Here’s another topic from our Couples Retreat.
How do I know, deep down, that I’m a good person?
Implementing my answer has become a source of strength and satisfaction. The answer has to do with core values. Values I use to guide my interactions, and actions.
Why do we believe all family is optional?
By leaving ourselves free to take no-action, we avoid a habit of manufacturing drama, and victimhood, to justify our opinions.
The habit of victimhood is easiest to see in others, but it lives in me.
Living this value takes the pressure off. It’s a whole lot easier to avoid unhappiness than be happy.
Put plainly => there’s no need to manufacture a “slight” to take a break.
Look beyond the slight.
Look inside and you might find unresolved grief, pain from your childhood or other trauma.
Maybe it’s simply a bad habit, of keeping little bits of pain alive.
By making “all family optional” we create space.
Breathing room spreads across our lives – especially when combined with a habit I wrote about last Friday. Letting other people make mistakes.
This could lead to forgiveness, or not. Perhaps, we start by deciding to stop recycling pain by telling stories about “how we were wronged”. Let it go.
To break the chain, we give everyone the right to opt out.
I’m grateful I gave myself permission to opt out.
We’re out, we are free!
To enjoy our freedom, we need to make positive contributions.
I’m a bit money-centric, so my first stop is personal cash flow. Easy to measure, so always given too much weight!
Pay my own way => helpful, but not sufficient.
I had my cash flow sorted by the time I was 21, yet my personal life remained cluttered.
Eventually, I realized too much freedom was a very bad idea. My choice was to embrace the challenge of creating an enviable marriage and household.
The choice to make continuous contributions is a good one => especially when you consider what is likely to happen with the inverse.
It takes time to see what happens when a spouse opts out of their family. The slow-burn bitterness, building to the point where someone burns the family structure to the ground.
Even if everything seemed fine…. Would opting out be winning?
Remember, I’m seeking to know, deep down, I am a good person.
So this freedom-to-opt-out takes the pressure off and lets me have a look around.
I’m not bitter. I’m not filled with resentment.
What do I see?
In my case, I see the wisdom of becoming the sort of person who helps others when he doesn’t need to.
Keep coming back to this.
Shed the drama, talk like everyone is in the room, get back to work.
By not binding ourselves together, all interactions become gifts.