The Three Secret Thoughts We Don’t Want to Admit to Ourselves That Keep Us Stuck In Our Relationships By Jill and Richard Rogers
Relationships are tricky. Most of our lives are spent in relationship: romantic relationships, business relationships, family relationships and friendships. We want to be in them, but at the same time we want them to work easily and effortlessly.
Yet, who among us has not made a whopper of a mistake in a relationship? Mistakes are a natural part of learning and growing. Making a mistake is not the problem. Repeating the same relationship mistakes over and over again is what gets us into trouble. We repeat our mistakes not because we are incapable of learning from them. We repeat them because we don’t want to tell ourselves the deeper truth.
As Unity Ministers, and Spiritual, Life and Relationship Coaches, we’ve made a commitment to improving the quality of relationships on our planet, including our own. We teach the emotional and spiritual aspects of great relationships and have worked with hundreds of individuals and couples through their relationship mistakes.
So we want to share with you, the three secret thought’s most people DON’T want to admit to themselves, that keep them stuck in their relationships…and how to overcome them.
Secret Thought #3: I’m afraid to be my Real Self
One of our favorite commercials was the Organic Cereal commercial. Each person wore a t-shirt, and on the front of the shirt it told his or her ingredients. One read, I need coffee in the morning. I avoid conflict. I sleep late. I like yoga. You could read each other’s ingredients just like on a cereal box. It was amazing.
Imagine a world where we could instantly learn about each other’s make-up. Where we could wear our true self right on the outside. Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Can you imagine how much easier and lighter it would be once we all got used to it? It would take the pressure off. No more trying to cover up, hide, or manipulate our true self. Instead, we could spend more time having authentic conversations. Enjoying who each other really is. And when it came time to look for a job, a friend, or a partner we could simply see if we are a “match.”
So, why don’t we live this way? Why don’t we share our true nature with others? Why don’t we reveal the real person our wants, needs, frustrations and desires on the outside? The reason for most of us is FEAR. Fear we’re not enough. Fear we won’t be accepted. Fear no one would love us, if they knew who we really were. Yet, it is exactly the opposite that happens. When we authentically share the truth of who we are, it increases the probability of finding someone who is a perfect fit for us.
In today’s world we are beginning to see the brilliance of this principle in online dating. The more authentic an individual is in their dating profile the more likely they will find a compatible match. If they lie and try to cheat the system, they may get people to chat or meet, but it rarely goes further, because eventually they find out it’s not such a great match after all.
What is profound about this idea is how culturally we have been taught to withhold, to protect, to tell little white lies about who we are. We have learned to play a part, to look successful and act like we have it all going on. We are not taught to tell the truth about ourselves. Ironically when a relationship, friendship, or work relationship doesn’t work out, we often get disappointed. We begin thinking they didn’t really want us for who we are, when in truth, we never gave them the chance to get to know our real self.
From a spiritual point of view, if we believe that we are broken, it would make sense that we would have to lie. We, in Unity, believe that every person is whole, complete and lacking in nothing. As we tell the truth about ourselves, our humanity and our divinity, we get the opportunity to experience the acceptance and unconditional love of a surprising number of people in our lives.
So with all of our fears and insecurities, what does it take to be honest? In one word, practice. We have to practice telling the truth. We have to practice being vulnerable. We have to practice being transparent. We must learn to trust in our presence, be authentic by sharing who we are. When we put ourselves out there in a job or in a relationship, we get to find out we are enough. We also get to learn who in our lives can love us just the way we are. Through the practice of being honest, we actually begin to experience unconditional love. With truth comes greater love.
Secret Thought #2: I want you to be different
This is a tough one but it’s true. We love our children, our parents, our spouse, our boss, our employees, our friends, but we want them to be different than who they really are. Sometimes it’s just a little bit different and sometimes we secretly want a complete makeover.
Our helpful thought is that we want them to be their best self and to reach their potential. So we encourage them, inspire them, and challenge them all in the name of love. We do this in order to “help them” become the person they truly can be without ever really admitting to ourselves that we simply want them to be different.
Isn’t that what love does? Doesn’t love help us to be our best? No! Love accepts us as we are, allowing us to stay the same or change in our own time and in our own way.
If we accept someone in our life just the way they are, what feeling does that bring up? Sadness? Grief? Disappointment? In our mind, there is a way we want them to be, and when they are not that, it can lead to deep sadness, disappointment and grief. And because we don’t want to feel those feelings, we recommit to helping them, healing them, changing them. This way we don’t have to have a feeling of sadness or disappointment about who they really are, how they act, what they want or how they choose to live their life. And this way we don’t have to tell ourselves the deeper truth, which is, secretly, I want you to be different.
If we are willing to accept them as they are, and grieve if we need to grieve, what we get in return is freedom. We get the freedom to love bigger than we ever thought we could. We get to be free from all of the arguing, with them, and within ourselves. We get peace. We get the freedom to create a more honest and accepting relationship than we have ever had before. We also get the freedom to redirect a huge amount of energy in our life away from trying to change them and on to what we truly want to create for us.
So the next time you find yourself secretly wanting someone else to be different, notice it, acknowledge it and give yourself the great relationship time-saving, emotion-saving shortcut. Take your focus off of them, put it back on you and ask yourself this question. With all of this time I have, what do I want to create?
Secret Thought #1: I want you to be responsible for my joy.
In the family you grew up in who was responsible for mom’s happiness? Was it mom? Was it dad or was it everyone? Who was responsible for dad’s happiness? Was it dad? Was it mom or everyone else?
Let’s go a little further, who is responsible for your happiness now? Is it your mom, dad, boyfriend, children or someone else? Who do you wish was responsible for your happiness? The thing we don’t want to admit to ourselves that keeps us stuck, in our relationships, is that we really want it to be someone else’s job to make us happy. We don’t care who that someone is. We just don’t want it to be us.
If we are having a feeling that is anything but happy, we want an “emotional rescue team” to rush in and save us from it. If someone’s behavior causes a feeling within us the “emotional rescue team” is supposed to jump in and do whatever it takes to make sure that behavior is stopped immediately.
The truth is we have to learn to dig deep within ourselves to be happy and to bring our joy into a moment. Many of us have learned to be emotionally dependent. To turn this situation around we have to decide that it is time for us to be responsible for our own happiness. We do this by learning to let go of the thoughts and judgments that are negatively impacting us.
How do we know if this applies to us? Ask yourself, am I as happy as I would like to be or do I think other people are keeping me from my joy? If the answer is yes, then here are five questions to ask yourself that can turn any situation around:
- Who do I want to be responsible for my happiness?
- I am willing to be responsible for my own happiness?
- What thought or judgment is making me unhappy?
- What thought or judgment would I have to let go of to be happy?
- Am I willing to choose my happiness right now?
As we practice this simple five-step process, we learn how to tap into our own happiness. We get to see how often we resist or delay our joy because of our thoughts and judgments about ourselves and others. Joy is a choice that we can make more and more not by always getting what we want but by letting go of what is getting in the way.