One morning right after Jack and I had gotten married, I was sitting at the table writing out affirmations. My list went something like this: “Everything that I need is here now. All is well. Love is the only reality. There is no reality in lack.” I left my list on the table and went out for the day. When I returned home, Jack was sitting at that same table looking fairly distressed. He didn’t really want to talk about it, but I pushed him and he finally said (in a forlorn tone), “I found what you wrote today”, like this was supposed to explain his mood. “Yes?” is what I’m sure I said, and the next part is crystal clear, he looked at me with such distress and said, “What does, ‘There is no reality in Jack’, mean?”
I cracked up at that. I do have terrible handwriting but my L and my J don’t even look similar.
Then we both laughed and Jack looked like the weight of the world had been lifted from him, but this always made me think “What would’ve happened if he hadn’t been honest about what was bothering him? What if I hadn’t pushed him to tell me what was wrong?”
Jack isn’t a person who naturally wants to discuss emotionally charged subjects. I, on the other hand, want to talk about everything. We make a good pair, not because we approach life in a similar fashion, or because we find it so easy and pleasant to communicate. Often, it has been frustrating for us to have to work so hard at a harmonious relationship. We both came to this relationship guarded and defensive, although neither of us would have admitted it at that time. It hasn’t come naturally, but it has grown as we have grown.
And it has grown because no matter how hard at times it is, we want it more than we don’t. Dropping our defences has been huge. We were both afraid of getting hurt again, and yet we knew that if we stayed the same, we would be dooming our relationship to the same course we’d taken in the past. We still get defensive. We still have times where we’d like to retreat to what we perceived as a perfect world (pre each other)…but we don’t do it, or if we do, we don’t stay there long. We have finally come to the shocking revelation that we will always have issues to work through (within ourselves and by extension, with each other). We’ve come to see that self-love had been sorely lacking in each of us, and that lack of true love made us build walls of “protection” that needed to come down.
We’re still taking those walls (within ourselves) down. …and every time one falls, the world opens up a little more, we grow and expand, and we appreciate each other more. The more open I become, the more open I feel toward the world (Jack included). I finally realize that I am responsible for my emotional life, and the happier I become with myself, the happier I become with the world (Jack included). It is really all about me. It really is all about you. When we change, our worlds must change too.
“Defenses do not empower you. In fact, defenses are often magnets for pain. It is impossible to be defensive and radiant, defensive and fearless, defensive and open, defensive and abundant, defensive and loving. Defences tie you to your ego; they keep old wounds alive; they block healing: they affirm fear. Defences are not love. In fact, defensiveness is the refusal to give and receive love.” from the book Shift Happens! by Robert Holden Ph.D