As part of the Life Coaching course I’m doing, I had to complete an exercise with a peer. One of us had to speak about an issue while the other person listened. When the person finished talking, the coach had to ask one question. And then we swapped roles.
I decided to concentrate on an interesting area of my life – romantic relationships. I thought it would be a light, fun subject. I was wrong.
My coaching partner allowed me to talk. I didn’t know where I wanted to go with the topic. I spoke and spoke and by the end of my monologue, I had touched on issues of fear and confusion and insecurity.
Then, the coach asked me one powerful question. When I delved into the question, I felt shaken and emotional but also extremely curious. By searching for the answer to this simple question, I uncovered a deeply entrenched belief system.
I realised that I have been expecting things to go wrong and that I assume that some things are probably “too good to be true”. I’ve been telling myself that I can’t have it all.
My coach asked me what it would look like to be in a happy relationship. I told her about how my partner and I would share love, respect, and physical attraction. We would be great friends who would laugh together and allow one another to grow.
She asked if I’d ever been in such a relationship. I was sure I had. But when I was really honest with myself, I realised that I had never experienced all of those elements in one partnership. This doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with any of my partners, just that they weren’t right for me, or that I wasn’t in the right space for a relationship at the time.
A flicker of fear arose in me. My coach asked me what I was feeling. I admitted that I’m afraid that I will never experience truly good things in my life. However, in acknowledging this fear came the knowing that I finally believe I deserve them. I deserve to be happy. And I am worthy of being with a wonderful man who really loves and wants to be with me.
Life has taught me not to expect too much because then at least I can’t be disappointed. But why bring the past into the present? Who says it’ll always be that way? Why not allow me to follow my dreams? Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”
My coach suggested taking out the verb “scare” and reframing it. I could call it a challenge, for example. There’s not much physiologically different between experiencing fear and excitement. Dreaming big is exciting.
I took a deep breath. I have come to a stage in my life where I love myself. I enjoy my own company and treat myself with kindness. And that is all I have to do. By giving myself love, I am receiving love. I am open to love. I am love.
I am no longer coming from a place of lack. I’m not looking for a man to complete me. I have a full and happy life. Abundance is all around me. Yes, I would like to be in a wonderful, loving relationship. The truth is I already am in such a relationship. The one I’m having with myself. Anything else would just be a bonus. I’m definitely not going to settle for a relationship that isn’t right for me. I would rather be single. Awareness descended and my energy lifted.
I’m so used to discussing things with friends and family and being bombarded with suggestions and opinions. I know I’m guilty of doing the same. But this simple exercise gave me the freedom to open up because I was allowed to speak without judgement or recommendation. I felt heard and understood.
The coach didn’t give me any answers. She didn’t advise me on what to do because that would be what was right for her, not for me. I have all the answers within. I just needed the space and focus that this coaching session provided to be able to connect with my answers.
Do you feel like you’re being heard? Do you listen when someone is trying to tell you something? Or are you waiting for them to finish so that you can give them advice or tell them what worked for you?
The next conversation you have, try really listening. Effective listening will transform your relationships. You’ll be amazed at how powerful it is.