Saturday, October 12, 2013

Do NOT Settle

What's important to you? What are your beliefs? The answer to these question will shape your life.
Think about two people that I'm sure that you've heard of and what matters to them. The things that are important to Mother Theresa are surely not the same things that are important to Osama Bin Laden. They surely believe different things.
It seems that Mother Theresa greatly valued love and compassion. She believed that to meet these values she had to give to others in a way that added value to their lives. Her values and belief was so strong that she made a real difference in the world and never asked for anything in return. She was a beacon of light and hope in even the most desperate and dismal places on the planet. She helped so many people in her life in such a huge way that when she died, great leaders from around the world attended her funeral.
Osama Bin Laden also made a difference in the world, he left his print. He also has values and although I've never met him personally, it seems that one of his big values are significance. There are many people who contribute massively to the world in wonderful ways that really help others. That is based on their beliefs. Osama Bin Laden didn't believe that the way to achieve significance was through love and kindness. His ideas, as we all know, were quite different. He achieved his significance in the way that he believed significance should be achieved.
Osama Bin Laden's and Mother Theresa's values and beliefs are radically different and produced radically different results.
Even if one value that Mother Theresa and Osama Bin Laden shared that was important to both of them was contribution, because both of them had extremely different beliefs of how they should contribute to the world they left very different marks on the world.
People have their ways that they think that the world should be and what they should do to meet the values they hold important. If they value adventure and fun above all other things their life will look completely different than someone who values stability and security above all other things.
You have your ideas of the way that you think life should be. You have your values and your beliefs about what you need to do to meet those values. That will be reflected in your entire life. It will direct and guide you.
Why figure out what you value? Why figure out what you believe about what you need to do to meet those values? If you aren't meeting your values, your life will not feel meaningful. You will feel as if you are not meeting your needs. If you're beliefs aren't serving you in successfully meeting your values, you'll feel frustrated, disappointed and unsatisfied.
These are your ideas of how you're supposed to be, how life is supposed to be, how others are supposed to be and if these things are very different from what your life looks like right now, you will not be satisfied with your life. You'll be unhappy.
It's likely that you've set these values and beliefs up mostly unconsciously throughout your life based on past experience. If you have your values that are very important to you and the beliefs about how you, or others, or life itself should be are set up so that they are very difficult or impossible to meet, then you'll experience what most people call failure over and over again. If your biggest value is significance and you believe that the only way for you to have significance is to win an Olympic gold medal but you're fifty years old, there's a problem.
The good news is: you can intentionally, right now, set it up so that you can succeed. The mind gets into habitual ways of thinking and that creates the emotions that you feel. Those habits are just that, habits. All habits can be changed. Beliefs can be shifted to help you succeed in meeting your values. If you continuously feel like you are failing in meeting your important values you're not serving anyone. When you can feel successful, you'll continue to move forward because it rewards and fulfills you.
Because this is a blog about love and relationships, let's stick to that subject and figure some things out.
* What's an area of your relationship that you're very happy with?
* Why are you happy in that area?
* Do these areas meet your personal expectations of how things "should" be?
* What's an area of your relationship that you're not happy with?
* Why are you unhappy in that area?
* Do these areas meet your personal expectations of how things "should" be?
* How "should" things be in this area, according to you?
* How much pain does this cause you? Be honest with yourself.
* How many rules do you have in the area that you're unhappy with? Explore this. What are your rules?
* What has to be done to meet these rules?
Instead of focusing on this thing that is so unpleasant for you, let's focus on solution. There are three ways that you can do to change this dissatisfaction. You can change the conditions in the relationship. You can take action that will cause things to be different. The problem with this in relationships is that changing the conditions often looks like blame, control, manipulation or bartering to get more love. This doesn't work and creates distance and negative feelings.
The second is to bury your own feelings, to deny that you're feeling disappointed or unsatisfied. This causes great hidden suffering and resentment. Over time, I would say this is a big reason for separation in relationships. People hide what they really want for so long, even from themselves, until they become cold, numb and distant. It will resurface over and over in the form of little problems that you argue about that never get solved. They never get solved because they aren't revealing the real, core issue. This is obviously not productive in our relationships.
