I’ve been dating a wonderful man for nearly 3 months now … and this is what I’ve learned (the good, the bad, the ugly) about myself.
It’s not that I’m a bad person, per say … but with the right person, you begin to see just where you can be better :: and that person, if they love you and want you enough, bring out the best in you.
I’ve written some pretty vulnerable emails to you in the past. I’m choosing to write this one today because inside my heart I know I’m not the only woman who experiences these emotions, whether known or unbeknownst to her.
Considering we live in an era of empowered, driven women: I simply cannot be the only one with a few independent woman confessions to make. So dear powerful, beautiful, special woman … here goes!
My first confessions are the bad …
<< I am a generally independent person in both mannerisms and expression.
I have learned, as a method of independent NYC woman survival, to do more than the average woman in the average day and to, when I’m feeling bad, either call my mom for support or retreat to my journal. It is has only been a handful of times (usually intense breakdowns) that lead me to reach out to friends for support.
<< Control is my addiction. While spiritual practices, growth and conscious insights have led me to learn and let go of control, when I am triggered by something (made upset or uncomfortable), control is an easy “pill” I want to go and swallow … and sometimes, the whole bottle.
<< I don’t want to give my time away “too much.”
I have this insane little belief that if I give too much of myself to my partner that I will hurt myself, hurt my career/passions, hurt the growth of my professional path. I believe that by devoting myself to the cultivation of my relationship, that I will “lose out” on the other stuff, the independent woman stuff. The stuff that up until this point, was what “love” meant to me. Love meant working on me, doing for me, creating through me.
<< I absolutely hate making someone upset.
When my partner is upset, I instantly go into “self blame” mode. I cannot let it go that I was the one who created this emotion in him. And then, in the strangest of strange ways, my ego tells me: “You are only hurting him because you are never going to be good enough or handle what a partnership needs. Since you’re not perfect, you might as well leave while you’re still ahead to protect him and give him what he truly deserves, which is a woman stronger than you.”AGGGHHHHHH!!!!
Which leads me to my second confessions about the ugly …
<< I never realized until this relationship how attached to ME I was.
I am more selfish than I ever realized and I am more worried about “ME” than the other person at times. In other words: I am constantly focused on ME because I don’t believe that I can survive if it’s not about ME. I think that I will DIE if it’s not about ME. Crazy, right?
<< In my selfish behaviors, I’ve seen some really ugly ones such as not wanting to speak to my boyfriend when he calls (“ignore that! you’re too busy,” my mind thinks) …
… to having absolutely no empathy for him when my behavior accidentally hurts him and his own fears/insecurities react. I immediately fall intro criticism because my selfish voice says, “That’s not a big deal, how does this hurt you?!” Ugh, Sammy!
<< I have a very insane need to protect myself.
Back to my survival comment, we are much more emotionally “protected” on our own. There is much less risk of the energetic shifts and changes which occur when you are in the emotional / physical presence of others. Which, I’m realizing, is why I have so many dang friends. I’m constantly moving from group to group, never really going DEEP with someone so that the vulnerability of one of us appears and perhaps – but always by accident – hurts the other. My insane belief wants me to be myself in all areas of my life (friendship, work, love, even family to some degree) to simply put this shield around me to lessen the risk of getting too involved and ultimately, having to “deal” with whatever emotions/situations ensue in a wise, conscious and empowering manner.
However, my final confessions, are the good – and I am declaring them for my growth.
<< In noticing my selfish behavior patterns …
… I am empowered to take a step back and examine my emotion as either a.) protection /defensiveness or b.) a true need that I get to compassionately declare for my partner to know (as how can he know what I need?) such as “is it OK if we speak for 15 minutes tonight because I want to fall asleep early?” etc.
<< In noticing my attachment to being an independent woman for survival in this thing called life …
… I am affirming my belief that partnership is my true purpose, calling, happiness, fulfillment, etc. here. I must leave behind what I once knew as my “safety zone” to step into something I have yet to experience fully, but affirm is right for me at this stage in my life where I am not just protected, but I am promoted to a better sense of being the beautiful me. I am willing to transform.
<< In noticing my sensitivity to making people upset …
… I have realized that this stems from childhood trauma when I was somehow conditioned to desire to be “perfect” in all manners (school, family, friends) and never, ever ruffle someone’s feathers. This is because I noticed my father’s anger as a child, and I learned to attempt “perfection” (which at times meant being quiet, unseen, inactive) so that I would avoid receiving that energy from him. In other words: If I was a fly on the wall, no one would get upset … and I would be safe. When my partner is emotionally upset or hurt, I just want to retreat i.e. “disappear” like I did as a child. While I have forgiven my father and discussed this chapter of my life with him in the past, I am realizing I still have wounds which may need to be reopened for more proper healing – and not just for me, but perhaps, for my Dad, too.
WOW. Was that vulnerable!
The reason I feel inspired to share this with you is because I want us to live fully complete lives.
And the beauty of partnership I am learning to love is that I have to lovingly and self compassionately / forgivingly put my shit on the table in order to have a fully complete relationship with this beautiful man who loves me unconditionally and to accept that I am worthy of this love in all of my imperfections – and he of mine in his.
And this applies not just to my partnership to him, but with himself. In being “alone” for so many years, I was able to maintain some sense of controlled perfection. But it was not fulfilling.
And this, dear reader, is why we live our lives completely authentically – imperfections and all – because otherwise, life is not fulfilling. It is just protection, guards and a false sense of security.
It’s when I can come clean to my partner about these crazy little things that I actually begin to heal from my wounds versus keeping them buried and unhealed.
It’s when I can be honest with myself about these “not so perfect” attributes that I am a.) reminded my partner is not perfect and I get to let go of my triggers and love him unconditionally and b.) I am always becoming a better version of myself, a more peaceful version of myself, a more compassionate/forgiving version of me – for myself and for others.
The truth will set you free. Do you relate to any of what I shared? Have you found yourself in the “independent woman” protection zone in a relationship, be it romantic or otherwise?
I would love to hear your thoughts, advice, personal stories. Please comment below.
I hope my truth reminds you that your feelings are OK, normal and worth working on for a better version of you and your powerful, beautiful, special life. I appreciate you, sister. I appreciate you.
And in other news: AFFIRMATION APPAREL is making a comeback next week. I’ll be sending out a newsletter asking for your input and voting for the new affirmation.
I’ll also be doing a soft re-release of the “I’ve let go of the need to be perfect today” shirts because HECK YES I’m learning to grow with my imperfections and I hope you join me.
#loveyourlife, xx Sammy