Wednesday, March 6, 2013

One-up one-down same-as revisited

Hi everyone. March is my birthday month. I celebrate all month by doing nice things for myself. On the first I met with a dear friend and a counselor to clear up an imbalance in our relationship. It was a great way to start my birthday month. I had been making myself small around her (going one-down). She had been telling me what to do and judging me (going one-up) In the session we both spoke our truth and cleared everything in the way of both being in our power. (Same-as) Getting small means being quiet and afraid and shrinking myself or pretzeling myself to be what I think the other person wants me to be to be loved. (One-down) Puffing up means getting loud and aggressive and acting as if I know better than the other person what they need to change to be OK. (One-up) In this relationship I  mostly went one-down and she mostly went one-up.
I am grateful for my friend's willingness to use our conflict to get closer. I am grateful for my willingness to use our conflict to get closer. We walked today and we could both tell the difference in our safety with each other. I felt clearer about asking for what I wanted in a kind, firm way and she was accepting and supportive. We both felt freer to be more authentic. In the midst of our old dynamic we loved each other very much. Now there is more space for that love to be fully experienced and expressed.

Gary and I are in Couples counseling. We saw our skillful counselor this week . Although it was a difficult session we came out of it very hopeful. In that relationship I mostly go one-up and he mostly goes one-down. I act like I know what he needs to change to be OK and get critical and judgemental. He gets small and withdraws and doesn't speak his truth and  doesn't ask for what he wants. We are learning to come to same-as, too. The more Gary shares what he is feeling in a kind, authentic way the more met I feel and the less I criticize. Even though a lot of what he is sharing are fears and doubts about our relationship, I trust him more and respect him more because I know more about what he is really feeling. I feel less need to puff up and therapize him. Coming to same-as benefits both people. In an equal peer relationship both people have more room to express all of who they are, even if they think that might be unpopular with the other person. There is more room for there to be two different truths in the space and for both to be honored as valid. Neither person has to change the other's opinion because there is same-as for both truths. Neither has to be right or wrong. Same-as is honoring the other person for being different than I am with a shared humanity. Same-as is accepting anothers' differences as a path to growth. Same-as is permission to explore unacceptable parts of ourselves and to have curiosity brought to those parts. Same-as means being close is more important than being right.
I am grateful to be part of a working couples' relationship where both of us support the other's growth. After couples counseling we went to dinner and a lovely classical concert. All of it was a further celebration of my birthday month. I look forward to all the ways I can be creative about loving myself this month.
Check out one-up, one-down and same-as in your own relationships. Also consider celebrating your birthday for a month. It is a sweet present.