The third option and the one that we will give our focus to is changing your rules, or your beliefs about the way that things should be for you, your partner and your relationship to be in alignment with your most important values.
* How "should" a great relationship be in your mind?
* How should your partner behave in your relationship?
* What are you expecting of him?
* Is there an issue in your relationship that you are truly suffering in?
* Is there a part of your relationship that no matter what you do it seems that it doesn't get better and it causes you a great deal of pain?
The last question is caused by the fact that you think that the conditions in your relationship should be different than they are and you feel out of control. The truth is, because your relationship involves another person, there is much that you can't control. But you aren't helpless. You can change the way that you think, feel and react to this issue. You have this option and it can make all the difference in the world in your relationship.
When you think of this problem or issue in the relationship is permanent and unsolvable you put yourself in a position of helplessness. Nothing is permanent and you can always control the way that you think, feel and the choices you make about what to do in response. There is no problem that is unsolvable, otherwise it wouldn't be a problem. A problem, by it's very definition is a matter that is unwelcome that needs to be dealt with and overcome. Look it up.
Another issue that you may have experiences in your relationship, especially when you hide what you really want and bury it, is that the issue becomes something that pervades the rest of the relationship. It takes over, and the color and mood of the relationship becomes the color and mood of the issue. For example: "Because my husband and I fight over finances because we have very different views of money, that means that we aren't on the same team. We just can't get along." Or "Because my wife says she isn't ready to have a baby and I don't want one, that means we are headed in two different directions in life and that won't work." Problems seem big, and when you're experiencing them they take over. Something that is really not that big of a deal is focused on, blown out of proportion and a lot of attention is given to this problem. Talking about it, fighting about it and trying to get yourself to behave in a certain way to solve it simply won't work. This conscious effort is too forced. There are ways, but they don't involve behavioral changes.
When you take this issue or problem is personal, that really effects the way that you feel about yourself, your partner and your relationship. You can't do anything about this problem because you take it on as part of your identity or part of your partner's identity or the identity of the relationship. When you say, "We have this issue with money because I'm smart and like to save it," or "We have this issue with money because my husband is not good with money," or "We have this issue with money because we can't agree on the way it should be saved" you are not speaking the truth of this situation. Those are the stories that you are telling yourself and the roles that you are assigning for yourself, your partner and your relationship that will be played out. It's just stories, it's just labels and you have the power to get rid of them. Is your name really "smart and like to save money"? Is your partner's name really "not good with money"? Is the nature of your relationship "can't agree on how money should be saved"? Don't make the problem part of your identity or part of your mate's identity or part of the identity of the relationship. Instead, think of what it is that you want. Don't you want to be a united team? Don't you want to be harmonious and happy and warmly loving and close? Then focus on that. Put it outside of yourself, outside of him and outside of the relationship. Ask yourself: What can I do to unite with my partner and ease this issue in a way that will bring us closer and create good feelings? Nothing is impossible. No matter what the situation is, it is't personal or permanent and any solution that you desire can be the outcome. It's up to you though, not your mate. Your story can change because you can change it.
When your should matches the way that things are, you're happy. You don't want to ever settle, but if you continuously fail because you set it up that way, you'll stop trying. You have to develop a determined, committed mindset. Dedicate yourself to the cause of love and closeness and you will absolutely find a way to create this in your relationship no matter what the conditions are. The conditions do not matter.
You can change the feeling tone of your relationship when you decide to. This happens instantly, in the present moment. You don't have to wait for things to change, because they won't until you change them. Create transformation by transforming. This is never, ever done in the past, it is impossible to do this in the future, it's only possible right now. But to do it you have to stop settling for less than you are capable of. You have to stop making excuses, stop blaming anyone, including yourself, for anything (no matter what they've done to you blame will never get you where you want to be) and hold yourself to a new standard right now in this moment. STOP SETTLING FOR LESS THAN WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF.
In relationships this means stop settling for lukewarm greetings. Take action. Stop coming home from work and going straight to the computer to post an update on facebook. It's funny how people will do things like this everyday, then complain that there's no passion in their relationship and blame their mate when he/she isn't "in the mood".
