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Back to what triggered this response.

Mare said:

 You've really answered your own question.

A Reader Responds:

I disagree here. All of the panelists, not just Mare, seem to suggest that SerNdypiT has answered her own question. Just because we know the answer doesn't mean we really know the issue. SerNdypiT knows that her fears are making her and her boyfriend unhappy, uncomfortable and afraid. Just because we know that we are doing something bad for us doesn't mean we know how to replace it with more constructive behavior. I agree with all of the panelists that SerNdypiT will begin to feel happier if she accepts change and if she makes sure her life is more balanced.

No matter how old we are, 20 or 40 or 60, when we find someone we really care about and want in our lives, we focus a lot of our energy on that person. It's totally normal and natural. It makes us feel vibrant and passionate. Let's face it, it feels really good.

On the other hand, no matter how old we are, we are always changing and growing, learning and adapting. Relationships live the same way. Relationships grow and change the same as people. I think the key is to remember that there are three things going on here. There are two people. There is a relationship. All three need to grow and change both together and apart.

If we hold on too tightly to the way things were, we don't allow anything to grow- -and that includes ourselves. Experiencing change, in ourselves or others or in our relationships, can be frightening or exciting or both. No matter what, it's gonna happen. Maybe one of the biggest challenges in life is learning how to live happily with change.

I think we need to do two things. First, accept change as a natural part of life. Change is going to happen, no matter what. Hold on to something too tightly and you're very likely to crush it but you certainly won't keep it from changing. For SerNdypiT, this means accepting that her boyfriend and her relationship to him are going to change. Maybe the result will be wonderful and maybe it won't, but you can't keep it from happening. The best any of us can do is to try and play a positive part.

Second, take a few deep breaths and loosen your grip, relax a little. Open your perspective and look at the whole of your life. Don't focus solely on one part. For SerNdypiT, this means remembering that the world and her life are big places. Remember to make room in your life for all parts of yourself. All of them are valuable. You'll feel more balanced and complete and less afraid if you have friends, personal interests, time alone, work, play, and someone important in your life. All of them are better when only a part and not the whole. And all of them are better when we hold on loosely and let them breathe and change and grow.

These two things work together. The broader your perspective and the more parts of your life you develop, the safer you will feel in the face of change. The more you are able to accept change as an inevitable part of life, the fuller and more exciting all the parts of your life will be.

 In Peace

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