Whenever I start a new round of my signature program, Live More Weigh Less Mastery the women are all concerned about one thing: losing weight. And like clockwork, six weeks later, after they’ve actively created a life full of fun, are learning to love their job or are looking for a new one, working on their inner mean girl, discovering their purpose, honing their spiritual practice and sprucing up their look they are all concerned with one thing: I’m doing all this work on myself and my partner/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend is doing nothing. How do I get him/her to get their sh*t together?
Can you relate?
It can be a little scary, growing so much that you feel like you’re in this completely new space and you have no one to share it with because your partner is stuck in 2013.
All of the sudden you feel like
…they don’t understand you anymore.
…no matter how many times you explain to them what they should do to be happier they just keep doing the opposite.
…you’re no longer attracted to them.
…you wonder if you should be with this person anyways…
It’s a slippery, dark and twisted place to go, but if you’ve done any personal growth work, you’ve so been there.
I know it can feel like you’ve tried everything and talking to them about it is like banging your head against a brick wall, but I bet there’s one thing you haven’t tried.
When I first discovered the wonderful world of nutrition, self-help and spirituality I was a total junkie. I went to lectures multiple times a week, joined groups, read tons of books and listened to audio lectures around the clock. When Jonathan came home I’d tell him all the things he shouldn’t eat, ask him questions about his spiritual practice, talk to him about manifesting and asked him to meditate with me. It didn’t go over well. What I saw was a woman who was trying to share with her partner all the amazing things she was learning and he was being a resistant ass. What Jonathan saw was a woman who thought he was broken and needed fixing. Not a fun thing to come home to everyday.
What I was trying to do was fix him, drag him along and teach him. It didn’t work. I realized that when I was with my self-helpy friends I was the best version of myself. I was grounded, thoughtful, vulnerable and accepting. But when I was with Jonathan I was still naggy and unsettled. Part of me wanted Jonathan to “grow” so I could be the same with him that I was with my new friends.
What I actually needed to do was just BE the new me around him without telling how to be different. I needed to do less teaching and more showing.
I started to say things like “can I tell you what I learned today?” and I’d get all giddy and share with him how I wanted to change my life. I talked about how happy I was, and how good I felt eating better. I became easygoing, light and fun to be around.
Without the pressure to change, Jonathan slowly started to show interest in self-help. He’d ask if he could read a book of mine or if I wanted company to a lecture. I just appreciated him, said yes, and let him have his own experience.
A few months after this shift I asked him what changed and why he stopped being resistant. He told me that I just seemed so happy and he knew that in order to be in a deep relationship with me, he had to get on board.
Now let me be clear, Jonathan never became some self-help junkie like me. Where I’ve read 100 self-help books, Jonathan has probably read three. But the key is that we are both committed to being happy. I trust him to do it his way, which is more about going to the gym, working hard and watching football, and he trusts me to do it my way, which is about reading a lot of Marianne Williamson and going on retreats.
So here’s what I want you to do:
1. Understand the difference between men and women. I drew some sweet pictures to illustrate my point. When it comes to self improvement, women are all over the map. One day we feel like we’re on top of the mountain looking down on our partner thinking, when is he going to get here?
The next day we’re back to eating cookies and cream ice cream out of the carton. It can take different kinds of spirituality, a week long silent retreat, a new wardrobe and a reiki session to feel like we’ve “made it”. As a gender, we are up and down, this way and that… and that’s what makes us awesome.
Men are the opposite, they pick a goal, chart out the best course and slowly, steadily march on.
Although it may seem like we’re way ahead of the game, often you get to top of the mountain (your goals) at the same time.
2. Stop teaching and fixing and start showing and sharing. Be the best version of yourself, get vulnerable, talk about what makes you excited. Lead by example. Give no tips, ever.
3. If you do this for months and your partner is still stuck and miserable, I believe it’s ok to say something like this, “Babe, are you happy? Though we are both going to go through down times, we owe it to each other to put in an effort to be happy so we can be great partners for each other. Do you agree? Do you want to be happier? What do you want in your life right now? (asking is key) It doesn’t matter to me what you do to be happy, but it’s important to me that you try. I want this to be the best relationship it can be.”
In the comments on the blog I’d love to know:
1. If you struggle with this and 2. What are you committed to doing to help you feel like you’re not leaving your partner behind?
I can’t WAIT to jam on this with you.