Hello, my name is Jessica Elizabeth, and I think YOU should be able to read my mind!
When working with couples or empowered individuals in relationships, I have come upon a very common sentiment, that ‘my partner should just KNOW to do this, that or the other thing!’.
And that somehow, if we have to tell them exactly what we want, or what we need them to do, they are even worse of a failure for having to be instructed so directly. That if they really loved us, if they really cared for us, they would just intrinsically understand, and instinctively do what’s needed, to show us we are loved.
This line of thinking is fraught with assumption and shame. Two things that definitely do not create the environment that love needs to thrive.
There is a great American proverb, (that I will write in my best Texas drawl) 'When you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.
- We assume, that our partner knows how to do this whole relationship malarkey, that they were given the tools for communication, conflict resolution and the language of love is one they are fluent in.
- We assume, that if they do not, know how to meet our needs, that equates to a lack of intent to love us.
- We shame them from a crucial aspect of human connection, the ability to ask for help.
- We shame them to side step vulnerability, to feel safe and secure enough to admit they do not have all the answers, they do not know what to do.
- We shame them into believing, as we have come to believe, that they are incapable of meeting our needs and of loving another person.
- We shame ourselves into the thinking, that we are not lovable. That somehow, we do not invoke the overall desire in our partners to create the drive needed, to love us.
Ultimately, we position ourselves in a place where we no longer ask ourselves, how can I help the person I love, succeed, to a place of why should I help them? And if you thought the shame and assumption was the danger zone, now we are in the center of fiery relationship hell.
Hello shame, resentment and anger.
The act of love, is an exchange. The best kind (and hardest to master) of exchanges is unconditional. We offer our love without any expectation or conditions, whatsoever. However, any exchange of love, even unconditional love, allows for clear instruction. If the person wishes to return our love, to offer us love in return without condition of expectation of reward, we can absolutely tell them to do that in the way that would have the most impact.
Let’s step back and look at this from a place using the power of analogy. I would like to make a donation to a cause, you believe in. There are no strings, I would like to keep it anonymous, so in no way the monies can be attributed back to me. I do not desire nor expect you to make a similar contribution to a cause I believe in.
After the lady (or man) has protest enough. i.e. “how kind of you’s, really you don’t have to’s have been extolled.
What is the very next step to further this transaction?
For me to cut a check?
NOPE. Who am I cutting the check to?
For me to research on the internet, scour our social media, to figure out what ‘cause’ has the most meaning to you?
NOPE. What if I get it wrong? This is a lot of money, surely you want it to go to a cause you care most about?
Would you sit back, and try endless Jedi mind tricks to get me to guess which cause you wanted the gifted money to go to?
NOPE. That just sounds silly.
In this scenario, its probably seems quite clear, that WE have to let ME know, which cause means most. AND, if you really want to ensure I make this donation to the right place, as quickly as possible, you would probably take that extra step to send me the detailed information about where to send the check to. Your own gratitude, would drive you to make this process as easy as possible for me to make this gift.
Why aren’t we doing the same for our partners, who are offering their contribution. Why wouldn’t we go out of our way to let them know, how? What acts would have the greatest benefit, which acts have the least benefit to our own happiness?
Now, what if you didn’t tell me where to send the money? What if I never even told you I was doing this wonderful thing. I just went ahead, saw you loved seals and made a healthy contribution to the Save the Seals charity, in your name?
Would you be angry? Would you be resentful? Would you huff and puff, heave and sigh, despairing to me “Why can’t you do anything right?”
Chances are, you would not. You would be happy for the seals and grateful that I had thought to do thing kind thing. You wouldn’t think less of me. Sure, seals wouldn’t have been your first choice, but hey, they’re cute and you do want them to be saved so…
We see the charitable monetary donation, for what it is, this purely beautiful act and one that would be best used, if we participated in helping the other person to make it.