The one thing I understand about successful relationships is that it will always take two to make it work. I’ve had enough of them to know, both great ones and not so great ones. The great ones I’ve experienced are those in which I was able to maintain a sense of self within it. And this is probably the most important factor in any relationship. A sense of self. And I can hear a few of you asking “What the heck do you mean by ‘sense of self’, I know who I am and I’ll defend myself to the hilt!” Well, the truth is this, if you knew who you were in the first place you wouldn’t have to defend yourself. When you know what and who you really are underneath all the bullshit and bravado, you’d know that you have nothing to defend. Believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s a bloody awful place to be to feel you have to defend who and what you are all the time. The only reason the defence is there in the first place is because you are unsure of what you actually stand for; you are being tossed around by perceptions of what others think about you, and you don’t like it…especially when it comes to your partners.So, the most obvious relationship to foster, first up, is the one with yourself…you, the one in your mind and you, the one that is your essence or spirit…that makes the two of you.I’ll repeat it; “it takes two of you to make it work”
Our partners know us well; they see our depth (or lack of it), they sense our anger, emptiness, happiness, confidence (or lack thereof), they can sense when we are lying, depressed, hurt, and they know when we withdraw because of our lack of confidence within ourselves. And we don’t like it because, unconsciously, we are showing our true colours to them but not willing to admit it openly to them or to ourselves in the first place. We talk about “self-worth” and “self-esteem” as if they were real and another embodiment of whom we are, when in actual fact they don’t actually exist. You see, this is one of the issues that men face in today’s world. We seem to think we have to put on a mask to disguise that we really are just another person going through our own crap and we are…weak! We fight like hell to preserve what we think is our self-respect, our self-worth and self-esteem as if it really matters, when in actual fact it doesn’t! If they don’t exist, why would it matter? In my last blog, I mentioned that men have a “perceived weakness”, and the “perceived weakness” is exactly what I’m talking about. The weakness is the internal fight against what you perceive your weaknesses actually are. You are at war with and within yourself. But, (with a sigh of resignation) I can see all too clearly that we have done this to ourselves. The sooner we own up to it the better. And our partners can see all of this, and they care enough to stay with us until they themselves reach a breaking point after which there may not be any return…relationship-wise anyway. So, let me say it again, “the weakness is the internal fight against what you perceive are your weaknesses”. In the understanding of that statement, you may be able to see that the answers can only be found within you…now tell me you know who and what you are!
The one thing I now to be true is this; if you are unable to take a close look inside and accept those “perceived weaknesses”, you will carry on projecting your anger and frustration, outwardly, to the ones you love. You know it’s not meant to be this way, and so do your partners and kids. But they are the ones that get more than their fair share of the anger and frustrations. And here’s the thing, no-one is unable to look inside themselves…absolutely no-one at all! Now, I don’t want you to think that this is your issue only; I’m just saying that for men in relationships, this is the “big one”. Your partners would want to do exactly the same thing, because their reactions are going to be from their fears and weaknesses within too. But, guys, that’s not your issue!! Your issue is to take a look at yourself first and foremost, deal with your own crap, which will allow your partner to deal with hers!
Yep, I get what you are saying and feeling. “All I’ve ever wanted to do is be there and help him/her, provide for them (kids as well), and I just can’t seem to do it well enough. I can see him/her hurting, I dive in to help and come out burnt (or they don’t appear to appreciate it).” Yep, correct! That’s because you are coming from a place of fear yourself. What I’ve learnt (the hard way) is to be able to direct him/her to their own place of comfort, which can only be found within them. How can you do that unless you do it yourself? You want to be seen as someone with the ability to help, and yet you can’t seem to do it for yourself. That’s why you have the internal dialogue above, you know that you can’t help adequately but you still dare to go where angels fear to tread! The only answer is to discover your “self” for you. It’s quite a journey, but when you see the truth of what I am saying, only then will you be able to help anyone…including yourself. Can you see that unless you are coming from that place of love rather than fear, you will not be able to help anyone at all? At best, you will only frustrate the hell out of yourself and your partner and kids.
The major thing I have learnt as a counsellor, is to listen and be ready to assist the client to look inside. There’s no way I would want to push the other person into doing anything that I think is correct. For one, it’s too much hard work and secondly, I know that if I was to do that, I would be manipulating a situation to make myself look good or have things done my way. It means I’m coming from a place of fear. That’s not my job and it’s not your job as a partner. Coming from a place of love means to be able to assist the other to discover the “one within”. That is actually empowering the other person to discover their own answers and authentic life. Not only is it empowering the other person/partner but it is extremely empowering for you. And that is love, ultimately. It’s a healing thing!!
So, here’s a question, what are your weaknesses and what are you going to do about them? In the discovery of your weaknesses you will discover your strengths. And you can only find that in one place…within you!
If you want to discuss this at any stage I can be contacted on:
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me on 0474 570 063, I am also available on Skype, but, please email me for an appointment first. Or you may consider enrolling in one of the workshops on this page: Men Alive Workshops or visit www.menalive.com.au