Relationship Insecurities

This is a healthier exercise for a couple than a lot of fearful thinking would be.
This is a healthier exercise for a couple than a lot of fearful thinking would be.

Couples routinely come to me because the trapped partner wants me to convince the insecure partner to honour their basic freedom as a human being. But I don’t fix jealous relationships by getting people to stop being jealous, I get them to stop being insecure.

At the end of the day the problem isn’t the attraction or fidelity of the spouse, the problem is that the insecure person does not feel they are good enough to hold their partner’s interest. That leads to control issues which then mean it’s even easier for someone else to treat the partner better.

I pick up extremely quickly on how a person’s communication patterns reveal their perspectives on life so it usually doesn’t take long for me to pick up on it when one of the partners defines the relationship in relatively static and rigid way. They’re looking for security in a world that has taught them that disaster is always lurking.

1046-relax-and-succeed-you-cant-fix-yourselfOf course disaster isn’t always lurking, but you can make it seem like it if you look for it hard enough. Jealous people are master narrative creators. They can take one tiny detail and fill up hours worth of self-talk stories in their imagination. Hours. Out of a tiny detail that other people would ignore as insignificant. But in the mind of the frightened person? It’s huge. They can think it until it is legitimately huge in their consciousness.

Psychology historically would invest many hours in how the person got that way but you don’t need more than broad strokes if you know what you’re doing. The details just muddle things, the point is to find something worthwhile in the experience and then move on. Healthy people stay for joy and they leave unpleasant situations asap, right after they have taken the lesson from the experience.

Insecurities are the self-talk conversations that make us feel small, which means we also feel weak, and then we feel we need other people’s extraordinary help just to make it. In fact we’d be fine on our own. We just have to tough it out long enough to see that we really can choose to sit and read or watch a movie just as easily as we can choose to sit and ruminate on what might be happening. But that latter will tend toward the painful and it’s almost always inaccurate as well because there’s billions of things that could be happening at any given time so I very much doubt anyone anywhere is even close to accurate most of the time.

1046-relax-and-succeed-if-you-truly-loved-yourselfTo end jealousy the jealous person must actually come to see themselves more through the eyes of their partner, rather than through the lenses of past experience. They must not see themselves as a lightning rod for danger but rather a pillar of strength. And that’s actually a natural feeling if only we don’t intercede with our insecure thinking.

If you’re going to think insecure thoughts then of course you’ll feel insecure. But even if they were rational thoughts–which they rarely are–so what? What good would it do to be insecure when you do anything, let alone the act of saving your relationship? No one benefits from insecurities. Find the lies that were told to you when you were young and meditate on the proof that those are wrong. Your clarity will show up in your refusal to fall into the traps of the illusion of security.

Insecurity destroys relationships. Confidence is a natural feeling for everyone. When you were five you thought you could be anything. But someone said things and you listened and now you repeat them in your head, and then you took your worst experiences and built fears around those and then you watch for that too. And it’s all a lot of worried, suspicious watching. How can that be good for a relationship? Stop the narrative. Flood yourself with peace and love and you will have no difficulty attracting and holding a partner that is suitable for you.

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.

Relationship Rules

1001-relax-and-succeed-in-obedience-there-is-always-fearJealous people didn’t just randomly pick up jealousy as a habit–it got taught to them. In general they’ll have witnessed it or had some very bad experiences relating to the damage that can be caused by cheating. These are painful experiences and they are worthy of our respect, but respecting a jealous person’s experience isn’t the same as living inside of it. No one owns a relationship, we share them.

It doesn’t matter how many rings we exchange, how many contracts from the government we sign nor how many people were present in a pointy building when we made our promises, the fact remains that real relationships are always, 100% of the time, voluntary. You cannot police a relationship into being secure; that is the opposite of respecting the person’s ability to make their own choices. We can lock a person in a room and never let anyone else see them and we still can’t force them to love us if that’s not what we’ve been nurturing with our behaviour.

A person dealing with someone scarred by jealousy is like being a dog that’s been beaten by its owner. Without the trust the relationship quickly deteriorates as the dog’s anticipation of a positive experience is replaced by fears of a negative one. The owner’s rules for the dog can be entirely logical; they can be about safety and responsibility and good behaviour, but if the price for failing is a verbal or physical beating then the dog will cower and the relationship will begin to fail.

