People ask me all the time; are you and your husband for real. “Because if you are, I want that too!” If it is defined as a relationship where two people respect each other, wake up every day wondering how they can make each other’s life better and more fulfilling, punctuated by a definition of love not for the faint of heart, “I want what you want for yourself,” then I say, “yes,” it’s for real. The caveat being, how we got to have it involved some critical elements. One of which was and remains for us both, a safe place to feel and be real all the way out loud!
Here’s the deal. When I was in between relationships and doing some heavy soul searching I decided “no more of this being who you want me to be, trying to get you to love me, bending myself into a pretzel to be graced with your love and then eventually being so jaded I couldn’t care less.” That’s when I knew I was in trouble, when I actually stopped caring. At that low point in my life I realized that, whoever I was with from that moment on, I wanted to be able to tell the TRUTH about EVERYTHING and anything all, the way out loud. My past, my finances, my judgments, my fears, my dreams, my desires, how big I really was, my strongest opinions (however misguided), and more!
I decided whoever this man was would LOVE this about me. No more black eyes because I was taking too much attention or threatening my beloved, no more police reports because someone was jealous or trying to control me or because I had such low self-esteem that I tried to be what he wanted me to be, etc. (just a snapshot, buy the book, Skinny, Tan and Rich: Unveiling the Myth).
My mother warned me against this “telling the truth” idea I had. She said that men don’t want to know the truth, all the while my father was cheating on her and the next wife and the next—it seemed his romantic life was built on contrary principles, which makes me wonder why my own mother was not skilled enough to interview better, but hey, if she had I wouldn’t have the privilege to be here! The truth is, she didn’t want to hear the truth. I, however, DID. I love you, Mom. Moving on, this is a blog not a novel so let’s get to it.
After I made this decision, which I knew immediately in every fiber of my being was the right choice and the best path, trying it out was a bit rough at first. I noticed some resistance and a few people just ditched me. Ouch! I guessed I needed to add some compassion to my delivery. I did, and things went more smoothly. I felt better about me, and I noticed an exponential sense of self-esteem. The difference was that now I was unafraid to lose anyone and most interested in being true to myself. Yes, I did care if someone disapproved, disagreed, or left altogether, but the grand prize was NOT THE MAN. The PRIZE was me and my self-respect! At last. Which, by the way, was the wedding song my husband and I chose by Etta James. Double entendres—I love them!
At first this telling the truth all the time wasn’t easy, as many people already considered me brutally honest and scary, so turning up the volume so my insides finally matched my outsides was courageous and made me think perhaps I might have grown actual testicles. JK. Love the visual. I guess not. Kinda gross. Moving on. Determined to be in relationship with full disclosure so I could be free of shame, self-doubt, insecurity, and judgment, when I was in the “just friends stage” with my husband-to-be, I introduced what I called the Sacred Council of We. It’s the Sacred Circle that you energetically create that can hold whatever truth you put in it. Its only purpose is to evolve that truth to its highest form, the participants’ only job is to try and help achieve that together. (For more info check out the Certification of Responsible Relationships, www.corrcert.com.)
This involved a rigorous practice of self-inquiry and being honest about all things with myself first, required training for us both in the ability to make the distinction between our ego selves and our authentic selves, a belief in God or the divine (some power greater than ourselves), respect, and a commitment to stay in the relationship regardless of what content was offered into the circle. Essentially, the tools we both needed to hold space for real truth-telling were the six tools that I teach and that are in my book Hindsight: What You Need to Know Before You Drop Your Drawers.
Seven years later, I can say that these master tools have been part of the bedrock that supports our “it” factor. And yes, we still got it. How about you? Love to help. Send me your questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.