Just Surviving Your Relationship…

sky-heart

Are you just surviving your relationship? Hoping something will change?

A sign will show up?

One day you’ll finally have the courage to go?

When we’ve given power to everything outside of us to direct us, we end up unfulfilled and stuck.

It’s how we were raised. Little sponges soaking up our environment and giving it meaning about who we think we are…not who we really are in this life.

We don’t realize it’s a lie.

The truth: there’s no love or happiness, if we’ve given control to someone or something else; if we’re waiting for someone to change, they have control and we’re disconnected from ourselves.

To survive we may invest in creating a fantasy space to escape the reality of the hell we’ve chosen.

We delude ourselves, so the relationship isn’t so bad–we tolerate it by pretending and focusing on other things. Leading separate lives. YET…what are we waiting for…permission? Have the ghost of Mom or Dad told us we’re capable of making a good decision and we’re allowed to leave? Are we letting down some false expectation we have of ourselves? Or are we trying to fix an old wound?

How are we loving ourselves by staying in a relationship that no longer fulfills us? Who are WE loving?

There’s no LOVE.

We believe we need to somehow stay in a relationship to prove or heal something from childhood, because we’ve protected ourselves for YEARS or we’re doing the right thing NOW — SEE…we’re not bad, we’re good…we’re stoic! We’re martyrs…where’s my reward? Again–NO LOVE.

What does that mean?

We cover vulnerability with layers of protection, so the trauma and drama are the surface layers. It’s not our truth. It’s where we took someone else’s past CRAP , personalized it and made it about us. We remain in this perception and fear, we never get to a state of vulnerability. We stay in the argument in our head of how this isn’t working, what haven’t we done right or ignore our pain–creating even more pain to choke down. We become depressed and more stuck. 

We may feel it’s safe, WHY? Because it’s familiar.

All we’re doing is feeding our invulnerable, compartmentalized life…we never get to heal, we never get to fix the past by staying somewhere and lying to ourselves. WE NEVER GET APPROVAL!!!!! EVER!!!!

We develop relationships to grow. 

If we’re growing and our mate refuses, simply put, it’s time to move on. Period.

The relationship doesn’t serve its purpose if it doesn’t grow; it’s just a comfort zone.

We take the compartments we developed in childhood and use them to stay in our comfort zone—numbing pain and distracting ourselves, so we don’t have to change our lives. There’s patterns; one or both parent(s) always waiting for something outside of them to change…and how they reacted in the meantime.

How were our parents stuck?

What dreams did they give up?

What did they complain about often when it came to their relationships?

Do we fulfill the position of the one complaining or the one who doesn’t want to show up?

Did they divorce and we felt it was our fault? Did we make an agreement based on it with our partner, to stay together even if there’s no love?

Did they withhold love or approval from us?

Those questions have nothing to do with our true self, our authenticity or vulnerability.

We learned to have OUR perception from our answers to those questions. WE LEARNED–it’s not inborn in us. We learned: How to survive a relationship, rather than truly LIVE and LOVE!

 

Nothing we learned emotionally as a child, in being invulnerable and stuck, bears repeating as an adult.

How do we get real and get out?

This requires courage and some self-love.

First, dig deep: What is your truth? Are you afraid to see it? Good. It means you’ve been doing a lot of surviving and pretending. Look at all the false beliefs you have about yourself and relationships—every negative one is something untrue that you made a truth.

Second, recognize your REAL truth. “Am I loving myself by being here? What would a LOVING action be for myself? What am I proving? What’s the lie I tell myself that makes it a benefit to remain here?”

Third, recognize your needs? Are they fulfilled? In a dead relationship, no one is going to fulfill your needs…time to start to fulfill your needs…begin loving yourself.

Fourth, Take ACTION. Take the risk…go for the freedom. Love yourself, even if it’s a left turn, then you decide you want to go right…so what?? Love is taking action for YOU. Put your needs first, once you do, make a choice, go live your life, leave the relationship, CREATE A LOVING ENVIRONMENT ELSEWHERE FOR YOU and stop settling–you deserve LOVE.

We’re all worthy of love. ALL OF US.

Inertia is a breathing DEATH.

