If you’re new here, my Monday musing is some loving guidance I send your way weekly to tide you over or top you up or get you through. I believe that shit happens but we can fix it and feel so much better when we do. Life doesn’t have to feel this hard. LOVE doesn’t have to feel this hard.
Are you tired of hearing it? SNORE. Booooring. Soooooo 2020.
Does it feel like poop? Or worse, shit? A fire poker poking your touchiest over-poked parts?
Do you feel triggered before anyone even asks you what happened?
The thing is that those of use who are not in the throes of living happily ever after are probably trying to figure out the WHY NOT. And we are not less than tuned in to the possibility that we might be getting in our own way, a teency weency bit. After all, we are the common denominator in all of our circumstances and relationships.
But what does that mean?
Because goodness only knows many of us have tried. Like really tried.
Many of us have done some work on ourselves.
And we’re not stupid.
We’re actually pretty amazing people with a whole resume worth of major accomplishments, like we have almost survived an entire year of Covid and probably haven’t run away from home, pretending of course that this was even an option.
And even if we have not done a whole lot of digging through the self help isle or racked up some hours on the therapy sofa, we are a smidgy widgy tired. Turns out that Stayin’ Alive is more glamorous when John Travolta sings it with a hip thrust and the Bee Gee’s grooving along. We don’t want to hear what else we need to solve, what new challenge we need to rise up to. We have had enough. Right?!!
And we sure as hell don’t want to hear it from some holier than thou crusader who claims to have entered the next dimension glowing like an electric eel and vibrating at the frequency of holy roses. If you’ve read me before I am big on holy roses. Roses are pretty and they smelled good once, before I was struck with the plague.
Which brings me to answer the question you are afraid for me to ask but which you ask me all the time!!!
IS IT ME?
Well I am here to tell it to you straight. Because if it IS YOU, like, ummm you are going to want to know so that you can fix it, right? So that you can undo what you’ve done, set it straight, and so on. You are going to want to gain insight and understanding, even if that is a jagged little pill to swallow, because at the end of the day you want to actually feel good already, peace out already, FIND LOVE already. Right?
But before I hit you with the bad news and tough love I want to set you free from some arduously painful and CONFUSING ideas about how this all works.
Firstly and no matter how much bitterness is brewing in your brew, YOU ARE NOT A NEGATIVE NELLY.
Hell, the truth of it is that even Nelly is not a negative Nelly.
I am not saying that you aren’t part of the math that isn’t adding up so to speak.
BUT what you must know is that your pain points, the things that you feel hurty about and want crave NEED somebody somewhere to understand, hear, pay attention to do not mean that you are a negative person. Most ‘negative people’, meaning those people who we think spew and recycle or SPIN in the same stories or ideas or patterns, are people who have festering pain. That is all. At the heart of Nelly is a wounded inner child waiting for a hug and a Band Aid but getting a big fat “stop being a baby”.
If your beloveds are giving you grief, if they have nick named you Debbie Downer, accused you of focusing on the wine cup half empty, well you’re going to need to get in there and hear out the scared kiddo inside of you, who’s got a Debbie crammed in her locker and a naughty list longer than War and Peace, minus the peace.
So, ya, maybe it is you. But not in the way you fear and feel shitty about. Because I guarantee you that we all have those disconnects. We all fall into the cycle now and again. We feel misunderstood and stuck and the LAST thing we need when we are thirsty for validation is to hear how we are failing to think positive, chin up, or appreciate the silver potatoes lining the nicely plated piece of poo we have just been served.
Just because we have had a run of bad luck, doesn’t mean that we should just be Coolio with Jonny or Suzy’s sleazy behaviour. Maybe we do need to stay open to new relationship, or some other path in our lives. Maybe we do need to show up fun and flirty and thirty, or forty, or fifty, BUT that doesn’t mean gross behaviour isn’t gross. It doesn’t give someone carte blanche to demean us, and even if Baby did a bad bad thing a few lifetimes ago and we’re a Baby, it doesn’t mean we had better hunker down with a blankie, Cheeto’s and a double dose of Zoloft to watch our bad karma play out like the latest episode of Housewives or Husbands of the Black Lagoon.
You are legit. And your struggle is valid. And so are your feelings, even the ones that don’t poop puppy dogs and rainbows.
When and how do we need to get out of our own way and what does that even look like?
Well if you know that you’re stuck in a pattern, if you’re tired of hearing yourself telling the same story over and over again, here is what to do:
You are going to need some self compassion, to be the nurturing validating voice to yourself if you want to feel understood and be able to resolve and move past painful feelings. Without this much you will keep feeling attacked, even when your attackers are stupid or wrong or just misinformed or the odd time non existent.
You need to trust. A trust that goes beyond your history, and even yourself. If you want something to play out differently, if you want to break out of a pattern you need to do what addicts have been doing for decades and surrender control to a higher power.
You need to throw away, or choose against those judgments that have been gaining power over you or ganging up against you like a posse of playground bullies or mean girls. As long as you are at war with the voice that says you’ll never beat this you’ll never change you are stuck with this forever IT’S YOU, well that’s quick sand. It’s a giant psych!
After you’re done un-breaking your own heart, well then it’s time to be open and vulnerable. It’s pretty near impossible to be open when you feel unheard and attacked, but once you are in your own corner it gets a whole lot easier to give someone else, or Fate as it were a chance. When we feel emotionally safe we can let someone in a little, or we can take a chance on something we want without feeling like we have been dropped naked into the half time show at the Superbowl and that our tender bits are being pummeled with rotten tomatoes at the slightest hint of rejection.
And if we really want to go the distance, we can swap out that whole shoving down feelings and judging ourselves bit for actually building ourselves up. True encouragement. Patience and a sense of humour with our process and our grief, a warm hand to lift us up and promise to catch us if Susie breaks up with us by text or Jonny was just in it for the rebound. We can buy a new dress or a new suit, give a gift to our child self, look for the thing we most need in the world and from the world and find a way to give that to ourselves, symbolically or literally. Buy ourselves the ring, take ourselves around the world or the theme park or the block if it’s Covid, but at least wear a lay around your neck.
AND LAST but not least, an amazing way to get out of our own way, in the dating world or otherwise, is to focus on someone else. Not in an obsessive, fearful how are they judging me kind of way, but rather stepping out of our fears and reaching beyond to help someone else reach beyond their own. Make it about making someone else feel at ease and strong, because it’s the best use of your uncertainty, because as you fill them up you’ll fill you up, because we need a way out of the script to find real connection and warmth.
Magic happens when we take the power away from outside people and events to withhold from us, to decide our happiness. And a well meaning friend or loved one who finds our hurt inconvenient, who is Mister Kotter keen to tell us just how we’ve been doing it wrong is not going to get us to magic lane in spite of their best intentions.
If you need more help with the heart un-breaking and the pattern undoing, if the plot’s twisted one too many times and you’re tripping over your own feet and brought to your knees well you can always give me a ring. A nice, round two karat with the teeny tiny sparkly diamonds on the band.
Kidding. I’ll get my own jewelry thanks for thinking of me. But I willFeng Shui your altar until it’s completely clear of your two left feet, and sprinkle a little pixie dust on your new red shoes.
— Love Erin
P.S. 2021 I am bringing on the love. I’ll be featured in a podcast all about better loving, from healing your broken heart to intentional dating to creating a relationship that thrives, and I’ll be launching a sister site for all of you relationship and love enthusiasts, with all kinds of insights and offerings. Stay tuned!
P.P.S. One of the kindest things you can do for me is to share my writing. If you enjoyed today’s Monday Musing and know someone else who would please forward it to a friend.