Have you been struggling, and trying to make your relationship work, and then you start to see some improvement, and then all of a sudden, it feels like the bottom falls out?
It might feel like you are in a worse place than you were before because now it’s like you’re heart is out there, you took the risk, you extended the olive branch, you did your best, you meant no harm…
And you feel like it’s all gone to crap.
Do you feel like giving up?
A good intention that landed the wrong way.
A trigger from a time long ago that maybe you had nothing to do with.
For just a moment there, you were closer than ever with your mate? And the taste of it felt so good you even dared to hope?
And now you are miles apart again.
Perhaps you want to throw in the towel.
If you’re working on this together, you question why you even bothered in the first place.
You got slammed back into your old pattern where you feel frustrated, constricted, not seen or heard, where your truth is like a tiny grain of sand that you can’t even pick up much less express.
This is what Gay Hendricks in his incredible book The Big Leap was talking about with his concept of upper limits. An upper limit is basically that glass ceiling we all press up against when things start getting too good, too easy, too joyful…
We reach a point where something inside of us says, “that’s TOO much,” and things start to crumble back into a homeostatic set point.
The truth is that the set point is malleable, it just takes effort to change it.
I’ve got news of you:
If you’re working on your relationship and feel yourself sliding back into old patterns, and maybe it feels even WORSE than before because stakes are higher and you’ve actually shed some layer of protection, I’m here to tell you: It’s normal.
Although I’d love to say that the road from relationship distress to bliss was a linear one, I’d be lying to if you if I did.
I’d love to tell you that all the couples I’ve worked with have gone from straight from brink-of-divorce to head-over-heels-crazy-about-each-other without any detours or testers of faith along the way, but I’d be lying to you if I did.
I’d also love to tell you that life was always perfect. You and I both know, I’d be lying to you if I did.
What I can tell you is this:
It often feels harder before it gets easier.
It can be easy to start something, like a diet or a job or a business or working on your relationship.
But when you’re in the thick of it, working at it, taking risks and not always seeing the results you thought you would WHEN you would, it can feel harder than ever.
When things start to actually get better and then you hit that ceiling, that “upper limit” that tries to push you back in old ways, you may want to give up.
And when you thought you were beginning to see the light (seeing rainbows in your wine) and then you start to doubt that ever even happened, you may wish to turn around all together.
These times, however, when you want to give up, are the very times that you need to surrender to the process of what you’ve committed to: reaching each other. Then, you’ll start to reach each other.
I know, it takes two to tango, and you can’t force someone to change.
The most you can do is keep your commitment to reaching yourself – to digging down and grabbing that grain of sand and getting to know it so well that it becomes the span of the longest beach you know.
Then you can show that gorgeous stretch of land to your partner and it will encourage the same behavior in return.
The results may not be a happily-ever-after-together, but they will be your clarity and truth, and therefore, freedom.
Your love knows no upper limits.
Do yourself a favor and surrender to it.
Let your thoughts and ego and pride and fears and all the rest fall to the wayside.
The rest will take care of itself.