t ask, they offer. We can all take turns at being unhealthy, but if someone lives their life in that state then that is not their partner’s problem to fix.

Have a great weekend everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

The Tension of Ego

928 Relax and Succeed - What screws us up mostWe all grow up around it so none of us really notices. If it weren’t for my accident I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed it either, and yet there’s the secret of living right in front of you and yet it’s still difficult to recognize because you’ve spent your entire life being primarily trained by a lot of other egos.

Those egos created all kinds of words and concepts for you to use to build your expectations. For instance, you could have a partner or spouse but those words sound like nouns don’t they? Partner has a verb too, but spouse doesn’t even give you that flexibility. It’s a title not an activity. Which is why it feels like it isn’t something in motion; like something dynamic–like something that could change.

A job, feeling included as a member of your family, even our health can easily be lost and yet few of us live as though that is true. So for instance an employee will get so focused on their complaints that they’ll forget to keep track of whether they are actually worth fixing the issues for, just as a sad or angry partner in life can have legitimate reasons for struggling but at a certain point they have simply become a primarily a sad or angry person to their partner. Then the attraction that forms the basis of any relationship slowly deteriorates until that day you’re told it’s gone.

928 Relax and Succeed - New beginnings are often disguisedOur immediate reactions to these events is to assess them as both bad and repairable. We don’t assume getting fired is good news, nor do we imagine when someone leaves us that it’s happy news. We don’t want to have to find work. We don’t want to risk the unknown and date again because we’re not at all sure we’re going to meet someone better. No, that is not what we do.

What we do is we want. We want things to go back to the way they were. Our book was written in ink and we’re not interested in late, unauthorized edits. What we’ve forgotten is that we’re not the only person writing the book of our life.

The tension in these situations exists due to the time and distance between our old set of definitions for our lives and the new set. Rather than enthusiastically functioning with the freedom of no identity, we strictly focus on getting our old identity back. That’s why the healthiest breakups are mutual. The others all involve a tension of someone trying to return to a definition that the other people refuse to agree to. They rewrote that over time. They just can’t write it back immediately because we want them to.

928 Relax and Succeed - Tension is who you think you should beThe people who initiate that change feel fine because they have escaped. They used to feel tension about the distance between the actions and the definition but now that they’ve severed the idea of the connection they’ve now lost some dead weight. The other party still has the old idea, held in place by narratives about how it should be. Those narratives and their lack of relationship to reality are what constitutes the pain people feel. We feel the tension of the gap.

Acceptance is when we sever our ties to a definition and we accept whatever Is. We don’t pine for something else. We don’t want or wish or hope or believe. We don’t do anything. In the best case scenario we don’t even use our thinking to create an individual that could experience a loss. Because until we quiet those conversations down we will experience the tension of not ever fully being where we actually are.

Life is easier than you think. You just have to surrender your ideas about how you want it to be and instead just let it unfold and then watch for its gifts. So rather than waste your lifetime spinning in place wishing things were otherwise, try seeing where you end up by just reacting to what’s actually happening in the moments that are you in. Do that and you’ll be surprised at how great a life can be if you simply stop trying to make it your own.

Much love, s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Food for Thought

There is a saying in Japan, “Do not give someone what they do not want.” This in part explains the stoic expressions we all saw after the terrible earthquake near Fukushima. For many in Japan, to show others your suffering is to impose it upon them and so expressions remain placid out of respect for other people’s psychological environments.

151 Relax and Succeed - Please take responsibilityIn the West we get offered all kinds of thoughts just like we get offered all kinds of foods. And food is a good analogy for thought. Some thoughts and foods we actually taste ourselves. Some we leave untouched. If we’re in a restaurant or someone else’s house, we may be offered food that others like that we do not, just as others may like other subjects or different types of discussions. The subjects are like the ingredients, and the conversation style is like the cooking.

Super-direct people are raw food eaters. Conversationalists are French Chefs. In a locker room you’ll hear hotdogs and hamburgers, and in business you’ll get steaks and shallots. None of these are right or wrong but they are all different tastes. Some people love debate, other people think it’s just an argument.

Let’s say you go to a party and someone offers you some food. If you taste it and don’t like it you might finish that bit just to be polite but you won’t go back and ask for more. Likewise with conversation. If you can taste an argument brewing and you don’t enjoy them, then stop talking or change the subject. Don’t head to the table that has the dishes on it you don’t like. Don’t volunteer to feed your brain thoughts it doesn’t like by hanging around people who constantly offer you things you don’t enjoy.

151 Relax and Succeed - Don't let yesterdayIt’s worthwhile to note where you do spend your time. What is the menu like at the places you choose to go? If every time someone comes home they offer up their spouse or their roommate a big plate of how much they hate their job, or their boss, or drivers on the road, then that’s neither pleasant-tasting for the spouse/roommate, nor is it nutritious to the relationship.

A common thing to do in a romantic relationship is to serve rancid food. That is to say, food so old that you wonder why anyone would even offer it to anyone else. Is there something your spouse did two years ago, or two months ago, or two days ago that you’re still dishing out to them? Are you surprised they don’t want it? You wouldn’t either if the situations were reversed. If neither of you liked the meal in the first place, how on Earth does it make sense to keep digging it out even years later?!

Be cognisant of what foods you offer others. They can always say no, but if you regularly only offer bitching, or gossip, or sad stories, then don’t expect a happy life. Because what you’re tasting isn’t something anyone would enjoy, so offering it to others obviously isn’t going to improve your situation.

The next time you feel a clench in your stomach ask what thoughts your consciousness was just consuming. If they’re not pleasant, change them. Because in the end you really are what you eat.

peas. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.