Action even if you’re not sure what to do is better than NOT living.

There’s a quote, build the plane while you’re flying it. And another, feel the fear–do it anyways!

Start flying and you’ll figure out your steps as you go…over-thinking leads to more stagnation. So…take action TODAY. Life is short and LOVE IS FOR ALL OF US.

Teaching People How to Treat Us

Got a complaint? See the round file to the left.

Words.

Words used to convey displeasure with no solution, become words with no meaning.

It’s almost like the drone of ocean waves on your radio, lulling you into a coma. Except when you complain with the hope of change happening, the drone upsets and creates “defensive” drama rather than calm.

Don’t like drama?

Hmmm.

We create it by our response to it, even if it doesn’t begin with us.

Many of us find ourselves in situations at work or our personal life in which we feel confined or flat out, we feel miserable. Sometimes we feel the only strength we have is the power to complain.

And stay stuck.

And continue to teach people it’s okay to treat us in a certain way, which may be disrespectful of our needs, our time or our value.

And no amount of complaining to the source or our friends or family will change the dynamic. 

We find these scenarios over and over again, until we take responsibility and say STOP.

We stop ourselves from the din of our own voice repeating the same thing over and over.

We stop moving backwards and we stand still.

The realization has hit us between the eyes.

Today we understand how much power we have been giving away.

This dawning allows us to see clearly.

We are aware of three reasons we are so angry. The first reason is from our own expectations that a situation or a person should change without us changing too.

And the second reason we are angry, is that it doesn’t change. Our belief that if we were nice, accommodating or silent it would get us what we want; except it NEVER DOES. And so that anger we have basted, stewed and have trouble containing is turned inward on ourselves.

And anger at the self is manifested into some lovely habits of denial, compartmentalizing and numbing out. Some activities, support the numbing, whether it is over-eating, drinking, gambling, shopping or anything which becomes unhealthy, because of the reasons behind it.

And all the while, you may have the veneer that you are just fine. Except you are not.

The third reason is we’re completely lost as to why we allow this dynamic to keep happening in our lives (Part of my job is to help others see the pattern within clearly).

When we allow behaviors, and negative situations to happen, but wait for a miracle, we are abusing ourselves in anticipation of, again, something outside of us changing.

There is no empowerment in trying to control what you CANNOT in your external world.

There’s always a choice, sometimes this choice makes you the most uncomfortable. It’s the one that you put off, put aside and try to avoid and it’s the one you need to choose for your own welfare.

Today you begin. You connect the dots; you see your part as the lead actor in your own play. It is sort of exciting, because it’s a major opportunity.

You get to change your mind, make decisions and do the right thing for you.

I’ve learned in my own life that even though I may be in a precarious position, one in which I need money, love, friendship, work, etc….I have to GIVE UP the need that is killing me!! If I stay ALLOWING my feelings, boundaries, wants and needs to get trampled, I am stuck!

Even though standing for myself is SOOOO hard, it’s actually simpler and happier in the long run.

Everyone is then clear on what I accept, when I act respectful toward myself.

When I do make a different decision, sometimes loss is inevitable. Other times, I receive a major surprise. When making a decision for ME, I’m prepared for there to be a loss and to accept whatever the outcome is in the situation.

When you stop accepting shitty behavior, which doesn’t happen through your words of complaint, people either go away or start to treat you with respect.

Your external actions, non-engagement and change of attitude are what lead you out of this crapp-a-licious pattern.

Your internal recognition of you are the creator of your Universe is important to embrace. It’s up to you, to look at the “feelings” and “emotional obstacles” you’ve placed inside your mind, which make you BELIEVE you DESERVE misery and not happiness.

We tell ourselves some mighty fine stories as to why we stay in a victim or martyr position, thinkin’ we’re doing the right thing for ourselves or someone else…we think it’s the ONLY way.

IT’S NOT!!!

It’s the choice we’re used to making in our lives. When we don’t look inside , but stay focused on the problem outside of us; we don’t get to the root of the issue. This causes pain everyday. EVERYDAY.

I work with clients all the time, who cannot seem to get a handle on a situation. They look at the problem rather than how they are the common denominator in the recurring theme.