The answer to the question "Is there an issue in your relationship that you are truly suffering in?" will give you a clue as to where you need to adjust your should, your story, your values and your decisions. The questions need to shift from "Why is this a problem?" or "What is the cause of this problem?" to "How can I look at this differently in a way that serves me?" "How can I use this circumstance to learn to become a better partner?" and "How can I create an outcome that will increase the love and closeness between myself and my mate?" or "What can I change within myself that will create the best outcome for both of us?"
What can you do? You are empowered to shift your values and/or your beliefs about what expectations about what needs to happen for those values to be met. You can shift what you expect of your partner which will change the way that you feel about him dramatically. You can set it up so that your beliefs about how he should behave in order for you to feel loved, are simple and met just by him breathing and being himself. You can set it up so that your relationship is warm, loving and close no matter what is going on by changing your beliefs about the way it should be.
Some may believe this is lowering your expectations and settling. I would argue that what it really is is not settling but getting rid of the should s that make you feel bad and create pain and failure and instead creating new expectations for yourself and raising your own standards. The interesting thing is: by shifting what you expect from yourself and not settling for old patters, beliefs and behaviors you give yourself the very best chances of succeeding in creating new circumstances. The self is everywhere, it a mirror of your conditions. Change the self and you change all things.
What are some new beliefs that you can have about what your partner needs to do in order for you to feel loved? This is a major cause of upset in most relationships. If you could change this one thing you will change your entire relationship for the better. You will change the way that you feel about him and you will make it possible for you to feel loved. If your belief about what he needs to do for you to feel loved is that he must buy you flowers everyday, tell you how beautiful you are and spend all of his free time with you, you will be disappointed and you're creating great suffering in your relationship.
We create our own suffering in our relationships through the contracts we enter with the other that they are not even aware of. The vast majority of the time, we are not aware of it either. The key to create successful relationships is to have a contract that has one simple line: "You love me when you're breathing" or "I know you love me when I decide to give love to you". Put yourself in control and make it very easy to succeed. You won't settle, you'll succeed more because you'll be rewarded.
You can do this first and feel this sense of certainty that there is love in your relationship no matter where you are now, even if you don't "feel" it at all. You can't not want what you're wanting, and you shouldn't as this is what gives you drive and passion and a reason to be alive. Desire is a spark of life. However, you can create a situation where your values and what you desire is being met all the time so you feel fulfilled.
Painful situations will happen, it's part of life. But it's your choice to suffer. Change is always possible, but you must decide that what you're willing to put up with is not good enough. You don't do this by changing others, you do this by changing yourself.
This doesn't mean that you should put up with abuse. It's never okay to be mistreated. However, it is also not okay to blame another for your pain. You are not the victim, ever. If you are in a situation that is detrimental to your health and well being, your life conditions may need to change. Sometimes this is the way that things need to be and this is your choice.
If you don't choose to change your circumstances, then you can change your beliefs about the ways that things should be. You can leave if you are being abused, or cheated on or you change your beliefs about what that means to you. If you are at a point in your life where you believe that it's okay for your body and mind to be wounded again and again then accept that's where you are. That is the truth. You are empowered to make a change in yourself first. Build your self esteem, learn to love yourself, find new friends and new people who support you, join a support group, but stop complaining and stop blaming. This does not serve you. If you are in a relationship that is unhealthy for you, one in which you are truly being mistreated, if you want to leave but don't feel ready, this requires a shift in yourself and in your mind first. Start there, and then you can feel ready to leave and change your circumstances. Until you do that, you'll never be ready to leave, or if you do, you'll end up in a relationship that looks exactly the same as your old one with a new partner.
Update your should, your story, your belief, your standards and what you are willing to expect from yourself to be in alignment with your wants, needs and values. In order to change your circumstances, you must change on the level of thought first. Change is inner.
* What's your relationship about? What do you believe the purpose of it is? What makes a relationship good?
* What has to happen to meet the purpose and make it good?
* Do these things serve you? Do your values and beliefs make it easy for you to succeed?
If the answer to this question is no, then it's time to change this. Alright, so then the question is how? There are actually many ways to change your beliefs. Beliefs and the power of belief is really what we are talking about here. This is such powerful stuff. Tomorrow I write about the may ways that this can be done. There are a lot of different techniques that really work and make a huge difference in your life if you are willing to put them into practice.  


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