1001-relax-and-succeed-love-is-always-bestowedFailure isn’t imminent. Just as a dog can be beaten and left for dead, and as many rescue dogs have proven, consistent love, care and respect can return them to their naturally loving state, but if the behaviour of the owner is inconsistent between love and threat then the dog is still left uncertain, unsafe and disconnected. Even if the treatment is good 95% of the time, how’s the person or dog know when the other 5% is? They have to be on guard all the time. It’s exhausting. We can’t threaten anyone into good behaviour we can only encourage it with our own good behaviour.

Whether it’s done overtly or in a manipulative manner, the rules jealous partners try to exert are doomed to fail simply because they are imposed rather than chosen. We can’t make anyone feel anything they’re not prepared to feel, not with logic, not with begging and not with the force of threat. We can feel sympathy for the jealous person’s plight; we all have our crosses to bear, but our early life is only where we start. As mature people our job is to look honestly upon the world and ask ourselves which lessons we took from life that are fruitful and which are poisonous.

Jealous relationships always end, whether the person stays or goes. The only way to save them is to remove the jealousy, it cannot be managed with rules or promises or absolutes. We either show our respect for someone by trusting them or we show them disrespect by not trusting them. Obviously disrespect, however understandably motivated, is never going to generate increased love in a relationship. Instead it will strangle it.

1001-relax-and-succeed-however-the-tea-is-preparedIn this quote the Dalai Lama expresses that the rituals of religion are pointless without a foundation of compassion. Likewise, direct or implied rules in a relationship are effectively meaningless. What’s needed is compassion and connection. You can either be a person the dog is happy to see or someone they’re afraid to see and that won’t depend on words or promises, it’ll depend on behaviour.

I normally use the word “human” rather than “owner,” but I wanted to make a point. Rules are like a rope. They might keep the dog in the yard but that’s not the same as the dog wanting to be in the yard because it’s so great to be there. In one case if the dog gets loose it happily stays, in the other it just keeps running.

A relationship must be nurtured to stay alive. People just don’t fall in love and then love solves all their issues. Relationships aren’t cars that we fix when they’re broken, they’re things we cultivate and maintain. You can mistreat a car for years and then spend a lot of money and you can get it running like new, mistreat your dog and it might take a lifetime for them to trust anyone again.

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.

Insecure Relationships

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #3

900 Relax and Succeed - Being possessive about a personWhen I was a teenager I had the same girlfriend for five years. For four and half of those years–as amazing as it sounds–we quite literally didn’t have a single argument. I had this clarity that everyone else thought was weirdness and she had a humility that made her look like the sanest person on Earth to me. That was a long time ago and we’re still best friends today.

I said four and a half of five years because the last six months of that I went through a growth spurt that made my legs ache horribly every night, I got little sleep, and because I didn’t know about testosterone at the time I would seemingly get mad at nothing. I’d never had it happen before. I could track where my emotions came from, but here were some that were simply part of being human. I had to ride them like a cowboy in a rodeo and it taught me to feel sympathetic about the hormone cycles women experience every month.

This all lead to about a year of feeling very suspicious and angry. For the first time in my life I was jealous. I could meditate on my anger and disassemble it after the fact, but I had very little control when it came to my immediate reaction. I did not like it at all. Fortunately the best friend was smart enough to leave and I worked hard to better myself and eventually that cloak of frustrated energy naturally lifted and we reconnected. It was a big relief. Jealousy or insecurity in a relationship is one of the most damaging forces you can encounter.

900 Relax and Succeed - Marriage won't stop a cheaterThere is no way for the other person to win with a suspicious mind. The suspicious mind will have reasoning behind it how it feels. Maybe they saw one parent cheat on the other and they blame that for the ruin of the other parent, so they’re watching closely to ensure it doesn’t happen to them. They idea is that they will be able to self-validate the reasoning, but that doesn’t mean a lack of trust is helpful to any relationship.

If you don’t have trust that can be for good reasons or less productive ones. But even if you have good reasons, no trust is essentially no relationship. Unhealthy people are held together by obligations and even threats, whereas the healthy kind of human relationship is one that’s naturally attractive, magnetic and safe.

We’re not complicated creatures. We go where we thrive. If we don’t go where we thrive, we wilt. A relationship is not something you can protect, it is only something you can reinforce with love and positive feelings. They aren’t about keeping other people out, they’re near-constant invitations to be in.