Once they start to see their part in the soap opera, a change happens. They see their “story” that they created to keep them living in this limited world.

It’s always an old story from the long ago past.

When teaching people how to treat you, it comes from you treating yourself better. There is no need to be protective or manipulative or victimized.

It’s your change of perception, which changes EVERYTHING.

You no longer see the world through old filters from the LIMITED old story.

You start to set boundaries down with people, even when you’re afraid they can abandon you….and AMAZINGLY, instead of it harming you, it creates confidence and self-esteem.

Well-being becomes the norm for you, when you stop participating in a drama that harms you. If you are interested in chatting with me about this topic, please email me at Tracy@tracycrossley.com

Innocence Lost Part 2

As we get older, many of us can’t figure out why dreams and goals are harder to achieve than at 20.

The reason is the word: “experience.”

As mentioned in my previous post, we give meaning to experiences and place those in OUR backpack.

And when the same outcome shows up to our experiences, we allow it to define us.

There are a variety of experiences in life; we ONLY give meaning to the ones that fit OUR perception of ourselves. We let other events, which could give us a different definition of our lives, slide by without notice or giving credit to them.

As we get older, we just see more of the same.

The words “every, always and never” have become a permanent part of our vocabulary: He ALWAYS does that! She NEVER listens! EVERY time I eat here they screw something up!

Is life really all about absolutes?

Do these things ALWAYS happen to you EVERY time, while believing deep, down inside that your dream will NEVER come true?

There are many examples, everyday, of life giving us what we believe we deserve. And at the same time life gives us new opportunities for what we want. But, when they don’t fit OUR picture of life or patterns of how we operate; we dismiss them altogether.

Love and life can be different, RIGHT NOW. Opening ourselves to SEEING, FEELING and BEING available to other experiences, people and opportunities is the ONLY way we don’t end up bitter, sad and alone.

It takes courage to walk on hot coals in a place you’ve never been emotionally, but when you commit to it on the deepest level, it is where miracles happen.

Commit to walk through your own sludge (Just like moving through cement) and open your heart and mind.

When you meet someone new, try not to judge them right off the bat by placing them into a category. Be open to what they can bring to your life. People surprise us all the time, if we let them.

Do yourself and those in your life a favor; remove their labels of NEVER, ALWAYS or EVERY and set them free. Watch for the differences. The times she does listen, the times he doesn’t do that and the times when your order comes out perfectly fine.

We see life as a bit more balanced this way, allowing us to unload the backpack. If we do it often enough, we start getting rid of all that luggage we’ve been collecting…

Give life and people a chance, give them more chances…but, most of all give yourself a chance.

Each time you walk on hot coals by being honest with yourself, you’re rewarded with well-being, happiness, relief, and knowing there really is no other way to live.

All the ideas you have about life are subject to change if you let them.

Where did you get the idea that you were invisible, unworthy, bad, unlovable, stupid, etc…? Take a second and see if you can remember when it happened. You gave meaning and power to this event, it labeled or handicapped you in some way, can you see its lack of validity?

Can you see that it was a moment in time, in which as a child or as I like to say a “human sponge” you soaked up the experience? You let it define you. Maybe an adult told you “How many times do I have to tell you not to run through the sprinklers in your school clothes? You never listen, you always do what you want and I’m sick of you and telling you this every time! You’re bad!”

Or something like that….

And you made a label for yourself. Except that label covered ONE thing at the time, but BECAUSE we believed it, we created other situations to prove to ourselves its truth. “See, they are right; I’m bad, ugly, boring, mean, etc…no one is ever gonna like me.”

The event could’ve been big or small. Maybe you were teased all the time? Or you were the bully? Or you were the quiet one? The smart one? Etc…this is how we go through life.

And we can always change it, and what do we have to lose by changing our definition of our LIMITED selves?

We LOSE a comfort zone, a place to wallow, hide, be angry, sad, bitter, alone and stay stuck in growing misery. A misery, that if we don’t challenge our views on our self, love and life, will just suck the life out of us as we get older.

You gave meaning to events that may have been more neutral than you originally thought, right? You personalized them, because it may have been an authority in your life who gave you the label. And maybe they were mistaken?

