Step 1, catalog the excuse.
This isn’t an excuse, but it is definitely something that has held me back in my life.
I have always avoided conflict, but I have no idea why. I had a great childhood and nobody really let me down. Strangely I think for me it is another side of my inherent laziness. On top of all of the other forms of laziness I have had, I am apparently also emotionally lazy. I am the emotional equivalent of an electric charge finding the path of least resistance.
The problem is that when I do this I don’t “Begin with the End in Mind”. (I have the seven habits on mp3, and I did get through the first 2, but I still have the last 5 to listen to… oh god that sounds pathetic I am so lazy I haven’t even listened to audio files of the seven habits of highly effective people-and I think I have the abridged version).
I think if I began with the end in mind, I would see a totally different emotional path to take that would be the path of least resistance getting from the beginning to the end.
The obstacle that this has most notably been connected to is the conflict avoidance of ending my marriage.
Here it has been 2 years that I have been on THIS SITE talking about living my life. It has been a lot longer that I have been trying to do that. My marriage has been a massive obstacle to achieving this. MASSIVE. I have done 1000 things to solve the problems, but nothing has worked, and I have known for a long time that only one thing will work and that is ending my marriage and moving on. Every time I try to take this action, I get sucked back into the marriage thinking this time it will be different and each time it isn’t. I even know that this pattern will happen before it does. I end up getting half way out the door, dealing with brutal levels of stress and conflict and then, after setting my new course, arranging all of the emotional, physical and logistic solutions to achieve what I need, I allow myself to be convinced that going back will be the right decision. After all, shouldn’t I give it one more chance, shouldn’t I try as many times as I have to for my family…
Step 2, develop solutions
A) Listen again to the section on ‘Begin with the End in Mind’ Thank you Stephen J.
Determine exactly what I want the end to be and then develop a plan to achieve that end. The end will have to be concrete, a place and a time. I have a tremendous amount of support for this. I know and love the fact that there are some awesome people there to support me through this if I need them. I do know as well that this is a personal journey and I need to take it.
There is a song that I love, called ‘Falling Slowly’ by the Frames. It is beautiful. When I heard the chorus for the first 100 times or so, I related it to my wife. The suffering and battling with herself, the requests that I have made so often for her to change her behavior to be much less destructive, that we still had time if she could. A year or so ago, I told her we were out of time, and I know we are. Some things are done and can’t be undone. Our relationship is one of them. That is why the lyrics to this song made me so sad, it was for other relationships, ones that still had time. I heard this song on the radio as I was driving back from my Grandma’s 100th birthday in Oregon last weekend and I realized that the song wasn’t for Michelle, it was for me.
Take this sinking boat and point it home
We’ve still got time, raise your hopeful voice
You had the choice, you’ve made it now
The sinking boat is our marriage, but we shouldn’t be turning it back out to sea to try again, we should be taking it back to shore so we can both start again. We still have time to live. I had the choice all along, but I have made it now.
I realized that I have suffered enough and warred with myself and it is time that I won. I had never thought of myself as having suffered, but I have. I still have time, I have a choice.
I need to remind myself that this emotional laziness is identical to my past physical laziness. Identical. The only solution is to set a reasonable goal (timeline and measurement) and develop a plan to achieve this goal. That is my next step.