There is this TV commercial right now for some family cell phone plan where the bills are separate for each person. A teenage girl asks if her boyfriend can be on the plan, and the commercial wraps up with the girl clinging lovingly to a boy that seems to also be holding her happily.
It is such a strange image. A clingy, lovey dovey girl and a teenage guy that is content with that loving cling. It seemed so different from what I thought I knew about men and women in relationships.
I guess this may be insight into one of my own problems.
In this commercial I realized that I hold a belief that women should be a little distant, they shouldn’t unleash all their clingy loving feelings all over their guy. “He doesn’t want that! He doesn’t want to feel clung to, or smothered!”
And yet, this guy looked happy.
(Yes, I realize this is just a staged commercial, but bear with me, the insight is important)
I realize that even though I think I am being open and honest with my feelings, I often feel like I have to hide and hold back. If I show my true feelings, I will scare the guy off. Don’t unleash too much too soon!
I don’t know for sure, but what is wrong with being honest and open with how you feel? Don’t hold back your feelings and hide them because you are ashamed or worried about what the other person’s reaction will be.
I think what I am discovering more and more is that we cannot be responsible for the other person in a relationship. We can only be responsible for ourselves. So if you are expressing how you feel, that’s what is important. If they do not react the way that you expect, then that is their problem.
There is a Buddhist principle that is a tough pill to swallow, but I keep thinking about it. And I can’t find which book I read it in, so I am paraphrasing what I remember. The principle says that you have the right to do the work, but you are not entitled to the rewards.
The point is to do your best now in the moment, let go of what may happen afterwards.
How true! You can be honest with yourself and your partner. But how they process and react to that is not really your responsibility.
I’m not saying to be abusive to them if that’s how you honestly feel. If you’re feeling that way about your partner, you may want to look into why you’re feeling that way before you unleash your anger on them.
What I’m saying is that if you’re feeling loving, or confused, or excited, or whatever it might be, maybe we should be more willing to communicate that feeling and share it with the people that it affects.
Maybe this is what our world needs more of in order for us to become more peaceful and loving towards each other. We need to express our feelings of love, gratitude and tenderness towards each other. Stop being afraid of the rejection. Because if we are going to get rejected for how we feel then that person isn’t ready or worthy to receive what we can give. (And it is not our job to teach them to be ready)
I know it is hard to put yourself out there. I’ve been dumped because I told a guy how I felt and he wasn’t ready for it (oh that is so painful. And somehow I keep finding this guy over and over. Apparently there is a lesson there that I’m not learning so the situation keeps coming up until I learn it. Will the Universe please just tell me what I’m supposed to be learning, because apparently I am missing something really obvious!). But if nothing else, I learned that it wasn’t the right guy for me. It saved me from falling harder for the wrong guy and prolonging my time with him. So even though there was some pain, nothing bad came of me expressing my feelings. It let him weed himself out of the process, and I got to see his true, cowardly colors.
I am going to commit to not holding back my feelings if I am trying to avoid pain or because I am fearing rejection. If I have feelings for someone, I am going to express them appropriately. The right person will appreciate it, and hopefully reciprocate.