Friday, July 13, 2007
So, what is the first step to finding not only the right person, but having a relationship that lasts?
Well, for me, it was dealing with my "broken picker"! Most of you are wondering if I am talking about harvesting fruit or finding men. I am talking about the men I picked. I think it was in a support group meeting where I first heard the term "broken picker", and someone was telling me that I had one. I thought they were nuts!! I knew that I went into every relationship expecting the best, and thought each one would work out. The person clarified the fact for me, that I was the person who picked, not necessarily in correct order, men who were unavailable, who were not going to commit, who were not always faithful, sometimes had addictions, and rarely had jobs that would support themselves, let alone a family. Subsequently the determination, that my picker was broken.
Now, up until this point in my life, my belief was that the problem lay with the men, and that somehow I had nothing to do with these relationships not working out. What a shock to find that it was about me after all. And why, you ask, did I pick people who were destined to break my heart, leave, or more commonly drive me to leave them? Well, a lot of it was because of a guy, Martha Beck, PhD, the well known life coach, (and my personal Coach Trainer) would call, my Inner Lizard. All of us have a part of our brain that goes back to the days when we were still crawling around in the primordial soup, and today scientists still call it our Reptilian Brain.
This is the part of the brain that tells us when to run if we are in danger, or stand and fight if running isn't an option. It is also the part of our brain that learns to recognize certain people, who we feel a strong emotional response to. This often begins with our parents or other caregivers who raised us. When I've had a strong emotional response to people in the past, I often thought it was charisma or intense attraction, what I didn't realize was that my Inner Lizard was responding to them, and not necessarily in a good way. It took me a lot of work with counseling and coaching to realize, that I was intensely attracted to men, who my Inner Lizard recognized as having some of the traits of my father (eeeuuuu!), and that my brain wanted somehow to heal our relationship through my relationships with men.
Now not everyone out there has a broken picker. And some people have them in varying degrees. What my picker did, was lead me to believe that I was intensely attracted to the wrong men, and that I wasn't that attracted to the right men. I did meet some very wonderful men along the way, but I would usually not stick around. So having a broken picker was a problem, but it didn't stop me from meeting decent people. Once I recognized this fact, I could learn to fix the problem.
So the first assignment along the path of finding and loving a nice guy, is learning to make peace with your Inner Lizard. This is accomplished first through committing to being single, while you work on your relationship issues. Now, don't run, it sounds really difficult, but the first key to having a keeping a relationship with a whole, healthy, human being is being one yourself. So, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do I have a lot of turmoil in my relationships, whether they are with family, friends, co-workers, or romantic in nature?
2. Am I still working through childhood issues with my parents?
3. Am I often angry, tearful, moody, or depressed?
4. Do I use any substance to the extreme?
5. Am I truly available to be in relationships, or am I still in one that isn't working, grieving one that has recently broken up, in the middle of a divorce or separation, still in love with someone from the past?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the first step is to work with a life coach, a counselor, or other program to deal with these specific issues. Martha Beck says, "you've got to live it, to give it". That means that to be in a relationship with a healthy person, you need to be a healthy person. For myself, I spent a couple of years working on building the life I wanted, and learning to be great alone, before I was ready to love a nice guy.
I would be happy to work with you to do the same. This may take some time, but not as much time as it will take if you do nothing. So start today, with me or someone else, because he is out there waiting, and wondering when he will find a nice girl.