900 Relax and Succeed - If you love a flowerLook at your life. Do people do things for you because they love you or because they feel they have to? Because if you’re laying down “rules” for another human being then you’re misunderstanding deep relationships. They have no rules. No one is supposed to be anything except happy. That’s how unconditional love works.

You can have all the commitment in the world and still fight all the time. Commitment is like a rope tying something down. Love is like the sun. It doesn’t hold anyone in place it just promotes growth in the direction of its warmth by making sure the other person is showered in enough light to ensure they have all they need to help them fully realise themselves. Relationships are not about what you need, they’re about what you give.

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.

Other Perspectives #86

786 OP Relax and Succeed - There is no true loveWrong. With no offense intended toward the creator of it, I believe this is the first one I’ve ran into that’s 100% backwards. The truth is that there is no true love with jealousy. Anyone who thinks that true love includes jealousy–or worse demands it–is at least in the fortunate position where in their future they will get their first taste of genuine true love. This quote is nothing more than some person’s excuse to think insecure, worried and untrustworthy thoughts about someone else. Either trust someone or leave. Don’t justify your poor treatment of them as being rooted in love. Real Love isn’t possessive in any way shape or form.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Other Perspectives #71

701 OP Relax and Succeed - Don't flirt with someone else

As you get older you can read quotes like this and you can usually guess the age of the writer within five years. That shows you how much the same we all are. We’re all moving through patterns of behaviour as we move through our seven ages of man. Listen, I know that seeing someone you love being with someone else is something that really hurts. But there’s a great lesson in that. Because I promise you that the pain is not coming from seeing them. It’s about looking at them and then thinking. It’s the thoughts that hurt. Because if they’re happily with someone else, you can’t go quickly get someone and make them jealous. Because if they left they left for a reason of theirs and they went to this other person for a reason of theirs. So they might look over at you and feel a short temporary jab, but because their thoughts will shift to the better position they themselves feel they are in, they will feel fine. That’s why the leaver always does better than the leavee. The leaver either wanted someone else or they wanted more freedom but either way their thoughts will be less commonly on the past and more on the future, whereas the leavee has to rip themselves away from the future they’d imagined so they can start living in the present moment they’re in. So if someone’s flaunting just to hurt you then that’s just childish. Maybe in the future when they’re more mature, but for now, if someone is vindictive or possessive then they’re still immature and you don’t want to be in a relationship with an immature person. So just live your own life. Don’t keep your thoughts on inappropriate things. Learn to do this early in life and you will bring yourself great salvation later, I promise. Good luck.

Much love, s

The Truth About Lying

Mankind has come a long way but we’re still pretty brutal with each other on a fairly routine basis. And I don’t mean insults or cruelty, although those things are becoming increasingly popular unfortunately. What I mean is that we’re so judgmental of those closest to us.

Because some people some where at some time invented the word trust and the words lie and betray, and the phrase let me down, people have come to see these things as absolutes in much the way more and more people see politics. Because you’re one way doesn’t mean you can’t see 598 Relax and Succeed - If we could look into each other's heartsor enjoy the benefits of another way. There’s times in life when one political reaction might prove better than another, just as there are times in life where the truth is not as neat a thing as our judgmental minds would like it to be.

Say your beloved Mom is undergoing chemotherapy and she’s asked you to go wig shopping after she starts to lose her hair. Even if she looks worse than you’ve ever seen her look, are you lying if she asks you how she looks and you tell her “great!” with a big fake smile? No, that’s not lying unless you’re far too literal for healthy human relations. That is clearly an act of love to anyone who’s even remotely in touch with the healthiest parts of themselves. But it doesn’t even have to be that dramatic.

If we say people don’t like lying, what is it they don’t like? It creates a more unpredictable future, so more tension. They don’t like that it also means they have to take into account an ongoing future uncertainty regarding everything the “liar” says to them. And that applies to their past dealings as well, so they wonder about any other potential fallout or false assumptions. And it gets seen as a violation of our commitment to that person. All of that has value and meaning, but it’s not the whole story. Because if we look at why people lie (and everyone does it all day long, they just don’t perceive the things as lies in many cases) , then 598 Relax and Succeed - Most people don't really want the truthwe quickly see that in a huge number of cases the lies only exist to protecting the feelings of the person they’re talking to, someone else, or themselves.

