In last week’s posts I wrote how once Ann-Marie accepted ‘what was so’ with her two year old daughter Molly not sleeping on Monday afternoon, she had access to thinking and doing things differently.
There is more to this ‘accepting’ business than just accepting how things appear in the first instance.
There is a vast difference between first ‘appearances’ coming from a very limited perspective and ‘what is so’ coming from a more whole and connected place, especially when it comes to relationships.
When we think or talk about our relationships, we describe them in a certain way, we describe them as they appear to us through our so called colored glasses. How our relationships ‘appear’ to us is of course often not the ‘what is so’ for the other party when you come from a wholeness point of view.
Accepting how things appear is not going to give us access to thinking and doing things differently; all THAT is doing is giving us more of the same or resignation.
The greater level of ‘acceptance’ is not a case of accepting appearances, but going to a place of wholeness about ‘what is so’.
Ann-Marie and I learned from this experience that wholesome acceptance needs to be preceded by finding out what is the ‘what is so’ to accept in the first place.
And finding ‘what is so’ is a skill that we rarely think to develop, especially when it comes to seeing what is going on in our relationships.
Our lack of skill has us easily miss ‘what is so’ and have us miss the starting point which will allow us to think and do things differently, that will allow us to develop heart centered team play that has us fly in relationships.
I now realize that in my former marriage I never set out to find out the wholesome ‘what is so’.
Even with my psychology training, I accepted appearances and thought that was it.
I settled for vague feelings of unhappiness as I thought that that was all relationships had to offer. I had a difficult husband thus I would have to put up with a difficult marriage.
I was young and I already felt resentful, resigned, misunderstood, angry and alone and I was never able to develop any consistent team work between my husband and I.
It was not until I had done several self development courses, in particular one at Landmark Education that the penny dropped about the ‘what is so’ that went deeper than appearances.
As a result of a rigorous inquiry, as a result of learning how to peel away the layers, I finally saw that although I always thought and accepted that I would always be the giving, the most easy going one and that I would always be the martyr in my marriage, it was not like that at all.
‘What was so’ was that I charmingly but relentlessly was hard out competing for attention as well and that I was just as disempowering to my husband as he was to me.
I appeared saintly and competent when in fact I acted just as badly and egoistically as my difficult husband.
Oh gheez, I still can feel the shock when that realization hit me.
I was so stunned and shocked; YOU SURE KNOW WHEN YOU HIT THE ‘WHAT IS SO’ THAT REALLY COUNTS, believe you me.
It was NOT my mind that saw it, that ‘what is so’ went straight to my heart and my heart screamed in pain, horror, disbelief AND relief.
From early on in our relationship I had done my utmost to upstage and outperform my husband, to make sure that people noticed me as the capable and wise one.
My so called love was actually based on disdain and all I loved was that his incompetence and his insecurity allowed me to shine in his presence.
Oh the pain I felt and oh the joy that welled up in me as well.
The pain was because of my own betrayal, how could I?
I felt joy because I finally could see and accept my own role, which gave me the power to find a workable solution and do something about it, do something different and stop this struggle for both of us.
Oh, how invisible the ’what is so’ is in relationships. Alone I would never have found it.
I would have never seen that most of us are conditioned to do relationships coming from that invisible place of control, competition, fear and disempowerment.
As that is the environment we all swim in so to speak, I had no sense of how I automatically related to others like that and how that automatically created a certain ‘what is so’.
Having my heart recognize a wholesome ‘what is so’ with my behavior, my heart then powerfully could override my mind and I was able to accept the role I was playing and finally change it.
As a result I have not repeated this mistake in my relationship with John.
As a result I can see ‘what is so’ when my conditioning to disempower others, to go for looking good, to go for control at all cost, to compete and want things to go on forever kicks in.
I am now able to go for doing things differently after accepting what was going on and after letting go of the shame, the guilt and the pain of what could have been if only I had known.
But the joy I feel, now that I am developing this skill to distinguish the ‘what is so’, is immense.
I know that by rigorously applying myself to discern what there is to accept, I can do things differently to be the change I want to see.
In WomenLikeMe it says;
While our heart knows how to play together, we have learned the hierarchical way of control and obey, driven by fear.
It is invisible that this way produces limited relationships and resolves few problems.
On the other hand it is perfectly possible to have extraordinary relationships which produces phenomenal results joyfully.
(WomenLikeMe on Playing Team in Relationships)
I thank God that I have been made aware of my tendency to make others look incompetent so I can shine.
I am also thankful that I have learned to forgive, to forgive myself and to forgive others.
I am accepting that I often come from fear and I am learning more and more to come from love and peace instead.
I no longer feel the need to compete for attention and to be the best, I am very happy to cooperate and have the focus away from my performance towards a bigger ‘for the sake of what’.
I no longer disempower others, all I desire is to bring the best out in all of us and encourage integrity and taking ownership.
Knowing this and acting accordingly is making a huge difference in what John and I are achieving. I trust him and give him credit for what he knows and does and thus we cooperate using each others resources to the full.
I am also sure that I could not have shared this blog with Ann-Marie in my old competing days.
As we all keep finding out, discerning the often invisible, wholesome ‘what is so’ in relationships is more difficult than one at first might think. It is a classic case of having lipstick on your teeth.
It is there but you do not know it until the context tells you, until somebody around you is courageous, committed, aligned and wise enough to share what they see and you are prepared to listen.