When "Too Nice" Really Means "Not Good Enough"
Have you ever found yourself in a relationship where you're doing all the planning and compromising?
And if you don't, you either don't see or hear from your partner at all, or they get angry at you for not calling, driving, planning or arranging?
Maybe you feel like you're initiating everything, including affection, touching, and even sex.
After a while, it starts to feel like everything's on your partner’s terms.
And that doesn’t feel very good.
You can never do enough, and whatever you do goes unacknowledged.
Eventually, you start feeling frustrated, angry, and a little crazy.
I remember feeling so "in love" with some guy, I couldn't see any other option than to “make it work.”
But sometimes we have attracted a “difficult” relationship, so that we might awaken to consciousness; in essence this relationship forces us to “snap out of it.”
For example, when I was in my early thirties, I briefly dated someone right after my divorce.
It was one of those fast and furious things that had no label, and left me wondering if I made most of it up in my head.
Tearfully, I shared my pain with a spiritual advisor and psychic, and asked for her guidance.
She suggested I consider the joy that might come out of pleasurable and easeful partnerships, and why not shift my energy and focus to that aim.
But I was attached and hung upon this guy, and why didn’t he love me like I loved him?
And another thought popped into my head...which I hadn’t realized was there before.
Before I could voice it outloud, she said, “Oooohhhh, Briana. I can hear you already. You think if you’re not in pain, than your art and other creative works won’t be any good.”
I burst out into another round of sobs.
Because it was true. I did think that way.
I thought I performed at my best when I was at my most miserable, and if you took away my misery, I would not only be common, but worse yet...mediocre. I would truly be the shit artist.
I always thought I was.
Every aspect of creative expression would become cliched, or trite and uninteresting. I wouldn’t be living as authentically. There wouldn’t be anything special about me.
There was nothing qualitatively interesting or appealing to me about contentment; it just seemed like a boring, coward’s way out of living life to its highest highs and deepest depths.
The drama proved my worth, one way or the other; the drama of performing well enough to earn love.
And if there wasn’t a competition in which there was something to prove...then there was a deafening silence and black emptiness, in which I had no way to define myself, or conceive of my value.
I would cease to exist, in a true existential sense.
And quite frankly, I was right.
At least, that part of my ego that I was over-identified with, would die. It had to die a metaphorical death, in order for ME--in my entirety-- to truly grow out of the drama cycle.
To realize that it was distracting me from seeing the real beauty in quiet moments of “mediocrity.” And even my assessment of “commonness” was a criticism that obscured the truest value and uniquely divine spark that resides in everything, and is infinitely mysterious in its complexity.
My spiritual advisor said to me, “Do you judge all works of art and poetry that stem from joy as mediocre, or common? Have none of those moved you just as well as those borne of pain?”
At the time, no, they had not.
Because I had not yet experienced for myself that kind of inspiration.
Words don’t teach.
Neither does logic.
Only felt experience teaches.
But you do have a choice of which experiences you are going to pursue. Which ones you will cling to, tooth and nail. And which ones you will let go of, to create space for new experiences.
Winks from the Universe, if you will.
It wasn’t until 4 years after that conversation, through a confluence of events in my life, that I finally turned towards that black emptiness, rather than desperately run from it.
Ultimately, I decided that I would look for inspiration, instead of cling to my pain. Just as fast, the drama seeped out of my life.
And I found a new self definition.
Because I realized, inspiration was all around me.
And growth didn’t have to be so painful.
And pain didn’t make something (love) more authentic...it just made it more difficult.
So why suffer?
And so, a relationship in which partners join together from a place of inspiration, as opposed to a fear-based need to be filled up with the other, is what I call an ascended partnership.
This is a partner who already has a higher level of consciousness and is looking for purposeful “building,” as opposed to stimulating the most sensitive parts of each other to facilitate soul growth.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your soul stops growing, but it's more like the curriculum changes.
The only criterion for attracting such a partner, is that you are ready to meet them.
So, are you ready?
If your ideal lover walked through the door tomorrow, would you have zero fears and hang ups about diving head first into it?
Feel completely confident and trusting that you are perfectly capable of being in a healthy relationship, and whatever comes, you got this?
If you can’t answer that with a soul-deep “Fuck yeah!” You’re probably not ready.
And you wouldn’t recognize them, even if they were staring you in the face.
Want to learn more about attachment?
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Briana MacWilliam ATR-BC, LCAT
Licensed and Board Certified Creative Arts Therapist
Author, Educator and Reiki Practitioner