I used to take unloving situations (in my earlier marriage) very personally.
When my first husband had a hard time feeling love for me or saying “I love you” & spoke of his concern about ever being capable of loving me, I used to feel a sting so deep in my heart that it physically hurt. I thought it was because of me. I thought I was truly defective in some way, or inadequate, or not beautiful enough, lovely enough, talented enough, dynamic enough, engaging enough, creative enough, or interesting enough.
I want to tell you how I learned to end that thinking. Completely.
And heaven help me, I hope I can explain this well enough….because I really, really, really think this can rock your world and your marriages and ANY relationships that you have. This bit of enlightenment has been one of the most life changing things I’ve ever learned. I learned it from my fertility acupuncturist, and it still affects my life now nearly every single day.
She pointed out to me that if another person is unkind, offensive, unloving, angry, unhappy, irritable, etc., they are most likely suffering in some way! I’ll never know why this bit of information wasn’t so clear in my head until then. But it changed my life.You see, people in this state are just not doing well, for whatever reason. They simply don’t know that there is a better way to be. Perhaps they …..
-have had unfortunate things happen to them
-have been lacking in opportunities to learn and progress
-have lacked any reasonable teachers of healthy behavior
-have just plain cleaned up one too many boxes of cereal dumped in the kitchen by a 2 year-old and are a bit sharper than normal.
Instead of taking any form of their behavior personally & unleashing your OWN set of dysfunctional behaviors as a response….(for example, responding as a rejected, unwanted, sad, uncheerful, fragile, or insecure wife; or an angry, hell bent, defensive, or critical husband)……INSTEAD, you choose to see the big picture in that moment…..and you choose to believe that they wouldn’t be acting this way if they knew better.
Can you see how powerful that little change in perspective could be? Can you feel some looming distance between a husband and wife getting squashed? Or days of silence never even getting started?
When you have this perspective, instead of feeling a sting in your heart, it’s easier to have your heart go out to them in those moments. And holy crap, that is a world of difference. Chances of you avoiding dysfunctional behavior yourself go way up. And while there are no guarantees, there is also a possible chance that your spouse might have a chance to rise to the occasion.
Now, this is H-A-R-D to do. But totally worth it. The most effective motivation I know of is love.
If we truly want to have the most pure & real kind of love for someone and truly want to be the best version of ourselves that we can be for those that we love, why is it that we drop all those intentions and desires in a hot second when someone harms us or makes us angry? I hope you might let some of that real kind of love start to dominate your actions in those moments…..it will liberate your soul of so much hurt and anguish – more than you could ever imagine.
By some miracle, during the last year of my former marriage, I was able to recognize that I was suffering, just as my spouse was….and though I couldn’t remove his suffering, I could do something about my own. And so I learned to see my former spouse in a different light. I was able to have even more compassion for him & what he was going through. And the biggest triumph of all was learning how to not take his behavior personally any longer. I wasn’t perfect at this as I was learning it, but I remember clearly many, many moments of pure calm & love – – – even when I was faced with situations that would normally make anyone’s blood boil (including my own.) I can’t tell you how empowering it was. It was the most triumphant thing I’d ever done.
It is my wish that every single one of you could tap into this. Once you do it even once, you’ll be amazed at what you’re capable of. And you will get better and better at keeping your own wellness intact.