Some months back, I was involved in a rushed project which had no money in it. Well, actually whatever that I do these days has not much financial rewards in it except that it fulfils my soul and brings me much, much joy. When my partner observed how busy and ‘stressed’ I was, he asked me why I was getting myself into it since I don’t get anything out of it. I looked at him and simply said, “Because I want to”. Period.
And quite recently, I planned a trip somewhere. My partner suggested that I took a flight since I am entitled to discounted tickets. And I told him my wish to drive my car instead. He was not too happy about it, and commented that he prefers me to drive his car which was safer debating that my car did not have a spare tyre for change if an incident occurred which may require me to do so. Obviously, he was coming from the space of love as he cared for my safety; but I looked at him and simply said, “I want to drive my car”. Period. Only to be followed by his even kinder gesture of teaching me how to use some spray can to fill up a punctured tyre in the event such situation did occur during my drive. His action aftermath was also of love and support.
And one more time, my partner offered to fetch our little one to school since I have been feeling tired due to some overwhelming work. Instead of sleeping in, I woke up in the morning together with him telling him of my wish to fetch our little one to school together and to have breakfast with him thereafter. He simply insisted that I rested and I looked at him and simply said, “I want to go with you and have breakfast with you.” Period. And we had an enjoyable time together.
Now, please do not understand that I am boasting of what I am capable of doing. Instead, I am simply sharing that the very space of freedom is possible for anyone, as long as they trust and truly believe that that experience is what they want and is entitled to it. As much as it tantamount to much fear to do it for the first time, as in to stand in the space of firmness of what one wants; it takes just that one time to do it, without excuses or any form of scheming, to come to realize that we had never been obliged or tight down by anything or anyone but by ourselves only.
We cannot diminish the care and concern others put onto us. Those are loving acts that others have towards us, just as we would probably do the same too from our own space towards others. Although I may have sounded or looked like an inconsiderate partner citing what I want most of the time without having to present my case as in excuses or reasons for my actions or decisions, I begin to observe that there is some sense of respect coming from my partner with regards to what I wish to do in my own space; merely a reflection of self-respect I have for myself. Even though he may at times, feel angry or irritated with what I have decided to do at any one moment in time, I trusted him enough to know that he could deal with his own feelings to reclaim himself (since he is in his own inward journey as well) and to have his honest expression to me of his feelings and thoughts if need be. And my role here is not to defend myself by creating excuses or reasons to justify why I am entitled to what I wish to do in my own space, but merely to be present to him and to bring him to see his own truth in the midst of my own inner process if I was not comfortable about it. If I needed to express my own feelings or thoughts of discomfort, I’d be given the same space as I had given out earlier. We cannot receive what we do not give out, and any moments like these, though resented by many, are just opportune moments to come back to ourselves.
Through my observation of his actions lately, I began to observe that he is too feeling a sense of freedom and self-respect in doing what he wants to do. I remember he used to ask me, ‘Is it ok if I play golf on Monday?’ or ‘is it ok if I go out with so-and-so for dinner?’ Of course, I used to see it as a problem when I didn’t know better then as I saw that he was robbing my time away when I had sacrificed my own wants just to be with him merely from the space of guilt and obligation, which is also guilt. These days, he just tells me ‘I am going to play golf on Monday’ or ‘I am going dinner with so-and-so’. Most days, there is allowance in his freedom for since I had tasted my own freedom I would not deprive him of his own since I loved him. On the days when I felt triggered by his being away, I do my own inner process and I find that there is much understanding arising from the trigger accompanied by a sense of freedom when I do not interfere with his wanting to honor himself as opposed to if I had made him stay back with me (and trust me, the skills of manipulation I have always make me at the winning end!). Although he would not have made a fuss (a good man he is!), my guilt would have taken a toll on me and hence prevented us from fully embracing our moments together anyway.
So our (my partner and I) common teacher reminds us constantly whenever we individually see him, “What is it that you want? It is that simple.” And I find that when I truly know what I want, and able to stand in my own space of integrity and honesty, I do not need to answer to anyone even though there seems to be people who are upset with me. But the reason that they are upset with me is not what they or I think it is, for how can I or what I do be the reason of their upset but theirs and my own ideas? So when I try to be compassionate and not trigger the other so that unhappiness would not emerge, and in the process allowing a sense of self-betrayal, am I truly empowering anyone at all? Of course I am not saying that we trigger others on purpose, but when it comes to a situation where I am asked to honor my sacred self or to accommodate another which is only a camouflage of a form of guilt within me, would I then be limiting my own growth in this area?
It is absurd as I observe that one partner willingly gives another freedom to do what he or she wants while restricting his or her very own freedom. Not that it is wrong since there is an obvious guilt hovering, but do we give in to that guilt, or at least give ourselves that opportunity to rise up above it by at least giving ourselves that opportunity to taste the freedom of saying and doing what we want from our hearts?
We cannot really avoid guilt for if it is there, it is just like a time bomb ticking waiting to be released – hence the resentment, the anger, the hurt, the disappointment, the hatred – and when one is unconscious, there is indeed a tendency to blame the other when it is not the other who has caused one’s delusion.
We can’t really dictate our partner or anyone’s journey for that matter. Who are we to do so although the tendency to do that is much clearer in a relationship due to the nature of attachment and co-dependency, which is why my examples stem from the point view of partnerships in a relationship.
When we invite ourselves to grow, we too invite others to grow in their own space. This is inevitable as no one outside does not reflect my inner world since I am the center of my own universe.