Jack loves taking back roads and finding the longest possible way to get from one place to another…he is a true meanderer. When I was first dating him, we went out for a ride one day and I really had to go to the bathroom, so I suggested that we go directly back to his house and he said OK.
40 minutes later, after going over miles of dirt roads, past farms and fields and cows, we pulled onto what seemed like almost the exact location we had been 40 minutes before. When I said “This looks so familiar” he casually said, “Oh it is. My house is only a few miles up the road. I thought you’d like to see more of this beautiful county!” I had been wiggling in my seat for the past 40 minutes, praying every time we went over a bump that I could hold on, and we had only been a few minutes from his house.
I was in the bathroom thinking, “He is clueless, and selfish and inconsiderate. Maybe we shouldn’t be dating. This might be a mistake.” When I came out of the bathroom, he knew that I was upset, but didn’t say anything for a few minutes (which led me to add to my growing list of his shortcomings; “unable to communicate”). At that point I told him that I was going to go home, and he said, “Wait. I am so sorry, I just wanted to be with you a little longer and I knew when we got back, you’d have to go home. I didn’t realize that you had to go to the bathroom that bad or I wouldn’t have driven around. You have to believe me Mary.”
Preconceived ideas about someones motives, second-guessing them, pigeon-holing their behaviour can ruin relationships, sometimes before they even begin. I was 45 years old when I started dating Jack, and had experienced my share of poor relationships. I didn’t realize, at the time, how afraid I was, how guarded, how much I was looking for signs of trouble so I could get out before I got hurt. I didn’t trust myself to make a good decision when it came to my love life, and this fear of not being safe, led me to over-analyze and dissect every move Jack made that looked like potential trouble.
Seeing the present through the scared, troubled, eyes of the past, only ensures that I will see more of the same. People say to me all of the time things like, “But looking at everything through the eyes of love doesn’t even make sense! I have to be on guard. I can’t be a Pollyanna about life or I will really be in trouble. There are real things to be worried about out there!” But just the opposite is true. Our work here is develop an inner trust first. It isn’t an easy thing to do. All of us have been hurt by others, and all of us have hurt others. But If I stay in a wrong relationship (or job, or circumstance) because I am afraid there is nothing better for me, or turn down an opportunity (or a new relationship) because I am afraid of getting hurt, then in both cases, I am letting fear make my decisions, and the path will lead to a smaller, less-happy, duller life, and this isn’t really living.
We can start today taking steps into the new lives that we would love to be living, and the place where we start is in our own minds. When we change inside, the world begins to show us a new reality too. A really good affirmation to say to yourself, over and over is: “I can trust myself.”
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live“. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe