I met with my former business coach last week. When I worked with him in a business coach relationship, it was odd because the business coaching often required me diving into deeply personal things like feelings of self-worth, commitment and a bunch of other places I would never had assumed I would have to go. It was immensely valuable for me to look in those places, and looking there often resolved a problem that I never would have resolved by looking on my own. I find it fascinating that entrepreneurial discussions online never seem to touch on the emotional aspects of being a business owner, or at least I am not seeing those discussions. Part of my reason for writing this blog was to add that aspect to the conversation.
When I met my former coach, I was struggling with my new relationship. He is a guy that I think lives his life at a high level in all areas, especially in love. I asked him what he thought made a relationship work. He asked me some questions back.
- What do you want in relationship?</li>
- What does your partner want?</li>
- If there are things that don’t align, will you accept that? If there is anything that does not align, is there a conversation to be had about that?
It was very stimulating for me to look there. Here is what I came up with.
- Space: I often find it very difficult to be who I am when there are distractions, loud music, or even an obligation to talk. Finding a quiet space to myself is more challenging when I am in partnership.
- Inspiration: I want to be in partnership with someone who inspires me to live my life at a higher level, who is consistently learning, sharing with and teaching me.
- Acceptance: I want to be accepted completely by my partner.
The spiritual practice I consider myself closest to would be Buddhism. And, when I wrote down those items, I wondered to myself “Am I attached to those ideas? If so, what suffering will come from that?” What has come up so far is this:
- My partner and I have been struggling to manage schedules which allow us to see each other, and which give me space. I have often felt like I am unable to say no when she wants to see me even when work commitments call, or even when I just want to be alone. It is challenging for me to define what is right or wrong in terms of the correct amount of time to spend with each other. To remedy this I proposed creating several dates a week, which would allow me to plan for other things like work and time alone. In the midst of that there are times I feel like being alone when we have agreed to spend time together. I’m sure there are times she feels the same. And, there are times when we both feel we would like to be together even though we agreed to be separate in that moment.
- Inspiration is tricky. People experience the world in different ways. What is inspirational to one might not be inspirational to another. Is this a dealbreaker, to not have this in a relationship? Is my mind playing tricks on me trying to find this? If I am not perpetually inspired in the relationship, is that indicative of a failure to come, or simply the space in between inspiring times? Am I an inspirational person, or do I have inspiring moments?
- Can we ever truly accept someone? I believe it is in our nature to judge and that our brains are hard wired to do so. I believe that creativity comes from the same place as judgment, creating something new from a set of experiences, positive in the case of creativity, but negative when it comes out as racism. This is why I think it is odd that we are trying to erase bigotry and racism when they will always exist as long as humans continue to generate new ideas, which is what makes us different than other carbon based life forms. I’m not ignoring the impact: the impact of racism is huge. I’m saying we must accept that people are racist as a way to transcend racism, as radical as that might sound. Resisting racism is what keeps it alive. People will always make a judgment about a person or event, and this is the basis of racism. We can gain awareness of it, and we can be responsible about how we share that opinion, but we will never truly eradicate judgment, and for that reason it is probably impossible to truly be accepting all the time. Could acceptance mean that we simply keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves? Would it work to live in a partnership where each person agreed to keep negative thoughts inside, or promised not to share them with that person directly, where perhaps it was each persons responsibility to share that with a responsible and non-partisan third party? This feels like the design of a new religion. Could acceptance by a partner simply look like me accepting everything that person says no matter how I judge it? That seems like a guaranteed path to success, and looks like it would take the strength of Hercules, to simply be with anything that came at me and accept it.