You’ve read my stuff, or you haven’t but surely may after this , I goodly suck at relationships of the romantic variety. I know all the issues behind why and I have prayed the prayers, cried the tears, and burned the effigies. There remains nothing left for me to do but do the work. In the process of this work doing I’ve come across a book that I’d actually be given about eight years ago called If The Buddha Dated. I won’t get into the particulars, but one thing I noticed, and which actually tickled me a little is that old adage “you attract what you are” is kind of true, but not in the negative douche baggy way people tend to dole it out.
While reading about compassion, unconditional love, mutual understanding, and facing fear in relationships I realized that these things are often very difficult for me to practice with the men I date because I often can’t practice them with myself. I attract people that I generally want to take care of in someway or another. They’re usually creative types (me), who are great at what they do (Me), who seek out affection/satisfaction from multiple and usually self destructive outlets (ME), and who are often resistant to any healthy/balance/positive change or growth (MMMMEEE!!!)
The issue has been established. Now what’s the game plan. First and most important I continue to fight bravely for my sanity and overall well being while looking at myself with a compassionate eye and speaking to myself in a compassionate voice. I stay OPEN but VIGILANT in my dating situations. I kindly refuse the literally attached, because they have been the worse type of self inflicted pain in my experience. The rest is just about learning. What my likes and dislikes are, and honoring that. What’s comfortable, what isn’t, and honoring that. And moving through fear! There’s an excellent passage in the book that goes a lil something like this:
Dating with a Buddhist consciousness means a willingness to confront anything inside that kindles fear or anxiety. When we start wanting to run away, be deceptive, tell lies, or put on a mask, we need to walk right into our fears, sit down, and talk to them until they become our friends. This doesn’t mean we have a goal of getting rid of fear; rather, we accept it as a part of our unfolding journey.
Just last night I found myself entangled in a conversation with a man that fascinates me beyond words, but rather being IN the conversation and enjoying his company, I kept trying to find ways to make him more fascinated with me out of fear that who I am isn’t enough. I fall into that pattern so often it’s like breathing. What’s crazy is he was clearly just as uncomfortable as I was!
Last thing, and I’ll step off my makeshift soap box. Landing the man isn’t the goal. There will be no prize, no acceptance speeches to make, and no academy to thank when you have landed said man or woman. In fact, the prize will come in finding out that they are just as fugged up and human as you, and you still wanna stay. As my friend Antoine told me, “Don’t romanticize that shit, relationships are work.”
They damn sure are, and as my experience bears out, can break you in half if you don’t go in without your priorities straight and your expectations low. From observing relationships of people close to me I notice that the best ones are ones where people have and retain a strong sense of self and enhance their mate. It gives me hope, that if I pick up the pieces of my enfeebled soul that I will have an equally enfeebled soul to bang life out with … or not. Either way through my continued engagement in seeking out a relationship I am given the opportunity each time to form a more “perfect” union, with self.
Saying this to self as I say it to you,