I’m sure there is a fairly decent amount of evidence showing you the opposite has been true all along.

And when you see truth, you start unloading more luggage. You can’t avoid pain, but when you feel it, allow it, so you receive equal parts of joy.

Life is never perfect, there is always something(s) we want to change. Recognize it, but don’t let it mean something bad about you, because it’ll stop you from taking new action.

Taking new action for happiness can be like swimming through cement. If it feels like cement (a wall), then it needs to go. And the only way it goes, is if you go through it…doing what you have never done or doing what you did a long time ago when it failed and now you know it was a ONE time event, which can have a different outcome.

So, get the jackhammer out, start chipping away at those old experiences that shaped your view.

Then strap on a parachute (much lighter than a backpack) and take a leap of faith into the unknown with different action. Jump off the cliff, give life a chance to show you it’s already different, it was just waiting for you to put on different glasses.

Here is a link to Part One.

The Pattern Keeper

Definition: Kinda like the horse whisperer, but more in line with being addicted to a way of living, which is beyond all logic, and actively BLOCKS action toward any goal you have of happiness or wholeness.

It is easy to achieve “keeper” status when you ain’t payin’ any attention.

We all do it when we say, “Why does this keep happening to me over and over?”  Or “ I try so hard and nothing seems to work”. Yes, my friend…you are the “pattern keeper” too, indiscriminately whispering repetitively to yourself, what you deserve.

And when it comes to others. Let’s say in your most important relationship your partner continually finds comfort in wallowing in self-pity. This person is pity party central over a bad hair day or a trip to the dentist ruins their entire week. You feel you have tried everything to lift his or her jowls off the floor and what you really want to do is SCREAM. You want to say, “If you don’t like your steak well-done then start ordering it how YOU like it!” And taking it a step further, let’s just say this is your pattern in this situation; “be nice, then you can’t take it anymore and blow up” does this help toward bonding and being happy? Hell no!

It is hard to take a step back and decide that you won’t participate in such a detrimental way. You decide you won’t punish yourself or the other person by losing your cool and saying things you will regret. Instead, you take a deep breath and say, “What does this person need from me right now?” Not sympathy, but COMPASSION. If your goal is love and happiness, then you step out of your anger pattern and take a very uncomfortable step into authentic compassion.

I am sure as “pattern keepers”, that scenario could be applied to several situations. I know in my own life it is an experience I am confronted with and have actively stepped into compassion—it feels better and is where I want to skip along to as I make this journey.

We think we are aware of what we do and why we do it, but most of the time we are just reacting to something in the past. We keep the past alive and well when we are not aware.

We say, “I want to buy a house, so I need to save money.” And we try so hard for a day or a week and then that really cool car or Jet Ski with its immediate gratification seems to be a better bet and we again move out of alignment with our goal.

We get fed up, angry and resentful.

We swear and promise that we will not be stuck in Groundhog Day.

Anger and frustration do not create a smooth road to peace; it instead lengthens the distance you must travel. It is the continued route of resistance, ennui, drama and everything else belonging in a soap opera. You are the main character when you don’t “see and understand the origin of your patterns” and “when you don’t take action NOW by making different choices (as difficult as it is) to gain a different outcome.”

You must listen for the whisper. The whisper belongs to a thought that is uttered by the pattern keeper within you. If you react with disappointment to news of a loss or something which makes you question “who you are” with depression or withdrawing from life, PAY ATTENTION. This is a PERFECT opportunity to grab back your dreams from the grasp of the pattern keeper. You can decide to respond differently to those circumstances. This is the KEY. Don’t let YOU hold YOU back.

Things don’t go our way, a lot of the time. Don’t let the pattern keeper do a number on your mojo! As hard as it is to respond favorably to disappointment, see it is a temporary setback and keep on groovin’ down that party line. Make a choice to not let that pattern of reaction be the RULER. Take back your power and make shit happen!

I do this regularly, especially when I feel stuck. I know it’s the pattern keeper in me spinning its head around and barfing up green gook. I have bigger dreams and the only way to achieve them is to hear that “whisper” and take opposite action. Make it opposite day and see what you achieve.

