Keep The Keys In Your Pocket

'Wisdom' and Other Words To Live By From a Wet-Behind-The Ears Oracle

There’s nothing like a relationship with another member of my species to make me feel like I’ve forgotten every spiritual principle I think I’ve learned (not to mention every top dollar’s worth of therapy).  Just when I think I’ve made some real strides on the road to more evolved relating, some new connection comes along that manages to reflect back to me a me I barely recognize.  It can leave me feeling like a clueless bundle of worries or frustrations or insecurities. 

In addition to wondering why channels aren’t immune to such woes, I asked the Shower Team to help me understand how it is that I can so easily lose my bearings and forget myself in the context of an important connection to another?  Where am I missing the mark?

You typically approach relationships from the standpoint of believing that the success or failure of the relationship will depend largely upon the extent to which someone behaves or responds to you in a way that pleases you.  And when something about the relationship displeases you, your typical approach to resolving the problem is to look at what the other person is doing that you don’t like and to try to either get them to change or to force yourself into a position of compromise where you resign yourself to being unhappy about this thing or that thing that they can’t or won’t change in order to please you.  In essence, you either push or you pout.  Or both.

What you often don’t stop to think about is how backwards that all is, and how you are constantly setting yourself—and others—up to fail or to fall short.  The fact is that no one can do all the things that they would need to do to continually be pleasing you nor can you do all the things that you need to do in order to be continually pleasing another.  And yet you treat your relationships as if this is the standard, and you punish yourselves and each other when either of both of you discover—as you inevitably must—that you can’t cut it.

What we would like to encourage you to do is to understand that when there’s a problem with someone you care about, when you’re not feeling good about a relationship that you’re in, it ultimately has nothing to do with anything the other person is doing or not doing.  If you are not liking the way you feel in your connection to another, it is always because you have for some reason decided to make the other person responsible for how you feel.  You have made it their job to see to it that all is well with you—a job that no one is equipped to manage, except you.

It’s as if each time you become involved with someone on some level, each time you decide that you care about someone, you hand over the keys to your house and in effect say, “Here come on in and do what you will . . .  change anything you don’t like, redecorate as you please . .   make any improvements that you see fit . . .  just don’t leave a mess . . . be sure you don’t break anything or put anything out of its place . . .  make yourself at home just make sure that I like whatever you decide to do . . . 

You give to someone else the authority to decide what goes where and how you feel and then you are surprised that it nearly always ends up feeling unpleasant for you.  And then when things do go wrong, you don’t rest for trying to figure out why they would do such a thing—when the problem all along was that you gave them the power to do it.

What we’re saying is that you must recognize that anytime you start to hand over control of your well being to another—no matter how benevolent the other may be—you will sooner or later feel the warning from your Inner Being reminding you that you are once again pretending not to be the one who’s in charge.  You are once again headed down the path of using someone else as your excuse for being unhappy when all along, all you needed to do was to keep the keys in your own pocket where they belong.

When you are feeling unhappy in your connection to another, stop and recognize that you’ve given away something that is yours . . .  your power to choose your own happiness . . .  your power to be the one who decides where the furniture of your life goes . . . what color scheme works for you . . . how soft or loud the music should be . .   what feels like home.  You were never intended to be a guest in your own life.  Take ownership of your abode . . .  realize that you are the only one with real access to and control over your happiness and then you can be the sort of host that is truly comfortable in your own space and in your own skin—and who is truly appreciated by anyone you invite to share it (space or skin).

Clearly in my case, the keys are a figure of speech, since there hasn’t been an occasion to hand the real ones over in quite some time now.  But there’s a key point here about keeping my power in my pocket that has the jingle of truth about it.  Maybe if I can stop forgetting where to put the keys to my well being, I’ll actually come to a place where I’m no longer locking myself out of my own peace of mind.  I’m reaching into my pocket now just to make sure they’re where I left them . . .

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on April 4, 2010, in Self Development. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Dan, this blog had absolutely perfect timing for me as I really needed the wake-up call that it brought.

    “Maybe if I can stop forgetting where to put the keys to my well being, I’ll actually come to a place where I’m no longer locking myself out of my own peace of mind.”

    I’ve been having a terrible time in my perimenopausal state in remembering many things, but the most important thing is definitely where I’m keeping the keys to my well being. God knows I’ve locked myself out of the house because I forgot my keys a few times over the past year!

    There is so much truth in this post. The other people in our lives are often there to hold a mirror up for us to allow us to see that in ourselves which is negative and which only we can change.

    I’ve been struggling with frustration, financial stress, back pain, and depression for several months and I wonder why the only people I seem to attract in my life for companionship are other depressed people who aren’t happy with their lives and who sorely lack the self confidence to make the effort of change. We’re not helping each other by accepting each other the way we are, are we?

    I understand that some individuals’ role is to be a teacher while the others’ is to be the student and sometimes that role can be reversed within the same relationship. What I wonder is this…if we let go of the relationships with people who do not lift our spirits, are we being cruel to be kind to ourselves in the long run or have we actually learned the lesson that they were there to teach us?

    • These are such important and valid observations/concerns. My sense is that it is always helpful to accept ourselves and others “the way we are”. However, what we sometimes mean by that is accepting ourselves and others only as we’re currently showing up–and forgetting who we “really are” . . . that is, seeing only the current and always temporary distress or dissatisfaction and not finding a way to see beyond that to the joyful selves always waiting for us to catch up to and join with.

      It may not be necessary to let go of relationships with people who do not lift our spirits if we can remember that the part of them–and the part of us–that does not lift our spirts is not the only part of them or us that is real or true. If we can find and hold the vision of ourselves or them that is closer to the always joyful truth of who we–and they–really are . . . then there’s no need to cut them loose and no need to allow ourselves to be weighted down by whatever temporary unhappiness is showing up for them.

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