The first two—protecting who you’re talking to, and protecting someone else—those are pretty common and they’re probably easy for you to imagine. But what is it to protect yourself? A good example comes from my younger years. I was dating a stunningly attractive girl that every guy I knew expressed envy over and I agreed. Every time I looked at her I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. But you know what? Beautiful girls often have people focus on their beauty when they’re young. And so they forget that people will love them for who and how they are—that they’re beauty is a separate issue. And so despite the fact that they’re the most beautiful people in any society, they are often commensurately insecure about being beaten out by someone even more attractive.

Over time that insecurity built because there was no action to remove it, but there was steady additions to it. Eventually it gets cumbersome then onerous and finally it’s exasperating. The only thing that was unattractive to me about my girlfriend was that she was constantly questioning my dedication to her. She never realized what an insult that was. And it also resulted in a lot of angry jealous rages which were embarrassing for me as a young man, and it was on more than a few occasions quite extreme.

What those reactions would encourage me to do is lie. Not to really conceal anything meaningful. But because it’s easier on the relationship. So when I was visiting her, would I 598 Relax and Succeed - We are very good lawyerswant to tell her I was at a mall buying shoes from a girl I went to school with that I’ve bought shoes from for 10 years? No. Because that would far too likely lead to an evening-wasting argument about why did I buy them from her rather than from a store two minutes closer? So instead I would lie and say that I was playing video games in a friend’s basement. And that lie is a bad idea, because if she finds out about it she either won’t believe my reasoning and she’ll trust me even less, or she’ll be furious about my reasoning.

So sure, long term the truth as we know it is better. But we would all do well to be a bit more accepting and tolerant of less-than-perfect behaviour. Because unless we’re going to all do that ourselves—and I know that’s not actually possible or desirable—then we really have no business holding other people to what are ultimately inhuman standards. More people lie for good reasons than bad ones. They’re often trying to be kinder, not more selfish.

So be kinder yourself. Let more go. Don’t be so defensive, so busy and so judgmental. Your lack of tolerance will do as much damage to your heart as to your relationships. Relax. See as much value in getting along as you do in being right. And don’t hold people to standards that you yourself couldn’t honestly meet. The world isn’t better when we’re all perfect. The world is better when we’re all open-minded and tolerant.

Have yourself a great day.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #45

558 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Kill them with success

…or here’s an idea: how about if you’re spiritually mature and you don’t kill, maim, injure, or otherwise hurt someone else’s psyche so that your ego can gloat? How about if you realize that other people’s gains are not your losses any more than your losses are their gains. If you want to succeed do it because that’s your nature—what you truly want to do. Because if you’re letting other people dictate your behaviour unconsciously then you’re their slave—you’re living a life dictated by them. Your life is in opposition to theirs and, as this quote states it, you won’t feel better until your levels are reversed, where you feel you can look down on them. This isn’t spiritually advanced. This is childish. Life is rewarding, but at times it can be very hard. If someone wasn’t decent enough to help you up when you were down don’t compound the problem by doing the same thing right back to them—Don’t even wish for that. Because wishing or doing; they’re both alive in your consciousness as experiences and wanting someone to suffer is not at all a part of wise, respectable and quality spiritual existence. I hope you will join me in having compassion and support as your driving forces in life. I can vouch for the fact that it leads to a much better life than the vast majority of what I see happening around me.

peace. s


Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Other Perspectives #35

498 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - I never wanted anything

I suspect the people in this photo are still teenagers and that’s suitable because the quote is definitely an immature view of love and relationships. This isn’t to say that it isn’t a valid way to see things for someone young, but obviously most 20 year olds know way more about the world than most 10 year olds and the same holds true of 40 year olds who look at 20 year olds. And one of those ways we often grow is that we adjust our expectations for our relationships. Let me be absolutely clear: no one will ever be anyone’s everything. Got it? Never. That’s not how it works nor do you want it to be that way. You will need your friends even if you have a significant other. You will have interests that your partner does not have and they will do likewise. This is not a failing of either of you or of the relationship. Human lives are multi-facted polyhedrons of experience and thought and perspective. Those differences make each of us unique despite all of our similarities. So you will sometimes not know what to say or do to help your partner but someone else will. There’s nothing wrong with that, and if either you or your romantic partner are hoping or planning not to need anyone else, then you are signing up for guaranteed trouble because that is asking way too much from each other and from yourselves. Yes, partners should be each others primary sources of inspiration and support, but no one will ever be anyone else’s exclusive support system and if anyone’s asking you to do that, then know that they are also asking you to do something that is both immature and unhealthy. Be supportive and then trust your partner to come to you when you’re the right person. Anything other than that is mistrust and that’s a bad basis for a good relationship. Now go have yourself an awesome time together by simply enjoying each other’s company.

