Hello AwakenYou listeners, so happy to have you here as we head into a long holiday weekend here in the United States. Speaking of a long holiday weekend, what a perfect weekend to download my Abundant Love Mini-Course! In this course, you will take a look at what you are thinking about your marriage, and how it is affecting you, and then you work on deciding how you want to think about your marriage. This course will have you walking away with some tools to start recognizing when your thinking is on auto-pilot and learning how to self-direct it back on course so you can start feeling better about your marriage This week I am doing some exploring of something most of my clients struggle with and something I still sometimes struggle with and that is showing up in real life the way we imagine ourselves showing up. Basically, why it’s so hard to do what we want to do in our marriage. I actually posted a survey on my Instagram stories and 100% of the people said they didn’t understand why they couldn’t do what they wanted to do in their marriage and today I am going to tackle that problem.
Today, what I’m going to share are a few examples of what might be happening for you and why, along with a few tips to begin the process of getting a better understanding of yourself so that you can start taking steps forward toward the bold and courageous actions you dream of taking in your marriage. But, before we dig into this topic remember that each one of us has different life beginnings that most definitely influence how we show up in our adult relationships. I talked a bit about this back in Ep 65: How Past Trauma May Be Affecting Your Marriage and then last week I also talked about taking bold steps in our lives and the different phases we go through to become the bold person we want to be in our lives, which of course includes our marriages. Check out Ep 66: Becoming Bold: Breaking Down Barriers in that episode help empower you to move into the action that you are wanting to take but have been afraid to, for whatever reason, while quite possibly you don’t know the reason.
Some of the things we do instead of doing what we want to do
I want to share a few examples of why people don’t show up the way they want to show up, or how they envision themselves showing up, of course, this list is not extensive and I would love to hear your version of what happens. What is it you are wanting to show up differently for, how do you envision yourself showing up, and what happens at the moment? For today’s purposes I am going to stick to the example of greeting each other, either in the morning or in the evening when they/you get home, where you want to be open, friendly, loving, and maybe give a hug/kiss or a warm “Good morning!” like you would a good friend:
- Wait/expect them to show up in a way that makes you feel loved and until then you withdraw/hide/complain
- Fearful of their reaction if you did what you’re imagining so instead you do what you have been doing
- You believe that if you show up with loving action it will be less motivating for them to do the same so you skip it
- You don’t want them to think that you’re the problem so you wait for them to show up so you can respond to their action
- You shut down and push them away
- It feels awkward so instead, you do what you have been doing, maybe be complain/blame
- You pretend to be busy and ask them why they don’t come to say hi to you
- You greet them but are expecting them to reciprocate differently than they are
- Concede because, after all, maybe you are the root of the problem
- What else?
Whatever your flavor is, what I have seen is that in our minds we have this vision or fantasy of how we would like them to show up, but more importantly, for today’s discussion, you have a vision of how you want to show up, regardless of how they show up. Then what I see is that you are feeling shame around the fact that you can’t show up this way or if you’re bold enough to do it, it feels forced, inauthentic, you don’t get the reaction you hoped for and now you’re back in shame and angry that they aren’t showing up with love. You have this thought that something is wrong with you, that you’re broken, you ask yourself why you could do this when you were dating but you can’t now.
Things are different now, it’s quite possible that the actions you were taking when you were dating were coming from a validation cycle. You were taking actions that had your now spouse showing up in a way that validated your action. Once we settle into marriage we often drop that dependent type of relationship dynamic but we still want our spouse to act the same way even though we stopped validating them. The validation got interrupted and now you sitting there feeling empty.
Our need for their validation leaves us powerless, meaning our power to feel good relies on them showing up how we “need” them to. The power lies inside of ourselves when we are able to self-validate, when we know how lovable and worthy of love we are, regardless of how they show up, and what happens is we become influential in a very powerful way.
Right now we are also being influential but not in the way we want, we’re not influencing them to show up the way we want. Which way do you want to influence? By the way, this is NOT about manipulation, which may have been unconsciously a part of the reason we showed up the way we did when we were dating.
Three reasons why you might not be doing what you want to do
I am leading with talking a bit about fear because it is what I see most people expressing when it comes to looking at why they aren’t doing what they want to do in their marriage. They say that they are afraid of something but they’re not sure what and this is where we start taking a closer look. I LOVE what Brené Brown has to say about fear and vulnerability in her newest book Brene Brown Atlas of the Heart. She talks about fear being a “negative, short-lasting, high-alert emotion in response to a perceived threat.” Joan Rosenburg 90 Seconds To A Life You Love goes on to say that because we aren’t experiencing a physical threat we are most likely using anxiety or worry to avoid the emotions happening underneath, most of us are doing this subconsciously, not intentionally. Brené goes on to talk about vulnerability and how it is an emotion we experience during times of uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Let’s move forward and talk about it.
