Just this morning, I had the pleasure of working with a woman who is in my live coaching group, and she confided that she was having an issue with her boyfriend.
It quickly became clear to me that her needs were being ignored, and that she was ignoring a conversation she needed to have. Something I’m worried too many people are doing right now.
If you’re in a similar situation, where you’re feeling scared to ask for what you need, then you need to watch this video…
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Well, here we are. This T-shirt, these jeans, this belt I’m wearing, accessories: It’s all a lie. I have not looked like this in, not just hours, but days. I’m even, like… Do you see me adjusting my shirt? That’s me sort of trying to hide my newfound belly.
Anyway, hello. Another week in isolation.
There was a woman who I had the pleasure of working with for a little while this morning, who told me of an issue she’s got with her boyfriend who is now long-distance. They live about 30 minutes apart, they’re not seeing each other. I asked her, are they speaking every day? It was just a casual question, I didn’t know that anything would come of it. I said, “Oh, that must be tough. Are you speaking every day?”
She said, “Well, actually we text every day, but we speak on the phone about once a week.”
I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Because I don’t know many people, who, in a relationship, can get by on just one phone call a week. Not to say that there’s anything wrong with that. There are many ways to have a relationship and it depends on how each person feels. But I know for me that wouldn’t be nearly enough. So I said to her, “Is that enough for you?” I said, “Is it you don’t like talking on the phone? Does he not like talking on the phone?”
She said, “Well, he doesn’t like talking on the phone.”
I said, “Well, have you talked to him about it?”
She said, “Well, he’s kind of stubborn,” and she kind of almost shrugged that off like it was a cute quality of his.
And I said, “Well, do you want to have that conversation?”
She said, “Well, I don’t know. I mean, I think it’s good for me anyway, because I need to focus on my independence and I think this is actually a good time for me to do that, is to focus on being more independent.”
Now, I’m always interested in those moments where people find ways to square in their own minds something that maybe isn’t meeting their needs. Because clearly, this person – because even when I said to her, “Do you like speaking on the phone?” she lit up. She said, “Oh, I love speaking on the phone.”
I said, “So this is not a situation that’s meeting your needs. I get that you want to be more independent or that you feel that’s something that you could focus on during this time, and that’s wonderful. But there’s a quote from one of my favorite movies, Interstellar, where Matthew McConaughey’s father-in-law says to him, ‘Never trust the right thing done for the wrong reason.'”
And I would apply that in this case that, whilst it may be a good thing for her, and all of us, to focus on our independence and our ability to take care of ourselves or self-soothe at times, in this case it was being used as justification for her not speaking up about her needs, which really wasn’t happening because she was afraid of what might happen if she did.
When we’re afraid to bring up our needs, what is it we’re scared of? We’re scared that we might be seen as high maintenance. We’re scared that it might lead to confrontation. We’re scared that we might seem weak or needy or overly vulnerable and that will be perceived as unattractive. We’re afraid that we’ll be perceived as a nag. At its most extreme, we’re afraid that, rightly or wrongly, rationally or irrationally, us bringing something up could precipitate a breakup.
We’ve pictured the unhappiness of someone leaving, but we’re not associating with the unhappiness we already have in our needs not being met. We are already in pain if our needs aren’t being met in the situation we’re in. We’re not avoiding pain, we are in pain. We’re just in a different kind of pain.
That’s something that can be avoided by, a) approaching something with confidence, with calm. And of course we’re going to have emotion, but try to have some emotional neutrality in the moment, so that you’re able to make your case without losing control to your emotions, where you now get angry or excessively upset when you’re trying to just communicate that, “Hey, this is something that’s important to me. It may not be right or wrong that you don’t want to speak to me as much as I want to speak to you. But it’s not enough for me right now. It’s not enough connection.”
I see a relationship as a blending of two colors. You represent a color, he represents a color.
In a bad relationship that’s imbalanced, where one person holds all the power or is in the driving seat and dictates the rhythm, the routine, the atmosphere, the environment of the relationship, it’s almost like this person has this really dominant color and one person comes along and puts a droplet of their color in there, just to stain that color slightly, but ultimately, it remains this person’s color. So the entire relationship now is the color of this person.
If you’ve ever been in the driver’s seat, you’ve noticed this in reverse. They added a tiny drop of their color to you but ultimately the hue of the relationship, the color of the relationship was your color.
In a really balanced and positive relationship, two colors blend together to create a new color altogether. A beautiful, bright, new color that is the representation of both worlds. Both personalities. Both sets of routines. Both sets of ideas. We, of course, retain our individual colors outside of that, but the relationship’s color is an equal representation of the two. As opposed to this person retains their individual color and also makes sure the entire relationship is their color as well.
So ask yourself this question, whether you’re married, whether you’ve been together a few years, or whether you’re just starting out with someone: What’s the color of your relationship? And is that color representative of a balanced blend of the both of you? Or have you, through a desire to appease, to please, to placate, to hold on to that relationship, allowed it to become 90% their color and 10% yours, all the while pretending to yourself that their color is yours too?
If you’re watching this and thinking, “I want to be braver, this is going to require some bravery and I want to push myself to get outside my comfort zone,” then I invite you to watch a training where I coach a woman on stage and show her exactly how to do that. I think that by watching her, you’ll also see how you too can be braver and get out of your comfort zone. So go to this link, check it out, and I will see you there.