If the grass starts to look greener on the other side, it is time to water and fertilize our own. Our relationships have the potential to be lush, full and vibrant if we recognize our ability to nourish them. Paying attention to our own behavior and attitude leads us towards more internal responsibility for our own well-being and our ability to create fulfilling relationships.
It’s about us. We are responsible for everything that happens inside of us, our partners are magnifiers of whatever that is. When we try to focus more on joy, happiness and health in ourselves, we generate these qualities in every interaction we have. If we consciously decide that these are our priorities, we will naturally want to figure out all the not-so-apparent things we are doing that aren’t supporting what we truly want.
Part of this awareness is determining what we value in our relationships? Maybe it’s loyalty, great sex, humor, trust, openness, kindness, spirituality, a sweet ass…or whatever. The nutrients we deem important to facilitate the kind of relationship we want to have, must actually be applied to make any difference. One can have the best recipe for fertilizer in the world, but it doesn’t do a damn bit of good if we don’t use it on our lawn regularly and with care.
Sometimes, it is difficult to realize that our patterns are not promoting the ideals we value. When we pay attention to the way we behave when we don’t get our way or are angry, we can begin to recognize what type of defensive patterns we practice and how they hold us back from creating the love we desire.
We all have specific defaults in how we dominantly react when we are not getting what we think we need or want. These reactions are deeply ingrained into our personalities and have usually served us in some parts of our lives, which is precisely why they stick around. These are the habitual ways in which we deal with the world, and they will always show up in our intimate relationships.
I’m talking about reactions such as feeling sorry for ourselves and expecting others to do the same, intimidation or trying to control everything outside of us, guilting or shaming oneself or partner, shutting down and burying our feelings until they come out in ways we can’t predict, projecting our emotions on to objects or other people, problem solving what everyone else needs to do to change, etc.…Each individual has different defense and control patterns and when we recognize our own, we can become more attuned with our actions, more self-aware and more responsible for our own part in our relationships.
My personal default is questioning and explaining. I dig and dig until I get a deep enough answer, leading me to explain the formula I think will fix it. Henceforth, expecting my partner to follow my instructions towards my (of course) perfect solution. As a relationship coach, a writer and in many other positions in my life, it has served me well to dig until I uncover the problem, then to confidently know the solution.
Not so much with my life partner, instead of facilitating trust, like I had with clients, I was subconsciously making my partner feel like I don’t trust their capacity to figure things out. To create the relationship values that I want, I had to consistently realize that my partner doesn’t always want or need me to dig into their psyche or to give solutions. That in deep and intimate relationships, it is usually best to give advice when asked and to allow the space for one to figure things out on their own. This facilitates trust, which happens to be one of the attributes I value the most.
What had worked for me in many areas of my life did not serve me well in my relationship. I want my partner to feel trusted, I want them to feel like I value their intelligence and wisdom. But, my actions do not reflect that when I am in my control patterns. We all have specific ideals of what we truly desire our relationships to be and every action we take either promotes those or not.
It is up to us whether we choose to water our own grass or move on to another lawn. But if we don’t learn what nutrients we need or even take responsibility for the fact that we can either kill it or make it grow, then the grass will always seem greener on the other side.
Dawn Celeste McGregor is a Writer and Relationship Coach. Contact Dawn at expansiveconnections.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation. Check out Expansive Connections on Facebook.