Linda: There can be a lot of ideas floating around in our mind that aren’t actually true. They are a series of stories, excuses, justifications, rationalizations, and procrastination. One pervasive one is “I’m going to have a great relationship as soon as….fill in the blank. Tal Ben Shahar, author of Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment calls this the “arrival fallacy’. The myth that the arrival at a certain point will bring great happiness does cause eager anticipation, but the actual arrival rarely brings the big rewards that the mind conjures up. Often what comes with the completion of an anticipated goal is more work and responsibility. And there is a great likelihood that another goal will quickly pop into that vacant spot.
Whether we are presently in a romantic partnership, or anticipating being in one in the future, it is useful to address the question: What are the “as soon as’s” or the beliefs that I am waiting for to be fulfilled? Identifying the assumptions and beliefs can free us to be present now. Here are some examples of what we tell ourselves about why we don’t have a good relationship. This is only an abbreviated list; please don’t be confined to them. Add your own stories and excuses why you don’t get on with committing to partnership or developing the partnership you do have.
As soon as I have more time.
As soon as I have enough money.
As soon as I win the lottery.
As soon as I inherit money.
As soon as I catch a lucky break.
As soon as people don’t need so much from me.
As soon as I get their blessing.
As soon as I move.
As soon as I get my degree.
As soon as I’m married.
As soon as I own my own home.
As soon as I have children.
As soon as the children are grown.
As soon as I get that promotion.
As soon as I quit this job.
As soon as I get a new job.
As soon as I retire.
As soon as my health is better.
As soon as I lose weight.
As soon as I get permission.
As soon as I’m not so afraid.
Examining these beliefs will allow us to discern what we are putting in our way of getting on with establishing a fine relationship and how we justify putting off until later, the worthy endeavor of creating a fulfilling relationship. The antidote to being possessed by the belief that I will be happy “as soon as” is to live more fully in the present. Rather than having a future orientation, we can commit to being fully engaged in whatever we are doing right now in the present moment. Such a life view allows us to not only set goals, but to take pleasure in the smallest of steps along the way. Growth development, learning, experience, expertise, pleasure are all unfolding in a subtle, gradual way if we are paying close attention by fully living in the now. This way, the reward is not way off into the future; it is with us right now.
It can be challenging to look at our beliefs, but the rewards are great. Living in the question of “What do I want to experience?” will allow us to be in touch with the pain of the longing for closeness. Listening in to the “as soon as” stories can be a way to identify the defenses that we may be unconsciously using to avoid deeper commitment. One thing that will help us to stay inspired to continue to examine our beliefs is to grasp that it is possible to break free from the myth that limits us, to go on to create a different reality for ourselves. That new reality is characterized by a sense of security, power, freedom, pleasure, connection, ease, relaxation, fun, respect, peace of mind, and of course lots of love. Don’t take my word for it, give it a try and see what your own experience reveals to you.
Linda and Charlie Bloom are excited to announce the release of their third book, Happily Ever After . . . and 39 Other Myths about Love: Breaking Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams.
“Love experts Linda and Charlie shine a bright light, busting the most common myths about relationships. Using real-life examples, they skillfully, provide effective strategies and tools to create and grow a deeply loving and fulfilling long-term connection.” –Arielle Ford, author of Turn You Mate into Your Soulmate