Whether you are confronting a chronic illness, depression, anxiety, lack of financial stability, or simply a range of ongoing dramas, more often than not you may be ignoring a clue from your soul.
If you are truly ready to confront the issues and shine your light, I highly suggest working through the five following steps that take a Mothering (or creator’s) approach to confronting the real underlying issue(s).
Step 1: Empathize with your problem/problems.
Imagine how a nurturing mother might speak to her daughter when exploring a problem. She wouldn’t shame her or make her feel inadequate because this would prevent her child from wanting to share her worries. You must do the same for yourself - EMPATHIZE — as you unravel the problem. Write your problem in a journal or simply open up a word document on your computer. Just flush out all of your concerns. Don’t edit.
For example, when I started to get honest about why I couldn’t find a long-term relationship, I noted the ratio of men to women in the city. I complained how this factor made it more difficult to find a man who wanted a commitment because they’d all be taken. I blamed my age, and how there were so many younger women with better bodies. I listed out my flaws including things like student loan and credit card debt. Who would want me?
Step 2: Uncover your WHY.
When you look at your problems it is really easy to opt for defeat mode. However, we have to switch over to mothering mode. Be your own support system. Ask yourself, “What benefit comes from solving this problem?"
I asked why with all of these challenges facing me did I want a relationship.
The answer: I wanted a relationship because I was ready to have a teammate in life, and I want a family. I felt I had a lot of soulfulness and love to give.
Step 3: Define the REAL problem(s).
Mothers are often really amazing at helping us see what we do not want to see. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve felt angry towards my own mother for identifying my part in the problem. But here lies the secret, if you are constantly blaming your problem on everyone else, the problem likely lies with you.
This was certainly the case in my longing for a relationship. Even though on the surface I said I wanted a relationship, deep down I was so afraid that marriage would lead to violence, apathy or boredom. Therefore, I was choosing “exciting men.” I focused my efforts on the affluent or chartering men; those guys that can work a room. I imagined that if I dated and eventually married a guy who was magnetic or at least wealthy, that I would never be bored.
However, when I looked at my “WHY” for wanting a relationship, the real life choices I made in partners were not fitting with my deep longing. I wasn’t dating the guy or guys who wanted a teammate. Quite the opposite, those guys didn’t want a relationship with me; they wanted the freedom to meet & mingle.
Here I confronted my two major problems:
- A limiting belief that marriages are boring or problematic.
- I was not choosing the men who had the characteristics of loyalty and true friendship. They were NOT teammate material.
Step 4: IDEATE - generate possible solutions to your problem.
Just as a mother might help you generate possible solutions to your problem. Here you must take this on for yourself.
Some of my personal solutions included:
- End relationships with emotionally unavailable men.
- Be honest on my dating profile that I was looking for a relationship/marriage. (This is something I had often lied about as not to seem desperate.)
- Seek out examples of happy couples, and understand how they made it work.
- Work on my own social charm, as not to rely on someone else to bring the party to me.
- Practice supporting friends in their endeavors to learn how to be a better teammate myself.
- Let someone’s actions be the true measure of their intentions.
- Fail fast. If a relationship was not working, to end it quickly rather letting it simmer on and off.
Step 5: Proceed with Baby Steps
The final step is to proceed with your possible solutions. You have to test them. Most importantly, you have to cheer yourself on and keep trekking forward when you hit the rough patches. We all have fails and disappointments, so we must learn to self-soothe and get back out there. If you need extra support, find a friend to act as an accountability partner or opt for a good therapist.
As for me, I had someone from my past surface as I was going through my plan. (I believe the universe sometimes just likes to test our integrity.) I quickly let this relationship go for good in honor of making space for my soul desire. I explored other relationships and finally landed my love, who is my teammate. It feels amazing to have someone in my life who enjoys snuggling in bed and always says, "I love you," before leaving our home. As for our future, I don't sweat it. I know in my heart that marriage and a family are next for us.
On a final note, know that our growth takes time. In the moments you feel discouraged, try to appreciate that you are changing and evolving. New habits and beliefs sometime require more time to fully integrate into our beings.