Archive for July 30th, 2012

“I want to feel safe, not be protected”

Part of what came out of the conversation about hard tactics to gain compliance was my antiquated belief that my girl friends want me to protect them. Heather has been fairly upfront about her requirements in this area. She wants to feel safe with me, she doesn’t want me to protect her.

These two things are not the same and I’d mention that they are more different than they are similar.

Protection is about controlling a situation or people. It is about preventing things from happening. While it has its place in certain instances - life or death moments, or moments of complete absentmindedness - it isn’t appropriate most of the time in a loving relationship that is based on trust and mutual respect.

Given that it is about control, protection is selfish and fear based. It is an attempt to immunize oneself from a future, a fatalistic prediction about a possible outcome that creates a sense of loss. There is important information contained within the projection, so a need or want to protect someone who is independent reveals a lot of useful information and while it should not be actioned upon, it should not be ignored.

Allowing or helping someone to feel safe is altruistic in nature as it is about the other person feeling safe. It is a fearless way to act in that it is freeing. Safety, in the context of relationships, doesn’t require that someone control a person or situation, it means that the other person has the liberty to act as they feel appropriate.

What does feeling safe in a relationship mean? It means having the freedom to be self-expressed, it means having the option to act as you feel is appropriate without the power struggle, it means acting with a win:win outcome being the goal, it means you get to create your own environment and act naturally within it. Ultimately, it means being able to exist in a relationship in a natural way, free from the others will and live a life rich with the experiences you each bring to it.

When I Stop Protecting I Start Progressing

Yesterday I was talking to Heather, I was a little annoyed at a tactic that one of our mutual coaches used during the conversation to help gain Heathers support in something.

“That’s pretty manipulative” was the comment I made. She replied with “it’s only manipulative if I / you think it is, I actually respect her more using the tactic.” And this made me wonder a few things.

Why do I care about the tactics someone employs when trying to enroll my girlfriend in something?

Heather didn’t care, the opposite was true, she would think less of the coach is she hadn’t used the tactic. I don’t really have a horse in the race so why did I care?

That was fairly simple to uncover, I think I was trying to be a protector and mitigate the negatives that she is exposed to. It’s easy for a boy to want to do that when completely enamored by a girl. There’s an almost social imperative that boys look after their female partners so finding and trying to play this role is easy; particularly given my strong traits. But Heather isn’t looking for protection, she wants to feel safe (which is another topic worthy of its own consideration).

What’s the cost of acting that way?

The answer here is a tough pill to swallow. It has cost me a lot of relationships. Admittedly, the relationships ran their course, but at the core of protective behavior is a strong desire control situations to cause something to not happen. That is a key piece of the unworkable nature of life. Situations are what they are and they occur because of the way life has been engineered. We create our own luck, our own life and almost everything that exists around us.

It has cost me wisdom. Volumes of lessons that would have expedited a lot of my maturing. Everytime I have tried to control a situation or behavior out of existence I have closed-up making learning impossible.

It has cost me peace of mind by creating a sense of victimization. By creating (or trying to create) a life that sees me not having to deal with the things, I don’t grow powerfully towards being able to deal with those things. For example, by tying to protect myself or others from being sold, I am unable to actualize that positive that exists from buying. Instead, I feel like the world is out to get me.

All in all being that way has cost me a happiness and a lot of fulfillment and abundance. And as it winds down, I see that it hasn’t gained me anything. The world continues on with or without me getting on board with it’s motion. My perception of having control is simply a perception, it doesn’t reflect anything that actually exists.