The Gift and the Curse

The Gift and the Curse

The Gift and the Curse

Do you see yourself as one of those people who only can see the good in things? There’s something to be said about Debbie Downers but then there’s this whole other breed of people. The Positive Pollyanna’s who only have good things to say about everything and can pick out the minutest positive aspect of something that most others can’t. What I’m referring to though is an extremity from the other end of the spectrum.

It’s not about just seeing the good or just seeing the bad of any situation, which tends to be very black and white thinking. It’s about all the shades of grey in between and not just the grey of possibilities. It’s the grey of what else you might open your eyes to seeing that you haven’t before, that IS actually there. Especially when faced with making a decision about ending a relationship or marriage.

Everything we experience is based on our perception of things, AND we do feel emotions with each of those experiences, but we forget how much of a guidance system emotions are for us. Focusing on just the good is literally saying I only choose to see the good things this person does because they feel good rather than all the bad things they do, because those bad things don’t feel good and I don’t like to be reminded of what doesn’t feel good.

This may be a bit of a dramatic example but one that gets the point across. Such as a woman who experiences verbal abuse or has been hit by her husband, and only focuses on the flowers he buys to express his remorse even though he never says “I’m sorry” out loud to her and he continually does it again and again. Plain and simple, she’s ignoring the feelings she is having each time he hits her with his words or his fist.

I can imagine how hard it is being in a situation like this. To remain committed to a man, giving of yourself, and possibly even providing for this man all in the name of love. Or is it?  Then on top of it, there might be kids to worry about, possibly your own kids, his, or a combined family of kids. I can see how it could get messy and complicated. I also hear a lot of women say they are afraid of ending a relationship because they are really afraid of being alone which dominoes with the fear that they may never meet someone again. All fears can be considered valid but the question is with what validity?

It can get you in trouble only seeing the good that someone does, when most of the time they are doing things that are hurtful, painful, and disappointing, and you know this because you feel it but you choose to ignore it. Then what starts to happen is that you begin to doubt your feelings and start to think that you’re a horrible person for thinking such terrible things about the man in your life.  Maybe you have tried to express your feelings to him and he told you, “no that’s not how you feel, I’ll tell you how you really feel”, and boy does he. That’s where the questioning takes a dangerous turn and then you’re left in a space of confusion. In that space you end up directionless, just spinning round and round.

If you can imagine yourself at one end of a room and your instinct is to get to the other side. It would seem that the easiest route would be to just walk straight ahead, but then someone ties a blindfold on you so you can’t see. So you think okay, I’ll just feel my way with my arms out in front of me and continue walking straight ahead. So you start to walk and now someone just bumped into you and threw you off direction. You start to get confused with where you are and now you get bumped again, and before you know it, you’re spinning around, scared, and confused, and you have no idea where the other side of the room is. You then hear a voice of a person who tells you which direction to go in, and you want to trust the person but they are also the one who bumped you off track.

What would happen if you kept your determination that no matter how many times you got bumped, you would just keep walking, KNOWING that eventually you would get to the other side. Maybe you could trust someone’s direction, maybe you can’t, but you can choose whether or not you take the suggestion into consideration, also knowing that it was your choice to do so. If it doesn’t get you there right away, was it a mistake? It doesn’t have to be.

So let’s say you’re about halfway across the room and you realize, “Wait! Why not just take the blindfold off?” Your hands were never tied so you could very easily just reach up and pull off the blindfold allowing yourself to see. So what if it was that easy?

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you have been blind to what’s in front of you. Most people aren’t and most people aren’t literally blindfolded in their relationships. There is a difference between being blind about it, and either ignoring or making excuses for it. What I am suggesting is to pay attention to the feelings you are having when your partner says something to you or does something that doesn’t feel good.

Another question I have is, have you told them it hurts? Unfortunately because we are mostly functioning on autopilot 95-99% of the time, most people don’t realize when they have said something hurtful to another. Sometimes people will do it, in their eyes, to tease or get your goat or they just do it because it’s a habitual way of being. Yet if it doesn’t feel good, even if the intention is to be funny, why not just tell them, “what was just said hurts.”

I remember one woman I was talking to about this said she didn’t want to come off as though she was scolding her boyfriend. Let’s analyze this just for a moment.  The people who would scold would be a mother and maybe a teacher.  You aren’t his teacher or his mother. You are his girlfriend or his wife and most healthy men want to make a woman feel good, so he may want to know when he says or does something that hurts your feelings.

One of the things that most men like about women is our ability to be in touch with our emotions. They want to feel safe with us and one way they do, is if we can feel safe with our own emotions. If he doesn’t and doesn’t care, then you have a different problem on your hands and I would imagine this isn’t the only issue in your relationship.

Yes it can be a gift to be the kind of person who only sees the good in things, compared to a Debbie Downer; it’s a more preferred way to be. Yet maybe, just maybe, you are ignoring what else is there, something very important. That something important is you. YOU matter. Your feelings matter. Your emotions matter. What you want matters.

If you don’t feel like you matter or how you feel matters, then how can you expect someone else to? By paying attention to all the grey in a relationship what might you see that could be a gift? What you now see could be a gift that could bring you and your partner closer together. Or maybe the gift is the relationship that gave you a profound life long learning. That’s when the curse loses its power.