Habits, Patterns, and Love: Where Does Honesty Apply?

For fear that they will tell me what I don’t want to hear, I’m refraining from reviewing the posts I’ve written lately.

The sneaking suspicion is that I’ve been complaining a lot about how generally distracted I feel.

Beginning a few months ago, in a state of utter boredom with book editing, lack of social life, lack of work, it seems I turned to haphazard romances spice up my life.

The thing about romance is that it’s really, really engaging. Especially in the beginning. It’s full of untouchable hope and sparkle and mouth corners turned upward ever on their own accord.

New romance: a wonderful drug.

And I’ve been doing drugs as a way to escape life block.

foil art of a running escaping person

When you grow up with someone with an addiction (work, alcohol, worrying, painkillers, sex, socializing), even if you do not share the same addiction, you learn the associated emotional and psychological behaviors.

When we’re young, there’s little we can do to prevent ourselves from acquiring the subtle and not-so-subtle habits of the significant people in our lives.

Depending on the addict, these behaviors may include secrecy, detachment, rage, depression, compulsion, obsessiveness…the list goes on.


The Child, the Student

Behaviors are habits. Even the non-physical ones, i.e. the manners in which we think and relate to the world. Over time, they become internalized in our nature. Still, they are changeable with concentrated effort.

In January, I went to Santa Fe to isolate myself for writing, but also to isolate myself at all. To reshape my behaviors and try to become healthier in the realm of relationships. It’s not that things were a mess, but I wasn’t as emotionally fit as I wanted.

How does this relate to the creative quest?

If we can’t be honest about the secret hurt selves living inside us, we can’t be honest in our work. Ignoring our unresolved needs and heartaches does not make them any less part of our makeup.

If we deny the painful parts of ourself, we aren’t being honest in relationships because we’re not bringing everything to the table. Especially in the relationship with our own self.

If we can’t be honest in relationships, the relationship is unhealthy. Period. All the more so because you’ve attracted someone who is willing to accept dishonesty—whether they realize it or not.

It doesn’t take long for unhealthy-ness to become a distraction. We don’t pay attention when things are functioning as-expected; we tune-in when things go pear-shaped.

abstract drawing vaguely pear shaped

If I don’t figure out the thing I’m seeking in these ultimately unfulfilling relationships, I’m doomed to keep repeating this pattern. Without going into too many details, there is a definite pattern.

Find It, Change It

Just like the abused woman manages to find that small percentage of men willing to abuse (and vice versa), I’m doing the exact same thing, just with a different sort of [perhaps more benign] abuse.

The behavioral commonalities among the small percentage of men I date are too distinct. It’s clear I’m seeking some lesson…but what?

Here’s the frustrating fact:

We will never find what we’re seeking in the other person; it is only found within ourselves.

It’s so much harder, right, to have to do the work ourselves?

But if not, we’ll keep attracting the bad stuff with hopes that in focusing on the other person and their issues (which likely mirror our own), we can avoid addressing the heavily-defended zones of pain within us.

We probably had to defend and fortify these zones at some point in life for the simple sake of self-preservation. The defenses grew strong but ultimately unnecessary. Whoever taught us pain, fear, and distrust no longer sits in the ruling chair. We do.

So…what now?

I suppose this means more solitude, more soul-searching, more writing. More trying to unearth the hidden flame that keeps luring the wrong moths.

a lit match and flame

It’s something I have to do for me, but it is also something I have to do for my work, my writing. If there are places I am unwilling or unable to look at in myself, then I can never honestly give me away.

If I can’t give me away, then whatever it is I am giving is simply not the truth.

I want this to be true.

And you, how are you feeling? If any of this sparked with you, a great next stop is Debbie Ford’s book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers.

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