Hi. This is Darla LeDoux of Aligned Entrepreneurs. Today’s video is about the purpose of relationships. Today’s lesson is in two parts. In the first part, I’m going to talk about what is the real purpose of a relationship and how do we use it to improve ourselves and actually make change within ourselves? In the second part, we’re going to look at when you’re in that place of trying to get your relationship to be better and it’s not working, what is the one thing to look at to help you know if it’s possible to transform that relationship? That’s what we’re going to cover today, two pieces.
The first piece, the purpose of a relationship. I love this quote from Bruce D. Schneider. He says, “The purpose of relationship is to learn more of who we are in relation to one another.” This is actually why I love small retreats so much because we learn who we are in relation to one another. We can’t learn who we are sitting at home behind our laptop in a vacuum because, the truth is, there is no us independent of other people. How do we know if we’re loud or quiet if we don’t compare to someone? How do we know if we’re smart or creative if we’re not comparing to someone? Even though our goal in coaching and everything is to stop comparing ourselves, really we learn who we are only in relation to other people.
What’s so fascinating about this is it makes it really important who you decide to relate with. We’ve all heard that idea that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That’s exactly why because we see parts of ourselves that are mirrored in the other person. Now, how does this work? Let’s say when something is bugging you in a relationship or things aren’t really working super well.
I want to share a story. It was not too long ago. I had a friend come out who’s a videographer, who’s amazing, who I hired to shoot a video about me and follow me around and capture aspects of my life and get my story on film. We were doing this for a 2-day period of time, 100% of the time for 2 days. I noticed on the first day that I was feeling a bit irritated with Kimmi, who is my wife and also a videographer and a part of this project. I felt like she was just trying to sabotage this project, like everything was annoying me, she was taking too long and didn’t have directions for how to get where we wanted to go. I felt like she was doing it on purpose and that was just like errrrr.
Have you ever felt that way where you just start to get irritated and then everything that happened is more evidence of your irritation? Who’s been there? Yeah, that happens a lot in relationship. Here’s what’s great when you understand that everything in relationship is a mirror, you can start to look at what’s going on with this. Now I know this. I practice it. I teach it and I’m still human and I still get triggered. I’m totally triggered at the end of day one of this experience and I decided to go to bed and I just think we’re going to talk about this in the morning because this has to change.
In the morning, I start this conversation with sharing. “I noticed I was getting annoyed and I don’t really like that feeling. And I’m just wondering if you’re okay. Is everything okay with you? Because it seems like you might be, like, trying to sabotage this project.” Literally I’m having this conversation.
She said, “No. No, I’m good. I’m fine.” I said, “Are you sure? Because I really wonder if maybe you’re just uncomfortable with all this attention being focused on me and if it’s bothering you.” I’m saying this. Have you ever had that experience of things are coming out of your mouth and you’re hearing yourself say them and you’re like, “Wow! What’s happening there?” I heard myself say that. This part of myself, this awareness part of myself which we develop in healthy relationships which is great, when I could see that I was actually projecting my own feeling onto her by saying, “I think you’re uncomfortable with having someone follow me around.
The truth was I was really uncomfortable with having someone follow me around and with saying to myself and to the world that my story is important enough to spend 2 days following me around. “Who the hell do you think you are?” It was completely my trigger and through that trigger I was able to learn more about myself and my own insecurity about stepping into the spotlight and being fully seen and fully known.
The moment I saw that, all of my annoyance just melted away. They might have cheered up a little bit and then I put my makeup on and got ready for my day. It was a whole different experience. I got to see in the mirror for myself that part of myself that was still a hurt little girl that didn’t feel very important. It changed the entire tone of the day of recording. It was amazing, right? In that safe space of our relationship, I got to grow. That’s just one example and that’s what having great relationships is all about.
One of the things I find a lot is that entrepreneurs, and women especially as we grow in our business, we tend to grow and maybe the relationship isn’t growing with us. One of the reasons that that scenario I shared work so well is that Kimmi is such a safe space that I couldn’t say that to her without her being triggered and I was able to see my own mirror.
If you’re in relationship with someone who doesn’t want to grow, who’s not committed to being honest and truthful and who is triggered as you’re working through your stuff, it becomes a lot more challenging. I see this happen all the time where the entrepreneur is growing and learning and the partner isn’t coming along. Because we’re learning all of these tools and techniques then we’re like, “Well, it’s just a mirror, right? So it must be about me. It must be something I’m doing that I’m projecting onto him, you know? And if I just could own my stuff more, if I could just be better, then he would be better and he would come along with me.”
I see this happen all the time. There’s a fine line between going: “Okay, here’s a relationship mirror. I’m learning, I’m growing, and I’m going to just talk myself into tolerating and settling for the rest of my life.” I see this happen a lot and a lot of times the personal growth tools that we learned actually cause us to spend time over here. I know I did that. I rationalized in a relationship for years.
Here’s what you want to look at. This is a question that I think is key to knowing if your relationship is going to go with you or if your relationship is actually something that’s going to keep you from growing and keep you in this cycle of trying to improve to get the other person to change. Here’s what you want to look at is when you made the decision to be in relationship with that person in the first place. If you could think back to when you started that relationship, where were you in your decision process? There are seven levels of energy and the energy from which you made that decision to be in that relationship has been affecting that relationship the entire time.
I’ll give you an example. The relationship that I was in that I kept rationalizing and never leaving was a relationship that I got into because it was nice, it was safe, it was predictable, and I basically knew what I was getting. Prior to that, I had been in a relationship with someone who is unpredictable, unsafe, and so in response to that, I clung to this person even though I knew it wasn’t someone who was going to grow with me or wasn’t really consistent with who I was. It was safe and so I said yes and I stepped into it.
When I work with clients and they’re looking at the scenarios in their relationships, every single time someone stepped in from a place of fear, either a level one feeling of helplessness and this person will save me, or a level two feeling of there’s not enough to go around and I’m never going to find someone who’s better anyways so I might as well just take this person. Some of that energy in the decision. Maybe a place that’s level three of rationalizing and going, “Well, I know that there’s these problems but here are all the reasons why, you know, which I had kinda done a lot of that rationalization.
If you’re coming from one of those places when you made the decision to get into the relationship in the first place, that filter has been going on throughout your entire relationship. It’s nearly impossible to rectify that. Now, it is possible. I believe it is possible but it requires both people being 100% willing to unpack all of the baggage and get right back to the root and re-choose one another from a conscious place where you are now on the same playing field. That what I find can be really challenging for people to do if both people aren’t already committed to growth and growing themselves. It’s possible but very challenging.
Mastin Kipp uses the phrase a poor selection as the number one reason that relationships don’t work. That’s exactly what I’m referring to. When you made the choice to be in that relationship in the first place, where where you coming from? If it was from a place of fear in any capacity, you’ve got to resolve that initial decision in order to build a healthy relationship in which you both grow and learn more of who you are in relation to one another.
This is Darla do with Aligned Entrepreneurs and I would love to hear about your experience with this topic in the comments below. Thanks so much and I look forward to being with you soon.
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