DO NOT TELL ME WHAT TO DO

One of the most basic inhibitors in a love relationship is the resistance to being told what to do. People are afraid they may be dominated by their partner’s desires and somehow forced to go along with or do things that are not what they really want. On the surface, this is a reasonable concern. No one wants to be a “doormat” or lose his or her independence. However, it never occurs to most people that even resisting
simple requests is a basic behavior pattern that started at an early age. Have you ever watched a very young child throw a spoon or something off his or her highchair, over and over? Even if the parent says “don’t,” this action is like a very fun game to the child. When the child becomes mobile, he or she continues the game by running in the opposite direction from the parent. Saying “come here” is tantamount to a command to run somewhere, anywhere else.

Avoiding being told what to do is so normal that it has followed most of us through the many stages of our lives largely unnoticed. In the next section, Ariel relates her experience of first noticing HER and how his way of being was so different that it set him apart. In this story, you can see how mental processes follow us from an early age and how they become so normal that they are transparent. Perhaps it will take you back to times when you constructed the groundwork for your relationships as you know them today.


YOUR AUTOMATIC “NO”

SURRENDER VERSUS SUCCUMB

When discussing being a “yes” to your life, it is important to establish what is meant when we use the terms surrender and succumb and to distinguish between the two. There is a vast difference between surrendering and succumbing to the requests made upon you by your life and your partner. Surrender is when you take on another’s request of you as though it were your own. Succumb is when you do what is requested of you and
victimize yourself for having to do it.

How many times have you said, “Yes, I will,” to what is requested of you and then resented that you had to? This is succumbing. Succumb is when you complain in your thoughts about the injustice of the request and how you are doing it only because they asked it of you, not because you want to.
We define surrender as allowing yourself to do what your life requests of you, and sometimes, your life shows up as requests made by your partner. Surrender is when you fulfill a request as if it were your own idea in the first place, with the intention of having it be a really great idea. This is distinctly different from fulfilling the request with the intention to prove to your partner that he or she was mistaken or misguided to have asked in the first place. In other words, if you succumb to a request, you will not have fun and you will be proving him or her wrong. When you succumb, frequently you will hurt yourself somehow to show your partner just how wrong he or she is. When you surrender to a request, however, you both win and experience satisfaction as a result.

Many people find surrendering very challenging, because once they are in a relationship, they start competing with their partner. This dynamic can be especially strong for women who compare themselves and their achievements to those of their mate and want to prove that they are equal to, as good as, or, in fact, better than a man. It is also strong for men who have been programmed not to let “girls” get ahead of them.
Many women have not discovered that they can just be themselves and still include their femininity. They haven’t seen that they don’t have to be manly in a man’s world. They haven’t recognized that they can be very potent and powerful as human beings without force, because force looks really bad on a woman. Of course, it doesn’t work so well for men either.

If you have the choice, the ability, the willingness to surrender, then you are truly independent. It takes a very strong person to say, “Yes . . . yes . . . okay, yes . . . yes . . . sure . . . alright . . . yes.”

If you have the ability to sidestep the early programming of not wanting to be told what to do by another, then you actually have the ability to honestly say, “No, I don’t want to do that,” when “no” is your truth. When you have the ability to surrender, you become powerful in yourself, and your union with a new or well seasoned, there is the possibility of surrendering to your life and your partner and having your relationship enter the realm of the miraculous.

Sometimes when approaching the idea of surrendering to one’s partner, people get worried they will lose themselves, get taken advantage of, or become a “doormat.” If you find yourself with one of these concerns, then take a step back and realize that dissolving your automatic “no” truly has nothing to do with your partner and everything to do with how you approach your life. Start with noticing your thoughts and attitudes about
normal day-to-day activities. For instance, when you brush your teeth, do you still resist “having to”? Or have you ever noticed that you will leave unwashed dishes in the sink and then pass by them throughout the day, even though their mere presence is a request to wash them and put them away? Or how about making your bed, paying that bill, balancing your checkbook, returning that phone call, or replacing that burned-out
light bulb? When we are talking about surrender, we are talking about developing the ability to be a “yes” to the “requests” life makes upon you. When you become practiced at being responsive to your environment, saying “yes” to your partner becomes a wonderful dance of taking care of each other rather than a begrudging, list-keeping tit for tat.


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