I am in the business of helping people create changes in their lives - and survive the unwanted changes that come to us all. I know that change can be tricky. So often we have changes in mind that we know will improve our lives, we just don't know how to implement them. What I have found is often when people feel stuck, it is in part because they have lost sight of options and possibilities. They are truly stuck doing what they have been doing with no room to add something different. And that is one of the tricks of change - it always requires us to give something up too. Yes, change requires a letting go.
Let me give you an example that is common in my sex therapy practice : A couple comes to me because they would like to have more sex in their relationship. Now we will certainly explore dynamics of their relationship and ways to increase desire and self esteem and much more, unique to each couple. But what I can guarantee you we will talk about is what are you doing instead of having sex? Literally, what is this couple doing with their time? Because if they want to have more sex, they have to create more time for sex. In our culture, we tend to fill our time so I know this couple will need to make some choices about how they are prioritizing their free moments. And it will mean that something has to go. Maybe that is TV viewing time, or a workout a week, or the time it takes to cook a complicated dinner. But it will probably be something that they enjoy, something that will hurt a bit to give up, something that was working for them - just not as much as the desired change (more sex) might work for them. And preparing to make that change means addressing the reasons it is hard to make that change and what might be lost or left behind in making it.
Change requires us to make space in our lives for something new. But we tend to focus on what needs to be added and we can end up adding more and more postive changes to our lives until we hit the limit of the actual hours in the day. In preparing for a change your life, remember to ask yourself - what am I willing to let go of to make time and space for this change?
If you are interested in more ideas about making time for sex with your partner, you can read my article for YourTango.com "I Have You Penciled In...For Sex" at http://www.yourtango.com/experts/melissa-fritchle/i-have-you-penciled-infor-sex
In the morning as I sat down to write my cat insistently, as is her way, demanded my attention. While turning around she hit me in the face with her tail several times, bumped my hands, stepped on the keyboard and became so overexcited about getting me to pet her belly, she fell off my lap in an undignified thump. After which she jumped right back on with the same enthusiasm as before, enthusiasm to love and be loved. And then I thought about my clients and how often in session I hear about how afraid they are to be seen as less than perfect, as clumsy or capable of mistakes. And how this leads them to hold themselves back, from their partners but also from their own enthusiasm and passion and therefore from their own ability to love.
What I hear a lot about in therapy are the limitations people put on themselves, the smaller and smaller worlds they create to fit in only the things they feel are acceptable. I see sex lives that have dwindled to a series of “safe” interactions that won’t require anyone to risk being embarrassed. I see couples who say that they don’t know each other anymore because they have each been editing what they say and do for so long. I see people starting relationships by hiding the fullness and complexity of who they are and squashing the wonder and fun that could be there.
When we are editing and watching ourselves with a critical eye, not allowing certain sides to come through, we are not fully available for our life. Enthusiasm and passion require that we throw ourselves in, flaws and all, and see what happens. They ask of us that we let our world be big, big enough to contain what may grow and develop. Whatever flaws you have are so much less important than the adventure you could be having if you let yourself. Love your flaws as a sign that you are fully present and engaging in life. If you don’t tumble off the metaphorical lap now and then, maybe you aren’t letting yourself love with enough enthusiasm.