Obviously, I am not trying to inspire violence or any law breaking here; more importantly I am saying don’t do what is comfortable (that is always a red light flashing)…instead go emotionally sky-diving!!! Jump off that cliff!

The older you get the more the pattern keeper may rule, after all you have all these years of experience to back up those patterns. Your dreams don’t die; they get buried in your own limitations. It is all in your head when you take the path that is comfortable, the one, which make your days resemble Groundhog’s Day. Take the path of least INNER resistance; don’t battle yourself.

Listen for the whisper. Stop for a minute and decide to take opposite action even if you feel you have cement blocks for feet. Then take you and all your heaviness, spread your wings and fly like you are a child once again. You will feel a sense of giddiness when you see yourself moving away from the pattern keeper. You will recognize your empowerment and feel anything is possible. I promise!!

Please check out my article on the elephant journal. Click here to read it!!!

Rear View Mirrors

While driving, someone I know was busy looking backwards, in his rear view mirror and literally, rear-ended the car in front of him.

It’s kind of a funny thing, when you consider he believed he knew the road ahead.

Guess he thought it looked like the road he had already driven down many times.

Memory lane is great for a few laughs and warm tinges of sentiment. It is definitely not the way to live in the present or create a future that is full of opportunity.

Saying we want peace, happiness, love and success in our lives requires a level of truth within oneself.

The truth as I have stated before is not a story of some past woe or success.

Seeking the truth is easy, it is that whisper or maybe a nudging from your heart. It is being in the present moment, almost as a newborn child. A clean slate, not encumbered by baggage or a slanted perception. Stepping forward into the unknown.

I have spoken about the unknown in previous posts.

As much as we say we want different, when the opportunity to experience new comes skipping along, we turn to the nearest tree and hide behind it. We don’t know if we can trust this interloper, because we are not familiar with the feeling.

Meaning, the feeling of “discomfort”, due to change or something different than our usual menu of the “known’. If it feels comfortable, please interpret this as… the same present, just re-gifted with a pretty bow.

When we look to the past to go forth, we seek what is familiar. We look for the ties that bind us to the past, even though we could swear our binoculars are set in front of us.

My favorite game of name that past pattern, is when we meet someone that we think is different.

We exclaim to ourselves, this person is nothing like our ex-mate or date, past mean boss or backstabbing friend. Only to find out that comfortable feeling we had when we met and it appeared to “click” is the “pattern” vacuuming us into its black hole of anti-matter.

The pull to the past can be incredibly strong.

We may not even be aware we are sucked into its vortex.

And we are the common denominator in our sad story. We were there for past events, present moments and the future to be determined.

Some people never leave the past AT all.

They have one foot in old relationships, old paradigms and old beliefs, which are ALL way past their due date.

This poor individual is holding on and afraid to let go, because that would require taking action and stepping into the unknown.

This person CANNOT tell themselves “truthfully” that this part of their life is over and no matter how long they hold on, they cannot revive a dead guppy. They don’t want to quit or fail, but maybe they could ask themselves: if the audience has long gone home and you are the only one standing there waiting for the trophy, maybe the fight is over?

Or maybe this individual in their fear of moving on ….  is holding out for a miracle and hoping something will change?

Their fantasy could be hoping the other party they hold onto will finally wake-up or have a personality transplant or see the light as to how awesome this individual is and “silly wabbit” they should have never dismissed this person from their love, life, business or friendship….

Miracles don’t come for those who wait with their backs toward the future; miracles come to those who participate in LIVING their life no matter what condition they are in mentally, physically, financially or emotionally.

An ending, emotionally, to an already over and done relationship, is a great way to step out of the past.

Make peace with it and see the relationship as an experience, in which you learned about yourself and allow it to propel you toward something different, healthy; a new beginning.

You can’t invite in the present or future until you appropriately put the past, well, in the past. Move on. Your dreams are not found looking backwards, they are only in front of you or beside you as you start to live into them.

The past can be insidious in keeping you stuck.

You could be having a conversation with someone and a “feeling” comes out of left field hitting you in the gut.

