Let’s say you go to a restaurant. You’re starving and have been fantasizing about a juicy steak all day. You scan the menu, but it turns out, it’s a vegetarian restaurant. There’s no meat listed and you’re sad and disappointed.
Do you think it would be strange if you returned to that same restaurant every single night, mouth watering for beef only to find out again and again that it is not available?
Would it be reasonable to demand that the restaurant owners serve you the meal that you desire regardless of what they are offering and become angry if they don’t?
This is how I have been thinking about relationships in my life lately - and I’ve been passing on this wisdom to so many of my coaching clients this week.
I find that one of the biggest causes of suffering is when we yearn for what is simply not being offered. We’d never show up at the restaurant that way - we’d simply go to a different restaurant- yet I find that with the people we love we can fall into this pattern.
In my view, radical self-responsibility for our own happiness and well-being in this context means:
- communicating needs and desires clearly
- assessing whether or not the person we are relating to is willing to meet that need
- making an empowered choice to work with what is available or choose to direct our time, attention and energy elsewhere
This is an important component of relationship design and puts us in the driver’s seat in a powerful way.
I’m already noticing a huge shift in myself since I started orienting my energy towards the right menu options. I’m hoping this framing is helpful to you.
May your choices at the right restaurant be both delicious and fulfilling, social fam.