Beginning With The End In Mind
When we are being, doing or putting up with something that isn’t a true reflection of who we really are, we may mistakenly believe that it must be because it is what we really want. This is why, for example, so many people remain in unfulfilling relationships with commitment resistant, emotionally unavailable partners. They have resigned themselves to the situation. What they didn’t do was begin with the end in mind. Putting up with or doing something that’s at odds with our needs, desires and feelings reflects a lack of clarity and commitment on our side that we’re possibly not conscious of yet.
It’s not unusual to focus on doing good, working hard, being as loving/understanding/ accommodating as possible. We assume that being and doing these things will influence and control receiving the desired outcome. This leads to inadvertently blocking one’s own success.
When you over-invest in someone and a situation that lacks love, care, trust and respect, no matter how much you do or how much you suffer, it’s not going to yield the relationship that you want. You might think that you have begun with the end in mind but if you’re misappropriating your energies, then I’d posit that you have not. Living like this, you’re not going to feel the way that you truly want to and it stands as a block to your own growth and intimacy.
We don’t have to try harder, suffer even more or even give up altogether if the way in which we’ve been going about getting what we want yielded the desired results. It’s nothing to do with us being not ‘good enough’ and everything to do with us being mistaken in what we think it takes to create, forge and sustain mutually fulfilling loving relationships.
If we mistakenly believe that love conquers all and that we can in essence, hitch our wagon to anyone and that with enough effort, the rest will take care of itself, and we then keep repeating this mentality in our efforts, we’re essentially walking into the same relationship pothole again and again..and again. The way out of that pothole is to figure out what we want, where we want to go and how we want to feel. We can then point us in the right direction and also steer ourselves away from anything or anyone that isn’t in alignment with that.
If you’re serious about being in a serious relationship, accept no substitutes.
The second habit in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is: begin with the end in mind. No, that doesn’t mean that you should start a relationship with the breakup forecasted. What it does mean is that you need to get clear on what you want. You need to decide exactly where you’re aiming…and be truthful to that.
So many people tell me that they want a committed relationship with love, care, trust and respect. They want to be themselves. So, what are many of these people doing?
- Dating anyone who shows an interest even if they’re not feeling it or the person has the boundary issues.
- Flailing around in casual relationships where they’d originally hoped that their involvement would lead to something more serious.
- Chasing after an ex or even bouncing around with a number of them.
- Staying in the wrong relationship because they’re afraid to leave, start over and be on their own.
- Pretending to be something they’re not, using relationships to audition to be whatever they think the other requires of them or wants them to be.
Why aren’t we committing to what we want? Well, because it’s a commitment. If you don’t admit to needing or wanting something, then you don’t have to be vulnerable. You avoid exposure to disappointment.
Dating and relationships are an experiment. They put all of our ideas, beliefs and assumptions about who we are, what we need and how we think relationships work to the test. Staying in our uncomfortable comfort zone hurts but you figure it is safe and can’t get much worse; until it actually does. We’re also prone to distraction and often have a ‘some crumbs is better than no crumbs mentality’ so even though we’re in an incompatible relationship where our emotional needs aren’t being met, we’ll stay. We gratify the temporary and so we’ll lap up the attention, affection, acknowledgement, sex or whatever it is. It is kidding ourselves that we’re getting the best of both worlds while sacrificing emotional needs and true desires. In desperately trying to avoid disappointment, you may just end up experiencing even more of it.
Very often though, we feel as if we have made a commitment to what we want. What we’re unaware of though is the unconscious intentions and fears that scupper our efforts.If we want commitment in a loving relationship but secretly fear that we’re unworthy, that we’re going to be trapped [like a parent], that we’ll lose ourselves, our career or something else that spells too many sacrifices, or that we’re going to wind up with or like one or both of our parents, we’ll cater to the fear not what we want.
Acknowledge your desires. Begin with the end in mind.
Beginning with the end in mind isn’t a guarantee of what you want (especially if you’re controlling a ‘plan’). It’s guaranteed that you won’t get what you want if you don’t define it. Unless you are living a life that’s conducive to that end or consciously directing you there, then you can not even get close.
When you treat and regard yourself with care and trust, that which you say yes and no to is very different to someone who doesn’t know, like and trust themselves. How will you know if you’re fulfilled if you’ve never put your line in the sand or have never really put some definition behind who you are and your core values. How will you know when you’ve had enough, that something isn’t right, or that you’ve veered off track? How will you know what to do in the day-to-day to further your aims? Many struggle as without clarity on healthy boundaries, things that don’t matter a great deal begin to overwhelm them.
Acknowledging what you want also helps you to recognise what you’re afraid of.
This is good as now you know what to address and what to be mindful of. Acknowledging where you’ve paid attention to these fears wakes you up to the realisation that catering to them isn’t leading you to anywhere but pain.
It is scary to commit to what you want but in truth, it is not anywhere near as scary as self denial and delusion. You have to take a leap of faith. Commitment means that you have to decide without knowing exactly how you’ll get there or when things are going to happen. You commit without knowing exactly how things will turn out. It’s taking a step, any step (however imperfect it might be) and keep trying to move in that direction. It’s about progress, not perfection.