Have you ever heard the saying, “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything?”
Well, now you have. And it’s true.
Growing up, I played soccer. My high school varsity coach would get so frustrated with our team when we would fuck around at practice. You know, turn a drill into something silly, or just not be all that focused on what we were supposed to be doing. We’d have to circle up and get lectured, “How you practice is how you play.” She said it to us all the time.
Being a teenager, I’m sure I rolled my eyes at that more than once. But sure enough, when we’d lose miserably the next day because we were sloppy (not necessarily because we weren’t the better team), it started to make sense.
If you only ever run at half speed, you don’t even know what full speed feels like. If you aren’t focused and don’t care about being focused, finding focus is infinitely more difficult.
If something shows up in your relationships, it’s showing up in your life. And vice versa.
When I talk with women about their relationships, something will come up, like fear of rejection. And the more we talk, the more apparent it becomes that fear of rejection is showing up everywhere in that person’s life. It’s keeping her from having a difficult conversation with her mom, from asking a client for money, from telling a friend her feelings got hurt. Everywhere.
And it’s the same for women who avoid relationships. Maybe they don’t feel ready. Maybe they aren’t perfect enough for a relationship yet. Guess how many other things in their life they are avoiding because they aren’t perfect enough yet?
I think you get the idea.
A successful relationship doesn’t just happen when a great guy magically falls from the sky.
You have to be ready to fully be yourself.
How can I get ready without any decent prospects, you ask?
Face the things that feel hard in relationships in your everyday life. Simple. (Not necessarily easy, though.)
If you’re afraid of rejection in relationship, find ways to practice getting rejected. Stand outside the grocery store and ask 10 people for help changing a flat tire. Ask someone you know a question repeatedly that you already know they will answer with a no. (“Do you have a candy bar I can have?”)
If you’re holding back your opinion about something, you go first. Compliment someone on their shorts. Say hello to the store clerk before he greets you. Offer to do something nice for someone who looks like they could use help.
It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering intimacy. All you have to do is find a new pattern of practice so that you are ready for the game.
But what if I hold my intimate relationships as sacred? What if other people don’t deserve to see those parts of me?
This is a common complaint, and usually there’s underlying fear that creates it. (If this is you, make a list of all the reasons why you’re not interested in acting like everyone in the world is your next boyfriend, and I imagine you’ll get a good sense of what your fears might be.)
And the answer is, it’s totally up to you. But, there’s a caveat.
Let’s presume that we are all just looking for a way to be who we really are, fully. We feel best as individuals when we are authentically ourselves.
When you save “who you really are” for your closest relationship only, the desire to have that particular relationship work becomes extremely intensified – and that’s a lot of frickin’ pressure to win the World Cup championship when you haven’t been practicing much at all.
In the comments below, tell me what’s one thing you can practice in everyday life that will help you in your next intimate relationship?