A Little Give and Take


I talk with a great deal of people some of whom share with me that they are ‘so ready for a relationship!’  These are words I understand and remember saying myself.

And, I wonder.

In coaching sessions, when this comes up, I often talk about what needs would you like to get met inside a relationship?  Deep connection to the needs you want to have met inside a relationship provides you with the confidence to say yes and no clearly when various people come into your life.

This morning’s reflections took my mind to another place.  Possibly because I was making plans with friends, and thinking about how that process goes with different people.  Here’s what I wonder.

Are you really ready? 

On occasion when I hear, ‘really ready’ it feels to me like desperate. 

I don’t mean desperate in the negative way you might be reading this. 

I mean feeling deep despair.  Wholehearted longing for a partnership, friendship, bonded comfort with another.   For me, this is tender and rich and it is also good information.  I encourage you to take note. Because if you are feeling desperate, and you are not willing to welcome and experience fully the lovely energy that you long for, I’m afraid your actions might read as something else.  Something like clingy —especially to someone who might not be so skilled at listening.  *Remember the feeling, in this case ‘desperate’ is only to let you know the degree to which you are longing for a need.  Please do not confuse the feeling, with the need itself. 

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Back to the topic at hand…Give and Take.

When I ask if you are really ready, what I mean is, are you up to the task of creating that which you long for with and for someone else?  Of course your answer is “Yes, yes I am”. 

And I wonder how you know?  We focus so much on making sure the other person brings what we want to the table (often, a pretty long, likely impossible list), that we miss the opportunity to put into place how we know what we are going to offer this person when they show up.  When the right partner comes s/he will not be perfect, s/he will be just like you, someone longing for relationship, insisting they are really ready, and who needs bit of TLC.

Are you connected enough to what you want to create, and resourced enough to be the one who brings it to the relationship?  Replete enough with your skills, heart and mind to handle the gives and takes that relationships require?  Especially romantic partner relationships? 

The movies make it look so easy.  One or two disagreements, a mishap with a family member, and then like magic, it all falls into place.  In real life, fortunately or not, we are required to write our own scripts. 

What will your role be?

~Will you be able to distinguish the subtle differences between ‘They will never get it’, and ‘Let me hold a space for the deep learning going on for this person’? 

~Will you be able to nuance ‘I care about their well-being and offering time and energy to something important to them’ and ‘I care about their well-being and they don’t seem to have place where they stop asking, so I will say no’ (without blaming them for asking —don’t forget!)? 

~Will you be able to say no, and hear their disappointment or rage, and depending what comes back, and trust yourself enough to know what changes you want to make in order to meet most needs of all parties?

Will you be able to care about (and navigate) everyone’s needs getting met equally?

The funny (not haha funny) thing about focusing on the needs that you so sincerely want to have met in a relationship requires you to be able to at very least, be able to at very least, sometimes, generate a container for the needs to be met in the relationship.

Navigating the line of “Red Flag! – dump him/her right now!” and “I will just give them 17 more tries, even though they haven’t responded to any of my requests in any kind of way that seems like they understand what I am even talking about.” requires some skills. 

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Set yourself up for success and check in honestly with yourself (and the people with whom you are relating) and notice in what ways you are really ready (beyond in your heart) and what you might want some support with so you can give the next ‘perfect person’ a true try in a way that feels genuinely pretty good.

As Marshall said (something like), “We know we are truly in NVC consciousness when we can’t tell the difference between giving and receiving (needs).