“This Time, It’s Going To Be Different!”

Is Different What Is Best For You, Though?

Illustration by Sanny van Loon at https://sannyvanloon.com/

It is quite common to develop attractions to people who remind you of your most frustrating caregiver as a child — especially if you were the member of the family with the potential to heal and who knew how to love (who did not need to learn how to love).

However, these attractions are not going to redeem the past or help evolve the person who frustrated you, and being frustrated with a potential partner is a sign — by your emotional intelligence — that more of the same is going to follow, and that instead of a supportive and friendly relationship, something else is in store for you: triggers that go back to childhood and your wish to obtain love or some calm from an adult who frustrates you.

A well-matched partner inspires you to be the best version of yourself, to advance your talents, to enjoy life and to make progress, and by the power of love instils the sense of being lucky.

So why would anyone choose triggers over a fulfilling relationship?

It is not a choice that is particularly conscious. What stimulates the psyche is rarely conscious — although attentive observers from the outside, seasoned meditators and people used to introspection can spot it. The familiarity aspect can be seductive. The new person becomes a placeholder for the caregiver who could not respond for a number of reasons, and although years have passed and the present appears so different from the past, the pull to heal that new person will not register as “Here I go again! What am I doing?”, but as an attempt to end unfinished business, and it will feel almost fated and compulsive.

When you take a better look at relationships that don’t seem to work (and you can find a lot of examples nowadays of people who stay in unhappy relationships, of people who repeat the same relationship dynamic over and over again, not learning much about themselves, and of people who arrive at variations of the same conclusion about relationships instead of discovering the kind of partnership they would gladly commit to and that would create joy, togetherness and even meaning in their life), you will understand that what I am talking about is quite common, unfortunately.

So here is something that you can practise when you find yourself becoming attracted to a person who reminds you too much of a person who frustrated you in the past and who did not give you what you had hoped for:

STOP. Pay attention to your feelings and to your urges. Pay attention to the information you are receiving. Believe the information you are receiving.

Ask yourself, “Is this how I want to feel? Is this how I want to show up? Is this for my highest good?”

If you ever had a taste or memories of a lovely connection, and if you have had encounters with people who drew out the best in you, compare those feelings with the motivation to “heal” and “doctor on” a person who is not on the same path as you, may be giving off disinterested vibes and has an unknown, or clashing, emotional reality.

It is key that you compare these inner experiences. Because you want your close relationships to be similar to the positive experiences you already had, and you want to be able to notice alarm bells as distinct from curiosity, fascination and fulfilment.

Sometimes attraction comes in the form of alarm bells; but in your better, more mindful moments it comes in the form of something that is very satisfying, easy, loving and uplifting.

And yes, you can follow the downward spiral. Or you can follow the upward spiral. It is a choice you have. What is required of you is to read your emotions accurately and to trust them, rather than be yanked or surprised by them.

A lot of people hold onto the idea that surprise is an aspect of attraction. Well, if that is so, why not reward all positive surprises and detect bewildering surprises before they turn into ugly surprises?

Positive surprises deposit into your wisdom and well-being. Negative surprises tend to be preceded by information that could have prepared you, had you not blocked it out. Both types of surprises have a way of building up on data that has already been broadcast.

Well-being and lucidity are indicators that you are exploring something that is good for you; while stress, impulsivity and murkiness can tell you that you are being stimulated, though not in the direction of what is best for you and not in the direction of love and being loved.

17 June 2022

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