Today a client and I discussed his concern that even if he makes his big change, how does he know he’ll be happier than he is now?
His concern stems from the question, “What if it’s ME that’s the issue? What if I make a change and I’m not any happier?”
I could totally resonate with this fear. I’ve recently had it myself.
So, first we delved into the big change he wants to make – leaving his career for something more fulfilling. Leaving behind everything he’s created up to this point.
A secure job.
Lots of money.
A great life.
We explored whether this new direction was REALLY right for him. We did a visualization together (one that I’ve recorded here), that allowed him to tap into his intuition, his inner wisdom to determine if his fear was “dirty” or “clean.” In my experience ALL fear has a message, and it also can be used powerfully. It’s a powerful energy that we can tap into. As Gay Hendricks says, “fear is just excitement without breath.”
So, by doing this visualization he realized that, yes, this is dirty fear. Fear that comes from the mind that wants to keep us safe. He really IS excited to make this leap.
So now what?
Well, I shared my own experience with him. Recently I left my marriage of 23 years and moved to Baltimore, MD.
This wasn’t an easy decision for me. I had the same questions and fears that my client has.
What if the problem is me? Will I be happier?
In fact, there’s a lot of data that says for most people it’s better to work out your shit with your current partner than to carry it into your next relationship.
How did I KNOW I was ready?
I discovered that I needed to answer 3 questions for myself before I knew I was ready:
- Is what I want possible?
- Am I capable of creating it?
- Am I capable of creating it where I am at now?
Is what I want possible?
This actually took years for me to discover. I always struggled to articulate what I want in a relationship. A deep emotional and spiritual connection. It wasn’t until I received powerful support from a great therapist and a great coach that I really KNEW that what I want to create IS possible. I found evidence for it in the book, “Dear Lover,” by David Deida. A light bulb went on for me when I read his words and they touched me so deeply. I did a lot of work on myself to clarify what I really want. And then I gave myself permission to want it.
Am I capable of creating it?
Because of the work I’ve done on myself, I know I have the capacity to create a deep relationship. I practiced in my marriage being who I want to be, regardless of how my husband received it. I practiced being tender, vulnerable, strong, bitchy, honest, and too much. It was scary, and sometimes it hurt. I’m also participating in a 6-month Relationship and Intimacy Salon to learn how to create the kind of intimacy that I want in a relationship. And to learn how to support others to do the same.
Am I capable of creating what I want where I am at now?
There’s a lot of history for me with this question. Marriage counseling, recent years of dis-satisfaction, and a deadline ultimately answered this question for me. I created an experiment in my marriage. I asked my 4 best friends in the world to create space for me and hold me accountable for being the woman I want to be in a relationship, and then I invited my husband to join me in creating deeper intimacy. I shared my deepest needs and desires with him, and then as my deadline approached, I realized that I could not create what I want with him. That’s when I chose to leave.
These 3 questions helped me know that I was ready to make a move. And still, there are no guarantees. There are days I wake up wondering what the hell I’ve done, and moments of existential loneliness that would probably cripple me if I dwelled on them. But when I think about returning, there is just a clear knowing that THAT IS NOT THE ANSWER. I gave myself permission to just be wherever I am with no judgement.
And right now, I know I am where I am supposed to be.
As I shared all this with my client, we realized that most of our work up to now has been him answering these questions for himself. He is approaching his answers to these questions, and understandably, anxiety rises as we approach our truth.
He shared that he knows he’ll need to act soon. I shared with him that in the past I have been afraid to admit the truth to myself, for fear that I would have to act on it.
That’s not actually true.
You can also give yourself permission to know the truth for a while before you act. I have found with myself and my clients, that just admitting the truth to yourself is a very powerful and courageous act. It alone can move mountains and shift the universe. It’s even more powerful to admit it to someone else, who can witness it and hold space for you without judgement.
Are you ready? What’s missing for you to KNOW it?