Is Your Relationship Working ?

Here is my question about hard work, does it pay off in relationships? Some hard work is absolutely required, because people are hard work. I am not sure if there is a way around that, but there are ways to make the hard work much more rewarding and not always SO difficult. 

If relationships were only successful based on hard work, we would see some amazing results because we all know how to work hard at love! Can we really make a relationship work?We have been unfortunately miseducated on how to have great relationships because how many divorces follow in the footsteps of a commitment to working hard no matter what? Why do we believe that just because we work so hard or give so much time to someone, that we are due the reward of a happy relationship? 

Hate to tell ya, no one owes you sh**. Happy to tell you, you can have a much more interesting life and love life if you do not worry about what anyone owes or whatever it is you think you deserve or need so terribly. You can have whatever you like! Just because you can. I hope this gives you a huge sense of relief instead of despair, but those too are choices. Whatever you desire, you get to choose it if you dare. Whatever you despise, you also are allowed to choose that. So, if your relationship is not working, or you do not have the relationship you truly desire, what are you refusing to choose or pretending you can’t choose?

How do you know if your relationship is working? Well, don’t you just know? This is really a question you can only ask yourself and is absolutely worth asking. Start by saying the word : TRUTH, outloud. I notice that if I am willing to be brutally honest with myself, my choices are crystal clear. Truth, is this relationship working for me? Yes, or no? If it’s not screamingly obvious that the relationship is or is not working for you, start by acknowledging what is working! 

Is your life greater with them in it? Do you wake up looking forward to the day? What do they add to your life? Do they make you laugh? Are they fun? Great sex? It better fu**ing be, and if it’s not yet, is it getting better? Do you love the home you have made together? The friendship? A business? What works? 

I love going through a list of what I am grateful for, and not the things I am supposed to be grateful for or am positively judging; but the things, the moments, the places, the people and magic that continue to show up in my life. I married one of my best friends from college, we have kids that make me wonder how I could possibly be this lucky because they totally adore me and amaze me every day, I live in my favorite city and fall more in love with Los Angeles every moment, I talk about boys for a living, and I am surrounded by incredibly talented and lovely friends. 

Now, this might sound like bragging and I am okay with that. We are taught to be humble and compliment others, give credit for our hard work and brilliance to others, keep quiet in general, we never want to be responsible for making someone else feel bad or jealous. That wouldn’t be cool right? I get it, we want to be nice, but if we assume we hurt anyone by being ourselves, by choosing greater, by being awesome, we are being extremely unkind to ourselves, and everyone by refusing to allow others to be either blinded by our brilliance or inspired by it. 

We play it small, cut ourselves down, try to repair our self esteem by looking as cute as possible on social media, keep ourselves hidden, pretend we don’t want what we really desire, wait, wait, wait, and basically exhaust ourselves trying to force our lives and relationships to be small enough to be controlled. And I do it too, I am for sure part of this we that I am talking about, and I am seeing more and more clearly where I am choosing less because of what is not working in my life. 

What is not working? Again, you just know, but in order to acknowledge what’s working, you have to take a look at your relationships (and if you like every area of your life) but how much of what you have decided is not working like money or your job or your happiness, have you decided relationships are the problem and/or answer to? Is your relationship the answer to your problems or the cause of them? What if its neither? What would a relationship be if it wasn’t the problem or the answer?

An easy way to tell what’s not working is ask yourself: how much of my relationship am I avoiding? What am I using my relationship to avoid having? Truth, what is not working for me? And don’t worry, just because something is not working does mean that you have to break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or end your relationship. You are only looking at it for now! And you don’t have to but at some point, you will have to.

What are you avoiding? Is there something you desire to have more of in your life? More laughter? More friends? More pleasure? Are you avoiding responsibility?  Someone needing you? Freedom? It’s very interesting, what are we avoiding when we are in a relationship and when we refuse to be in one? A lot of us might avoid being needed or needing someone. Getting hurt! That’s a big one. Being lonely too. How many of us look for love to avoid being alone?

So, whatever you are avoiding, what if you did not have to avoid it to choose something different? And is avoiding it working? Or is avoiding it actually causing it to scream louder for your attention the longer you wait? I know we think we are playing it safe or that we can hold onto our relationships longer if we sweep things under the rug. We might also fool ourselves into believing that time will take care of things for us. Does that work?

You know what actually changes something, even the stickiest ickiest problems and picks, acknowledgement. Acknowledge everything and watch it change or stop bothering you, even disappear. It is an amazing and bizarre gift, knowing what you know! It’s also bizarre that we are taught we know nothing, have to learn everything, need to pay attention, memorize lots of important information, and ultimately be told what to think. 

I guess it’s not that bizarre because dumbing us down is a great and very easy way to control us. When you were a child, were you asked what you knew? About anything? Or were you taught to think? To be the best thinker in class? What if thinking has absolutely nothing to do with knowledge? What do you know that thinking makes you doubt? When you decide you do not know anything, does your life work or not work? Is pretending you need time to think and figure things out, and wait and see what happens, is not actually playing it smart. 

You know. You know what works for you and your life. You do not have to pretend to need advice. Would you be willing to start asking yourself: what do I know? Especially when you catch yourself thinking or saying you don’t know. What if every time you say you don’t know, you get farther away from the life you desire? What if every time you admit what you know, you have more of the life you love? What if every time you acknowledge your greatness you have more of you?

There are a few other easy LOUD signs that you’re choosing something that isn’t working for you. Are you using anything as a coping mechanism to make you feel better about your relationship? Or non relationship? Do you work late to avoid being home with your partner? Do you text your friends to distract you from what’s missing in your love life? If you are using food, drugs, drinking as ways of coping with the difficulties in life which most of us do to some extent, and I know we don’t really want to talk about this but most of us at least my friends are still coping with our childhoods. 

Another loud sign is not so loud as it is HEAVY. Take a look back at your life so far and especially at the moments you just KNEW something was wrong. I remember taking a job as a barista that I thought would be easy and fun but within two minutes of training with the owner being a complete freak I knew without doubt I would be miserable working there. I stayed longer than five minutes but not much. Another time I went on a date and the moment in began, literally walking into the movie theater, I was repulsed by the poor guy who asked me out. When I know, I know. And unfortunately, I am a very very very terrible liar. 

My walls go up, I shoot into an anxiety attack, I have a difficult time even hearing what anyone is saying let alone being present and engaging. If I know something is not working, I have to choose something different or suffer. Marriage has shown me that there is nothing fun about fighting, and that when we do fight, we are often fighting against what we actually desire! Isn’t that the weirdest thing? The weirdest and the worst. Unless you acknowledge it and can choose beyond it. 

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