I read a lot of emails, comments, posting on the forum etc and one of the things that becomes clear is that until we ‘get’ it, we’re excuses driven people, prone to self-blame, dramatisation, and lamenting why things haven’t gone our way. When we have our own personal epiphany and connect the dots about our mentality, with what we say, and then what we do, we ‘get’ it, and start seeing the excuses, blame, drama, and lamenting for what they are:
reasons/excuses to avoid change
The problem is that you’ll stay stuck instead of adapting your position to generate different results.
We are human and creatures of habit. I know some people who feel like their world is breaking down by giving up their habit of buying a coffee first thing in the morning – breaking love habits as you can imagine is much harder. It feels damn scary choosing a different route because particularly when it comes to relationships, we prefer the familiar uncomfortable to the unfamiliar comfortable of the unknown that we would have to navigate if we decided to take charge and make changes.
I gave up smoking nearly nine years ago. It was an uncomfortable admission to make at the time, but I wasn’t really even enjoying smoking the last couple of years that I smoked. Unsurprisingly, that aspect of doing things out of habit and not acknowledging how I felt about things filtered its way through other areas. Staying in relationships even though I didn’t even like the guy any longer (or never really had). Continuing to date someone even though I really wasn’t enjoying it as it was the familiar uncomfortable so I sort of knew what came next. Doing a couple of jobs that made my stomach churn and the list goes on.
One of the things that can be difficult, especially when you have a dubious relationship pattern, is owning how you feel.
Some of you may not be used to being allowed to express how you feel, and others may only know how to express how they feel in extremes – this will mean you’ll feel really uncomfortable when there isn’t any drama going on and life feels ‘normal’.
For some of you, you’ve spent so long pretending to be something that you’re not in the hope that you will be loved, liked, and accepted, that you may not know who you are or what you feel – sometimes you’ll draw a blank or you’ll think that what you feel is something that it’s not, possibly because you know no different. Just as much as you’ll be afraid to admit that you’re angry or hurt, you may equally be unwilling to acknowledge that you are sometimes doing things that stand in the way of you actually getting somewhere. When you think about taking charge and being and doing different, you come up with lots of ifs, buts, and maybes, and excuses why it’s easier to stay as you are.
It takes a lot more energy to fight something than it does to acknowledge and deal with it. Equally it takes a lot more energy to pretend on an ongoing basis than it does to be yourself.
This is not about saying, ‘OK, I feel miserable so I will be miserable forever and ever’ but it is about saying ‘You know what? I’m p*ssed off but I’m going to deal with it because I don’t want to keep returning to this feeling’ and when you’re ready, getting up and bit by bit, taking charge of your life and doing whatever it takes to change the record.
It’s challenging what you think about your efforts and differentiating between something genuine and uncontrollable that throws a monkey wrench in the works, and something that seems easier to blame and cling to that is actually controllable.
It’s hard, but you have ask yourself ‘Am I doing whatever it takes?
If I really want that relationship, what am I doing to make it happen?
Am I chasing the same guy(s) and expecting different results?
Am I still acting with a lack of self-love and covering it up with bravado and pretence?
Have my fundamental beliefs about myself, love, and relationships actually adjusted to reflect the fact that I really do want love and a relationship? If they haven’t, what am I going to do to address these?’
They say ‘I think, therefore I am’. Actually that’s true. You can talk a good game but if your mentality says that life is a load of sh*t where you’re not good enough, love’s not going to happen for you, people let you down, abandon you, don’t value you etc, you will often unknowingly reflect this in your actions.
A reader emailed me recently. After planning an overhaul of her very routine life where she wasn’t meeting anyone and insisting that she’d had enough, there were more excuses than you can shake a stick at. The bar staff were a bit weird, she didn’t like the location of another restaurant, she was in pain after the gym, and she felt uncomfortable at the class she attended and there were no ‘hot guys’. The date she went on, the guy was too boring and on another, she didn’t like his choice of drink. She insisted on trying online dating, but was only interested in the most unsuitable candidates. It sounded like she had given up and she seemed very accepting of this apparent ‘defeat’ when really, the only defeats were her own mentality. I suggested that she was afraid of actually putting herself out there and was finding a litany of faults to make it easier to slip back into her old pattern. At first she was indignant and then she admitted that she was.
‘You’ve given up after barely a month but you’ve spent the best part of twenty five years doing the same thing chasing assclowns and Mr Unavailables. Is it fair to say that you haven’t really given this a shot?’
She’s not being honest for my benefit; she’s being honest for her own. At least when you’re honest, you can be aware of any inadvertent sabotaging behaviour and any limitations to your potential relationship success…that you’re imposing.
Just like when another reader professed her exasperation about a guy that wouldn’t ‘let’ her go that was ruining her life – trust me, the guy’s a using assclown, but she knows this and willingly goes back, so she’s actually ruining her own life. Tough to hear but true.
He can’t take advantage of something that isn’t on offer.
For those of you who truly want love, ask yourself:
Recently, what have I truly done to help bring love into my life?
For instance, let’s say that you have a routine, a relationship pattern, ask yourself:
What have I changed about my life routine and my relationship pattern to help me be in a position to find a partner?
If you’ve done the usual thing of going to work, hanging out online, the gym, groceries, and spent some mental energy wondering what’s going on with your ex or whoever or whatever is taking your mental space, what is so different that you expect to generate a different result?
If you literally do the same thing day in day out, week in, week out, aren’t you leaving it all a bit to chance? Like POOF, a man will fall out the sky and be waiting on the dairy aisle at the supermarket.
If your life is fairly routine and even dare I say it, predictable, what new things have you done?
Think about the past month, how much of that time have you spent thinking about:
a) how you’re never going to find love or any other negative thoughts you have about yourself, love, and relationships; or
b) an ex or an elusive object of your affections?
If you have gone and put yourself ‘out there’ but found yourself with same guy, different package, have you asked yourself what is it about your love habits that has you gravitate to the same guy?
Sometimes we find that because we’re not being honest with ourselves we don’t realise how we may be replicating behaviour but just in another way that we don’t recognise – e.g. chasing illusions online with guys and then switching to chasing illusions in the ‘real’ world and thinking it’s different.
How much of your activity has revolved around catering to a dysfunctional dynamic with an ex or an object of your affections?
Your life will not move on whilst you’re nurturing a dysfunctional dynamic from your past.
Which old habits and relationship pattern have you engaged in recently?
For instance, if you have a habit of meeting dodgy men online, have you continued to try and pursue men online instead of going into the real world?
Whilst there is something to be said for faking it till you feel it, are you spending a lot of time pretending? If you are pretending, what are you pretending about?
If you pretend, illusions gather at a fast pace.
Are you being realistic about your expectations? For instance, are you expecting instant results? Are you hypercritical about potential partners writing them off because they don’t like reading the same books as you, when you’ve held onto men who don’t like being in the same relationship as you?
It’s not about giving yourself a hard time in a negative way – it’s about saying that sometimes, we can’t see the potential reward from adapting our habits; we see obstacles, what seems like too much effort on our part, and an easiness to slip back into the familiar. But remember, just like when we can become trapped by our feelings, we can be trapped by our own negative messaging which means it’s important to work on changing the script and take ownership and control.