All of a sudden your demeanor changes as you relate that feeling to a past event with someone else. Now you don’t even realize you are “literally” in that past moment as you are relating to the person NOW in front of you. And you are now acting like you did in the past, instead of seeing if the situation you are NOW participating in will have a different outcome.

I can tell you, IT WON’T.

Why? Because, by your reaction to your OWN feeling you are going to create THAT same outcome! Yes, you have that much control!

Hallelujah! The past is repeated! You say to yourself, “See, nothing ever works out!” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

And then your “story” grows.

Now you have more ammunition to load into your new “promise” to yourself. You promise to have more control over your life, what you do and who you let in….an air of suspicion, as no one can be trusted.

Instead of opening yourself more to the unknown and opportunities you have yet to experience, you create the “tv set” for more soap operas to emerge.

As your “story” unfolds from the past moving forth; you spend hours, days, weeks strategizing the “what ifs”.

All the different scenarios that could possibly happen to you are analyzed; you are prepared for anything to come up–all surprises accounted for and nothing slipping in the back door, oh yes…you got it covered!

Or do you?

99% of the time all the scenarios you created in your head, never happen.

And as you were busy thinking of all the possible outcomes, all that time strategizing a future that never came to be, you weren’t even living in the present moment. You were living in the past, because all of those scenarios were based on things that had gone wrong in the past.

It is almost feels like the Universe does it on purpose, all that mental prep work and viola! Nothing happens.

Another favorite “name that past pattern game”, is the one in which you meet someone new. And this person is actually different than others in your past.

Yet, you are bound and determined to ensure this relationship will fail too.

You remember the feelings you had in the past when you trusted another person. You were disappointed, disillusioned and hurt. You find yourself in an odd place with this new person, because they don’t seem to be responding to you as others did in the past. They seem to have different qualities….but you tell yourself the three-headed monster will emerge soon enough and prove once again that no one can be trusted….not even you.

You see this is the crux of what I discuss with my clients.

It is not a matter of you trusting others.

It is a matter of you trusting “YOU” to handle the disappointment when things don’t work out how you wanted; it is your fear of your own inability to handle your own emotions when it doesn’t go your way. We run through life avoiding that which may cause us to possibly be hurt and disappointed, because we may be overwhelmed by our state of mind. Unable to function. And again, our world grows smaller and smaller.

If you can catch yourself running from situations and people which elicit a feeling or a memory from the past…

Catch it with your butterfly net…..and hold it for a minute or two. See what that feeling tells you rather than you just succumbing to the fear it brings you. Look at it closely and see that it is harmless. It always was harmless, its only potency was the “power and energy” you gave to it and now in the present moment, you have a choice. 

Will you carry that past feeling you are experiencing into the current situation, so you can repeat the past?

Or will you choose to recognize it and realize it has no power in the present, unless you allow it to take over. Yes, you are in control and resilient even if things don’t go your way.

You see the more honest you are with yourself the more “whole” you become.

And the more whole you become, the more resilient you are to handle disappointment.

And then you are able to see the future as a newborn, knowing that what happened in the past does not need to be recreated unless that is what you choose…so look at every road as untraveled, even if you have been down it a million times. You never know what new opportunity may be coming after that next green light.

Do you?

Do you always understand what you are doing, before you do it? Or do you find sometimes you are on auto-pilot and have no real inkling as to why you are doing something?

How often during an average day are you aware of your emotional state? Do you find some days as you work that you feel discomfort, anxiety or some other not so wonderful feeling? Do you try to distract yourself? Push it down? Or do you allow the discomfort to envelope you and let it go?

On Sunday night, do you already anticipate what Monday looks like? What people will act like and what situations await you? Does it give you a pit in your stomach or a sense of anticipatory anxiety? Or are you able to live in the moment of being in Sunday night and have no expectations as to what awaits you on Monday?

These are just a sample of the questions I ask when trying to build self-awareness and responsibility for our inner life. These questions unveil patterns of thought, behavior and action. Many of our patterns are unconscious, and some of the conscious ones cause us great distress, because we don’t know how to take action to change our thoughts or reality. We beat ourselves up over and over. The self-flagellation becomes less as we grow more in control of our choices and where the choices originate from inside of us.