Last month we talked about rocking the boat as a way of becoming unstuck. Let’s look at it in another way. We are stuck in our relationship when we keep arriving at the same place with each other where both are unhappy. No moving on seems possible. When we keep focusing on the problem only, it is like getting stuck when driving through sand. We might panic and accelerate. Yet this gets us even more stuck.
There might seem to be no way out of stuckness other than abandoning the car, throwing away the relationship. But this is costly.
A first step in the process of becoming unstuck in a relationship is to acknowledge our stuckness and to examine our intention and motivation. It is very common to wrong or blame each other, and get stuck in a “what-about-me” match of competing needs. Yet by only focusing on what had been wrong, what didn’t work, we dig ourselves deeper into the sand. An alternative is to look at what it is that we want rather than expressing what we don’t want. We are more likely to be heard by the other when we say, “I would like you to appreciate me” rather than, “don’t criticize me”. It is helpful to focus on what you want rather than not want. What we focus on we reinforce.
What is our intention? What do we want to achieve? What is our motivation?
Motivation is the driving force of movement and change. A loving and compassionate motivation means well for the relationship as a whole. It paves the way for a win-win situation and diffuses power struggles. Trying to over-power your partner or giving yourself up won’t help you to move on. Getting stuck invites us to examine our action, to reflect. Instead of doing more of the same something different is asked for. The movement is a gentle one and starts with your own inner attitude. Doing something different involves a risk. It is like moving into uncharted territory. We don’t know what it will be like. We can’t determine the outcome. What we can do is develop and hold an inner picture of the best possible one.
Sometimes we might have already dug in ourselves too deep. Then support, like planks under the wheels, is necessary. The basis of the support that we both, Mirjam and Rudolf, offer is beside our training our personal experience. We have been to many different places. We also know what it feels like to be stuck.
Moving on from stuckness may pose a challenge for us which serves as an opportunity to grow. We might have to give up an old belief, like “I can’t have what I want”. We might have to leave behind a limiting image we hold of ourselves or our partner. We might have to give up a “familiar self”. It is helpful to ask ourselves, “what quality in us is required to move on?”
Mirjam Busch & Rudolf Jarosewitsch
Copyright © 9/1999 by Rumijabu | Originally published in Southshore Beacon #111, Sep1999