Living Consciously involves living in the now! Observing and reviewing your experience as it happens or even before it happens, no matter how difficult. When that occurs, you have responded rather than reacted, and that’s a good thing! Often, we find ourselves dealing with situations that are the consequences, unintended or otherwise, of past events. For example; recently I was starting to feel resentful of the constant presence of my step children. It wasn’t that I don’t like them or that they are bad kids…not at all. The problem was a lack of personal space.
Like Many people about 4 years ago my wife had to fight a difficult battle to get shared custody of the children. Naturally we were very happy when the court orders were issued restoring her rights. At that stage, the orders were for week on week off and this lasted for about 12 months. At which stage the two eldest decided they were tired of swapping houses. One choose to stay with Dad whilst the other moved in with us permanently.
My conditions on accepting this was he must maintain a proper relationship with his Father. As time has drifted on he has spent less and less time at Dad’s which had the unintended, and unnoticed until now, effect of slowly whittling away at my personal space. It became a very rare event when I would have our house to myself and even less frequently with my wife. How did this make me feel? Three realities started to emerge. I had lost my personal space. My stepson was not maintaining any real relationship (good or bad) with his Dad. Finally, I knew I was facing a decision that would make me unpopular because it was about my needs. It was “selfish”, or at least it could be framed in that way, this was going to be difficult!
Here is how I changed the game. I stepped back and took advice from those around me who knew me and my situation. That gave me clarity on the course of action I needed to take. I had to make my needs known and at the same time make clear neither my stepson’s or his Dad’s needs were being met by the current situation either. Nor, for that matter, were my wife’s. For the good of all concerned there needed to be more structure around the custody arrangements no matter how difficult that might be to achieve. I didn’t want to throw the boy out and I was aware without time to myself and to be with my wife there was no way I could be the best man I could be. We are all human and all need a break!
Then came the difficult conversations, this is why Living Consciously requires courage. Firstly, with my wife, then her with her ex, then us with my stepson. Did they go easy NO! Was I perfect in my handling of them NO! Did I do my best to handle the matter with love and caring yes and was I compromising NO! Why not? Because sometimes, when you have done your homework are very clear you know what you need and what you need is right for the situation, to settle for less is a betrayal of yourself. Inevitably such a betrayal will result in resentment which in turn will eat away at your ability to be the best YOU, you can be.
It is these structures that form the scaffolding of our lives. It is illogical to think we can seriously change our outcomes without making sure the structures we have around us are attuned to who we really are and what we want out of life. Attuned to our versions of happiness. Yes, difficult conversations are hard. However, if your concern comes from your heart it is not an attack, it is a plea for help and understanding.
In my case changes have been made to my great relief, and they are not perfect! What is interesting is the changes have been made and substantially because of this I find myself being able to give that much more to the relationship(s) and there has been a near immediate improvement. I had taken responsibility for myself and my happiness. I had the courage to displease those around me and I did so based on a clear understanding of what was fair and reasonable and the truth of that statement was borne out in the consequences.
Do the homework, understand what changes have to be made and have the courage to make the changes. You will never regret it!