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offence to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

The Green-Eyed Monster

I can be such an awful person to my boyfriend I’m not even sure why he stays with me. I’m always jealous and it’s always over nothing and then later I feel so bad about what I’ve said to him or done to him. I’m crazy. I’ve tried to change so hard but then he’ll talk to another girl and I’ll go right back to being a bitch. How do I change? I need to change. He doesn’t deserve this.

Freaking Out

344 Relax and Succeed - An attraction isn't basedDear Freaking,

Hey, here’s a long distance ((e-hug)). I’m sorry to hear you’re feeling that way when clearly you have such a good heart. You recognise your boyfriend’s qualities and you value them. What you’re facing is the reality that all of us have strengths we have subtly developed as we’ve grown up. But we never notice those because we take them for granted because we’re busy looking at our blind spots or the other tender areas that we have not developed at all. This isn’t an oversight on our part—even if we noticed these invisible things earlier we still don’t have the time to become everything.

Some people develop remarkable patience, or work ethics, or moral codes, or fighting or debating skills, or creative abilities… there’s a lot of ways to be human. But you can’t do all of these things, and growing up is really the act of moving through these various becomings. You will be many people in your lifetime. But you can’t be everyone nor everything. So the trick is, you’re trapped as who you are and you’ve concluded that means you’re failing at changing into who you want to be. But I would argue you’ve changed into exactly who you asked to become.

You can’t simultaneously want to be someone and also be that person. The wanting is the antithesis of being. We are who we think we are and so thinking wanting thoughts is to reinforce the idea that you are not that other person you want to be. The wanting is a story you tell yourself about how you are not this other person.

344 Relax and Succeed - The difference between who you areCan you see how crazy it is when we don’t understand that our identities are made of our thoughts? You can intend to become someone but instead your ego accidentally confuses you into becoming someone who wants to become the person you want to be.

So how do you fix this? I’m happy to report it’s pretty easy. You just have to be kinder to yourself while you develop this ability. At first it will seem weird to let go of the wanting thoughts in favour of thinking the person you want to be’s thoughts. The reason it will feel weird is you will tell yourself another story that you’re just pretending and that it doesn’t count. But again that’s just another story you’re telling yourself. Because even when you’re being who you feel is the real you you’re still pretending, the only difference is that you’re thinking that person’s thoughts and you’re not judging whether or not you have the right to think them.

Do you know the dance The Bunny Hop? You jump forward twice and back once and you make this halting progress across the dance floor. Such is much of life too. So you’ll Bunny Hop through this too. Some days you’ll be good at catching yourself. Others you’ll choose more habitual thoughts, but the more you practice living different thoughts than those that you’ve habitually chosen the more you will begin to get a taste of how truly free you are.

344 Relax and Succeed - You simple need toYou’re not anyone. You’re not someone. You are possibility. Your brain can think any person’s thoughts and in doing so you can literally be any kind of person you choose to be. The only thing that prevents that from happening is the story you tell yourself about how you don’t believe you’re that capable nor that life can be that easy.

Don’t want to be different. Think the new person’s thoughts as much as possible. Use your angry feelings to act as a signalling system that you are hurting the person you love. Use it as a signalling system to shift into playing the character of someone more confident and self-assured and eventually those thoughts will begin to feel more natural until you get to the point where you can own them so thoroughly that your beliefs will change and you will accept a new identity.

It’s clear you love your boyfriend and it’s sweet that you’re so dedicated to improving his life. But don’t beat up yourself to do that. He wouldn’t want that. Instead blossom. Become the next version of you right alongside him. And you do that by thinking that person’s thoughts instead of the ones you’ve historically thought. Fortunately that’s all very flexible and always has been. You just never realised that you weren’t you—but rather that you are an open, flexible, creative being that can be anyone, and that you had simply made an innocent subconscious choice to be the you you’ve historically been. But wakes don’t move ships so it doesn’t matter who you’ve been or for how long, you still have the freedom to think anyone’s thoughts you choose.

So relax. Remember your freedom. And when in doubt, do what love would do. ((big hug))

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.

