Tuesday, August 9, 2016

a peanut is a legume

i heard a story today.
jennifer finlayson-fife shared it at the strengthening your relationship conference pete and i attended.
it was about her autistic son.
he memorized all fruits and vegetables when he was young,
and he loved identifying them all at the grocery store.
by age 7 he was focused on naming all the nuts,
even peanuts.
his mother kindly explained that while a peanut looks like a nut and sounds like a nut,
it's actually a legume.
he freaked.
"NO! it has to be a nut!"
that was the only reality he had known,
and it was terrifying to him to have that reality shaken.
even though he resisted the new idea,
it didn't change that a peanut is still a legume.
after some wailing,
he began self-soothing by repeating
"a peanut is a legume. a peanut is a legume."
he accepted that fact as a new reality.
that happened to me today.
my relationship reality has been something that simply isn't a true reality.
my reality has said that the only way to be successful was to give up yourself,
all your desires, interests, plans, and goals.
this reality has hurt me,
has not made my relationship successful
or made me happy.
but it was my reality.
relationships demanded that you lose yourself.
there must be something wrong with me.
i never questioned that it was my reality.
how could that be so?
it was in fact an incorrect reality.
a healthy relationship requires you to be the best version of you,
holding everything that is fundamentally important to you in your relationship space.
holding it there without the expectation that your partner will embrace it and give you everything you dream of.
it's acting out of a place of integrity for those wishes.
and when your spouse doesn't reciprocate,
you still hold onto your sense of self without punishing
or resenting
you still honor yourself.
you still always have the choice to do that.
and as one partner does that
it gives the space to the other to do the same.
there has been self-soothing on my part today.
"what i want does matter."
"what i want will make my relationship stronger."
it will.
it will.
part of me has always known this,
and i've had one moment where i've lived it.
i don't want to question if a peanut is a nut ever again.

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