By David Steele
Discover how your thoughts and feelings are your keys to living happily ever after.
When singles become couples, each partner has different hopes and dreams, wants and needs, attitudes and experiences. These differences too often result in relationship failure and disappointment when one or both partners attempt to mold the relationship and their partner to fit what they want, rather than accepting and embracing what is. While we must have a vision and requirements and choose a partner and relationship aligned with what we want, we can’t be so rigid that we reject reality.
How do we let go of needing perfection without settling for less than what we really want? One strategy I recommend for Conscious Dating is to “experience your experience.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “EXPERIENCE YOUR EXPERIENCE?”
Your “experience” is what happens inside of you. It happens automatically. It’s the thoughts that pop into your head, the sensations you have in your body; what you see, hear, feel, touch and taste. It’s what you are feeling emotionally.
Your experience just happens. You go to a movie and you love the movie and you feel tingly and warm, that is your experience of the movie; you have a positive experience of it. You go to a movie and it scares you, turns you off, you hate it and it repulses you; you have a negative experience of the movie.
Your experience is involuntary. It just happens and it always happens in the now, so you must be present in the now to experience your experience; you can’t be in the past, thinking about what was, and you can’t be in the future, thinking about what will be.
Relationships only happen in the present. Connection can only happen in the present. To be in touch with what is real for us and to have a fulfilling relationship we must be able to experience our experience.
So “experience your experience” means to be present, be in the now, experiencing what is going on for you right now, and what’s real for you right now, instead of your fantasies about what will be and your associations about what was in the past.
Experiencing your experience is important because too often we bring our past baggage into a relationship; we don’t see the person and the relationship for what it is, we are too busy coloring it with the past, or we are absorbed in fantasy about the future, about what it might be and could be and will be.
EXPERIENCE HAPPENS FIRST
Your experience is what’s real for you, and you get to decide what it means. If you went to a movie and it repulsed you, then you might make up a story, an interpretation of your experience, that the movie was horrible, it was the worst movie ever made. That’s because of your experience.
Your experience results in your stories or your interpretations and meanings, and then what you might do is tell everybody you know, “That was the worst movie. Don’t see it.” So your stories, which come from your experience, then result in your actions or what you say and do.
EVOLVE VS. PUSH VS. TWIST
In a dating relationship it’s important to allow a relationship to evolve and be what it is, instead of trying to push it to happen faster, or twist the relationship (or partner) to be what you want it to be. I recommend taking the time to get to know who your partner really is, instead of focusing on your fantasies, hopes and dreams. Experience your experience, embrace “what is,” and stay in the now so you are gounded in reality about your partner and relationship.
TRIAD FOR CREATING LASTING LOVE
To effectively “experience your experience” I’ve found it helpful to stay conscious of three aspects of your experience-
Facts- usually a measureable event (“the sky is blue”)
Judgments- the meaning we make of the event (“the blue sky is pretty”)
Feelings- our emotions and sensations (warm, cold, happy, sad, etc.)
Often, what we human beings do, especially when we’re upset or excited, is we make judgments about something and try to make that be the fact-
“You make me so angry.” “You’re a jerk.” “I love you.” “War is hell.” “Ice cream is good.”
These are all judgments. You might feel so strongly about them that you believe them to be true. While they might be your personal truth at the time, they are not facts, no matter how strongly you believe them to be true.
It all starts with an event or stimulus. Something happens that gives us a certain experience.
Then, we react to our experience by making meaning of it and forming judgments.
Then, our judgments stimulate our emotions- mad, sad, glad, fear, shame.
And this all happens in the blink of an eye.
We can then react consciously or unconsciously. If we react unconsciously we will act out our feelings and judgments, whatever they are.
FINDING LASTING LOVE BY EXPERIENCING YOUR EXPERIENCE
Strive to stay grounded in the reality of what is and make your decisions based on reality, instead of trying to make the relationship be what you want it to be. It’s a fine line, because we do have a vision, we do have requirements, needs, and wants, and our agenda is to live that vision and get those requirements, needs, and wants met. But to find lasting love we must choose a partner that’s truly aligned with our needs and work with that partner in a reality-based way by experiencing our experience each and every day.