Soul Mate School

Every time I see my ex my gut gets heavy and it hurts to even look at her. She says she doesn’t want me in her life anymore but she says the love is not dead. But she’s
with another guy. Should I just stay away? Am I just being a jealous ex?

Broken Up

Dear Broken,

I’ll assume by your phrasing that you’re the one that got left, and the fact that it hurts indicates that this wasn’t the direction you wanted things to go. First off, don’t feel alone. Keep in mind I and almost everyone else you meet will have experienced those feelings. In fact very few 314 Relax and Succeed - The wound is the placepeople who live on this Earth won’t experience them. It’s ultimately extremely human. It would be a shame to live and miss out on feeling it at least once. Without knowledge of it there would be so many other moments that would lose their poignancy.

The reason we know the feeling is that we did the same things you did. Or some variation of them. When people “are together” whether that’s dating or a marriage, there’s a sense that because it’s named that it’s over. That it’s happened in the past tense, as though it was a one-time decision, rather than the truth—which is that it is re-decided over and over and over after each experience, throughout the relationship. Most of us forget that is happening and we slip into a lull where we start to behave unconsciously—where we genuinely lose track of the fact that the decisions we make each day are, in a way, made for more than just us.

This blindness can conceal a lot. Even the cheating spouse isn’t thinking that their point is to ruin their marriage. That’s why they’re sneaking around. They don’t want to ruin the good parts of their relationship. They want to replace or shore-up what they perceive as the bad parts. Or maybe they just want some compliments or to have sex. Do you see how they might tip towards people who are offering one or both? They aren’t thinking about the pain their 314 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes it takes a painfulspouse would feel—in almost every case that’s precisely why they’re keeping it a secret. They don’t want their loved one to experience the pain, but they also don’t want important aspects of themselves to go un-lived or that’s just another kind of pain.

Love is a complicated business once we get words and definitions involved. Without the words and definitions love is left to be a verb, either expressed or suppressed. It does not have a history or a future, real love—the act of love—happens in-the-moment. So if you’re with your partner and you feel close feelings, you will act in a close manner. If your thoughts are elsewhere, on other “priorities” then you will feel those thoughts and in the meantime your relationship will idle from your lack of attention, even though it may have your physical presence. But it is important to remember that your partner is also a thinking being, so as your thoughts are about other things, their thoughts begin to be about other things too. And that is where the distance can start.

You say that your ex says that she still feels that love for you exists but that she wants space from you. Can you understand that just as the breakup is hard for you, that it is hard for her too? I know she initiated it on an official basis, but she may very well feel that you initiated it by having your thoughts focused too-much on subjects other than her. Maybe those thoughts were lazy and easy, like you were focused on the playoffs of a sport or on some important work event or life event like an important new promotion or a wedding or even a death in your family. Our reasons for being distracted can vary, but the distraction is equally innocent, regardless.

Don’t beat yourself up for those distractions—just try to be more aware in the future. And don’t resent her decision—it would have been hard for her too. But know that your thoughts about her are currently a tangled mess of would-be, could-be dead-end thoughts that never lead you to anywhere good. That’s what her thoughts were like before she left you. And just 314 Relax and Succeed - Far too many peoplelike it did for her, eventually your spirit realizes that these thoughts are fruitless, and you begin to naturally abandon them in favour of other more productive thoughts. Over time you replace thoughts of her or your failures with thoughts of other people and the fun you’re having, and just like every other human, your natural resiliency leads you back to health. In the end we don’t so much find our soulmate, it’s more that each relationship teaches us how to be a soulmate for whoever we’re dating.

Yes being left hurts, just as becoming someone who leaves is a painful experience too. The only thing that makes these painful thoughts “go away” is to replace them with other thoughts. She’s done it with someone else (which is why that’s often referred to as “rebound”), but you will have to do this very consciously at the start. Maybe you’ll use a person. Maybe it’ll be an activity or interest. But your naturally healthy mind will find something to focus on and your innate health will emerge as a result. So the only thing you can do it accelerate that process a bit is by really looking for things to invest yourself in. Then when you bounce back to painful thoughts about your ex, know that you can bounce right back to thoughts about something else.

I feel for you. It’s easy to remember the sort of feelings associated with heartbreak. It’s a painful thing to think we’ve let down someone we care about. But it’s not like that was your intention, so you should be forgiving of yourself. Invest your consciousness wisely going forward. Be very intentional about your thinking and your life will reflect those choices.

All the best.

peace and a hug. s