So I have some great news to share with you all! The other night my beloved boyfriend of nearly 3 years surprised me by popping the question, and I said yes!
We’d been to one of the most heartfelt and joyous weddings that I’d even been to just days prior to him asking me to marry him.
And whilst I’d like to think that it was the romance of the wedding that had swept over him the truth be told I think it had more to do with a big fight we had the next day. By big, I mean the biggest we’ve ever had. This fight combined with a quote from Pulp Fiction has led me to one of the most joyous and loving places I’ve ever been in.
In the lead up to the weekend I was stressing out about a decision which I didn’t need to make. Rather than just go along and deal with the problem if it ever arose, I took it upon myself to try and find some hypothetical solutions to what is a hypothetical problem.
In other words I was making shit up in my head, a little trait that I’ve tended towards oh too many times.
After speaking with a dear friend about it, and given our mutual love of Pulp Fiction, I was sent this pic below and then a really profound message.
“I know what it’s like to get in your head too much, but if you turn it to a point of appreciation it actually puts you back on track to where you are wanting to go, rather than beating your self up for not being exactly where you want to be…and bitch be cool!”
I was really touched by the message, it resonated deeply with me and it wasn’t the first time that the answer to me feeling better about a situation lay in appreciation. It annoys me so much though, because for heavens sake I know this stuff; I teach it for a living.
But in a weird way me forgetting to adhere to my own advice is great validation for what I do, an outsider is able to bring so much more to a situation, particularly when we are too close to it to see the bigger picture. It’s the whole forest through the trees thing.
The day after the lovely wedding my beloved and I had a stupid fight over something stupid. We had a perfect storm brewing, we’ve had visitors for a few weeks, we’re renovating and this has meant that at the moment our bedroom is in the living room without a wall or a door.
We hadn’t connected, communicated or spent anytime together in weeks and our little wheels fell off. Niggles would arise that we couldn’t talk about because we didn’t have the privacy and then another and another until boom.
Here’s the good news. At the point of boom I did something that I rarely do. I didn’t freak out and get into my head; I didn’t let the boom expand into the reaches of my hypothetical future. I told myself “bitch be cool”.
I told myself “we’ll sort this out, we always do”, I appreciated all that we have together and I chilled out about our relationship not yet being where I want it to be in 5, 10 or 20 years time.
Early on, my last wedded union was riddled with me comparing it to my parent’s marriage and being frustrated at how short we came up. Even after my mother generously shared with me,
“You never saw your father and I in our first five years of marriage, so stop comparing yourself to where we are now after years and years of hard work.”
I wanted it sorted; I wanted to just get to the destination without having to experience the pain of the journey. This is a little habit of mine too from as long as I can remember. Many a time I have managed to avoid the perceived pain of a situation but I’ve also avoided the exhilaration and the joy of it.
So there I was, after the ‘blow up’ feeling closer to my beloved than ever. I’ve finally accepted that one, or two or many blow ups don’t mean that it is all going to turn to dust. My father gave me some fantastic advice (which I didn’t take on board either) on the eve of my first wedding. He said,
“Your mother and I have worked out a balance where 10% of the time I’m impossible to live with and 10% of the time she is. As long as we try and spend most of our time living in that 80% then that’s my definition of a really happy marriage.”
Our new engagement as well as being in a serious relationship again in general, has led me to reflect upon so much within my first marriage. I can hand on my heart honestly say that I never let my ex have his 10%. I was always on his arse about everything.
Fix this about yourself, this annoys me, change this, give me more, take from me less; I just went on and on. But I sure as hell expected my 10% to be accepted and understood with patience and empathy.
With the benefit of hindsight I firmly believe that if I’d just allowed my previous relationship not to be perfect from the beginning then it may very well have developed and blossomed into the relationship of my dreams.
This insight has infused me with great confidence going into a second marriage, great confidence as well as great responsibility. For I now believe that I have a lot more control over how successful this marriage can be then I even dare to acknowledge.
I firmly believe that most relationship problems can be fixed from just one side, even my beloved Dr Phil talks about this when he frequently refers to “it only talking one person to be a hero and step up.”
My previous quest for perfection was always outwardly focused, “you need to fix this”, “you need to change”, “you’ve made me feel this way”. Never once did I come from a position of responsibility and used the words “I am”, “I’m going to love you just as you are without asking you to change for me”, “I’m going to be patient and kind with you because I believe in all that you are”, “I’m going to focus on loving you rather than on being right”, “I’m going to strive for a loving connection, rather than perfection”.
Now I can see how, even unknowingly that my hunt for perfection used weapons of criticism, judgement and control to bring my ex-husband down.
Where as a hunt for a loving connection uses tools of acceptance, understanding and patience to build up.
Moving forward in this relationship these are my great quests,
- To let our relationship be exactly what it is for now.
- To remember that nothing remains the same, both in our relationship and as individuals, we can’t help but to grow, expand, change and move forward and sometimes that is going to be frustrating and other times it is going to be awesome.
- To focus on appreciating all that my new husband-to-be, myself and our relationship is, rather than all that it’s not.
- And to remember “To be cool!” when things aren’t perfect.
So back to the proposal, fresh from my revelations from the weekend, the Monday just afterwards was my birthday. I take birthdays very seriously, perhaps too seriously, and last year’s was a debacle. I left all of the planning up to my beloved and as birthdays aren’t very important to him, long story short; he managed to drop the ball in a spectacular way…from my perspective anyway.
So this year rather than brace myself for another flop, I positioned myself in a place where I was opened to giving him the benefit of the doubt as well as letting go any expectation that he would do anything special for me. I would just let it be what it was going to be and offer love and appreciation regardless.
I spent the entire day appreciating all of the wonderful things both big and small in my life; and boy oh boy, isn’t that a good recipe for a joyful and happy birthday.
I had a fantastic day, I was high on life and chilled out about birthdays being a part of his 10%, and then the most wonderful thing happened. Genuinely free from any judgement or expectation he absolutely nailed the whole birthday thing and then went on to nail the whole proposal thing.
He’s had the ring for over 6 months and had been waiting for the right moment. I’ve been banging on about the perfect proposal, hot air balloons and those YouTube videos of ‘The Best Proposal Ever!’
I think it was no coincidence that the minute I stopped pushing for everything to be perfect, my life played itself out in ways which were more beautiful than I could have imagined.
So to all you stress heads and perfectionists out there allow me to grace you with these final words, “Bitches be cool!”
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Much Love & Appreciation