Needing validation from your spouse
Let’s look at validation first since we have already been talking about it. Outside validation, or needing others to validate/show us love in order for us to feel loved is a powerless cycle because it leaves us at the expense of other people’s moods/feelings, and it leaves us feeling empty. Think back to when you were dating, it’s possible you consumed a lot of energy taking actions, maybe even actions that went against your core values, to get your partner to feel loved. This is not sustainable action for most people so when you get comfortable in your marriage you start letting go of these behaviors to open up time to live life. Because we’ve used our spouses to show us that we are loved we feel unloved when they aren’t doing the things they did, funny thing is that usually we aren’t either. Outside validation leaves us powerless because we need them to show up in a certain way for us to feel loved.
Fear of our spouse rejecting us
The second reason I find people not showing up the way they want to show up is that they are afraid of how their spouse will show up. They are afraid of being rejected by their spouse. What we learn in AwakenYou, my one-on-one coaching program is that when we perceive other people as rejecting us there is often something going on inside of ourselves that has us believing in their rejection. When we have a loving relationship with ourselves we can separate out another person’s reaction from our value and lovability. We don’t have to make our spouses turning the other way, giving us a short peck or asking for space mean anything about our inherent ability to be loved. When we begin to have a solid relationship with ourselves we shed other people’s states as their own and don’t absorb them into ourselves. This is when we can show up from a place of love for the person we want to be, how we want to act, and know that other people have things going on that come into play and influence how they show up.
When we learn how to stop taking our perceived rejection personally it also allows us to open up with love and compassion to the other so we can share how their action made us feel or be able to ask them what is going on for them.
Past emotional coping mechanisms
Often we have developed protective emotional coping mechanisms that keep us from doing things that we know we want, like greeting our spouse when they come home with a hug and a kiss. Maybe we have a tendency to lean towards self-preservation and in this case, we betray ourselves by not stepping into that which we want. We reject them so that they can’t reject us first. Sounds a bit crazy but it’s not, it’s actually something I struggled with for a long time and have slowly pried my grip, a lot, though I still work hard on it because it was a coping mechanism I used for forty plus years. These mechanisms are subconscious and take time and consistent work to change. You can listen to understand my process a bit more and it’s possible you will resonate: Ep 65: How Past Trauma May Be Affecting Your Marriage.
All three of these bring us back to good olé vulnerability. What we want to remember is that taking the chance on reaching out for the love we want, taking the chance of showing up as our authentic selves, and being a bit uncertain of the outcome does not make us weak. Brené talks about this being “one of the biggest myths of vulnerability.” In order to be brave enough to go after what we want in our marriages, we must step into courage, and she says that “there is no courage without vulnerability. Courage requires the willingness to lean into uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
The one solution that helps you to show up as the person you dream of being in your marriage
Learning about yourself, figuring out how to love yourself – from here you become more and more confident in who you are and are able to take bold steps towards your authentic self. This is the core of my AwakenYou in your marriage program, yes, we work on your marriage, but it’s about you taking bold steps in your marriage and understanding why you aren’t taking them from a place of love, not judgment and shame.
From here you get to discover who it is you want to be – if you haven’t been showing up in your marriage in a way you love and the two of you haven’t modeled what you consider a loving marriage to be, you might not even be sure of what that relationship would look like to you. You might have visions but until you start taking bold steps forward you won’t know what you want and what you don’t want. You get to develop what it is you want by taking bold steps and it is SO much easier taking bold steps alongside someone who cares about you as much as I do.
I am an accountability nut, I am so much more proactive when I have a partner who is waiting to hear back about how things went. In AwakenYou, I am your accountability partner. I am the one that is over in the corner cheering you on to step into your boldness and I am the one who you come back and discuss what happened and help you decide what your next bold step is.
SO MUCH FUN!
Until then use this information to help you start creating awareness around what is happening in your exact situation. Start paying attention to what is happening internally when you can’t seem to step into action. Ask yourself why you feel uncertain or afraid and what would it take to feel certain, courageous, or inspired? Don’t worry about taking action right now, just start observing and trust that coming back here to every week’s episode will begin to open up your mind to a better understanding and soften your heart to do what it is you want to do, for you.
Take baby steps towards how you think you want to show up and pay attention to how you feel when you take these actions. Let’s use the greeting example. Maybe to start you simply continue what you are doing but pause to question what might be happening for you. The next step you could take might be pausing what you are doing when they enter the room and say hi, then do the same, what happens inside of you, what are you feeling. Baby steps my loves, baby steps.
There is no rush when it comes to rebuilding your marriage, rushing might push you in the wrong direction, take it one step at a time. You are unraveling your past and the past of your marriage, let it happen the way it happens for you.
Now it’s time to learn how to validate yourself, love, yourself, and let go. Trust the process. Let yourself fall in love with yourself because it’s only then that you can have the marriage relationship you aren’t believing is possible.
I am a marriage coach who helps women and couples go from feeling powerless to change how they feel about their marriage to feeling powerful and taking ownership of how they feel. My process isn’t about changing your partner; it’s about discovering who you are so that you can AwakenYou in your marriage, and through this process, you will begin to find that your partner will change as well! Schedule your free mini-coaching session today to discover how coaching can help you take your next steps forward toward what you want in your marriage.