Ask yourself this question: Are you managing your relationship or are you present in your relationship? This is a favorite question of mine. One I ask myself and my clients frequently. Managing a relationship looks like trying to control the outcome for the other person rather than allowing them to be in charge of their life. Managing can look like nagging, lecturing or shaming others to try to change their behavior. We all get tripped up in this and start to focus on things we have no control over. It’s not good for relationships and it’s not good for our own health. My partner has been telling me how much he wants to get into a regular bike riding routine. Hey I’m all for it! I think exercise is super important. So just yesterday he says to me I should ride my bike to work but I just don’t feel like it. He walks away. A BIG part of me wants to say “UM remember what you said you wanted to do? Get your butt on that bike – for crying out loud!” Hmmmm here comes my question to myself. Am I managing or am I present? Fortunately, I just thought it and didn’t say it. This time I kept my mouth shut. I do have confidence that he can make the right decisions for himself and doesn’t need me to chime in all the time. Just noticing the urge to manage is the first step.
Being present in the relationship means making space for you and your feelings inside the relationship. Turning your focus on yourself. So what this looks like is when someone says something or does something you don’t like, instead of having a strong reaction toward the other person, take a second and see what is happening inside of you. Are you worried? Are you fearful? Are you hurt? Are you concerned? For me, when I heard him say he didn’t feel like riding his bike, I felt concerned that he wasn’t taking good care of himself – managing his stress.
Ok great. Now take another step. What are you worried about? What has hurt you? What are you concerned might happen? For me, I was concerned that if he didn’t take care of his stress, he would be less pleasant to be around and we might get into a dumb argument. Acknowledging these feelings is an important part of the process. Sometimes we can share these with our loved one and sometimes it’s best to acknowledge these feelings to ourselves. Being present is actually way more intimate than trying to manage your partner. Try to set aside the need to fix the situation and just be with your feelings for a bit. See what happens.Am I working to become my best self or am I turning my focus on trying to manage others. The more I check in with myself about this the more I realize I have spent a lot of my life trying to manage relationships instead of being present in them. I am learning to live MY life, not the lives of my children or my partner.
The funny thing that happened yesterday…he changed his mind…on his own….and decided to ride his bike to work. Would you like to learn more about how to be present in your relationship? Give me a call at 817-307-8725 or sign up for a free initial consultation call on my website – Schedule.