I have for some time experienced myself as standing in the shadow of my partner, especially when it comes to particular expressions and applications of my partner in and through which I have seen him as being very effective. The words that I have identified in relation to this expression/application are: discipline, determination, consistency and focus. In investigating this point for myself I have come to see how I have felt intimidated by my partner’s effectiveness – meaning: the more I looked at him and saw how effective he was, the more intimidated I felt and the more I compared myself to him and found myself wanting/lacking that which I saw in him. And instead of then looking in common sense at what I could learn from him, how I could integrate the effectiveness of my partner into my own life/process, I did the following:
I retreated/gave up and started widening the gap within comparison between us, where the more effective I saw him as, the more ineffective I saw myself as. So when looking at how self-disciplined he is, I saw myself as not disciplined. I also looked at our lives before we started our agreement and within that found a ‘justifiable’ explanation – where I actually deceived myself into giving up, because of seeing how these expressions were 1) something that’s natural to my partner, it’s simply who he is and 2) that he had learned for example how to discipline himself growing up where I hadn’t.
So I made the conclusion in my mind as well as in conversations with my partner and others that “He’s so disciplined, he’s so consistent, he’s so focused, he’s so determined – it’s simply who he is. I on the other hand, I am NOT disciplined, it’s not something I learned growing up” (hence blaming it on others/my environment) – and “I’m simply not like that” (blaming myself, believing that there’s something fundamentally wrong/flawed with me). What I did with all of this information was that I subconsciously justified that “he’s like that and I am not.” Where I completely gave up on even learning from my partner. Because I was so intimidated by his effectiveness, seeing myself as sooooo far back that I would never possibly be able to become (like) him. And this is an important point because, as I’ve been looking at the point now, I’ve seen how I thought/believed that I was supposed to become my partner and be exactly like him – that that is what ‘discipline’ for example is, like he’s the epitome, perfection example of what the word disciplined means. And because I could see/understood that it was impossible for me to literally become my partner, I gave myself a justification to simply give up.
However – this also created a lot of conflict, both within myself, between myself and my partner as well as in my world. Because, there are obviously certain moments, certain points that benefit from or even require being directed through expressions/applications such as discipline, determination, consistency and focus.
But I simply gave up – in the face of my partner’s effectiveness; seeing that because he was so effective, I could never be that and then I gave up. So what I actually did was to create a dependency/leaning on my partner where I subconsciously decided that he was going to be/represent those applications/expressions in our life and agreement and that I would then take on/represent other points. But what that also meant was that I actually gave up on myself. Because in the end – although this process affects and has outflow consequences on our agreement practically, it’s not actually about my partner, but about myself in my own process.
And I can see how I’ve limited myself through perceiving myself as standing in the shadow of another, instead of looking at the words in the context of my own expression: how would I live determination? What is discipline to me? How can I effectively implement focus and consistency into my daily application? Because I cannot become my partner. It is physically impossible. I cannot express myself exactly like him, because we have had entirely different lives growing up and are different and unique within whom we are.
So the more I saw him through comparison, the more ineffective I actually became, especially when it came to projects we were collaborating on or in relation to our agreement. Interestingly enough, this point was not an issue when it came to responsibilities or tasks that I had already established my self-direction in that had nothing to do with my partner. In those tasks I trusted myself, in those tasks I lived discipline, determination, consistency and focus, some more than others. So what this shows is that the potential to live the words exist within me, I simply haven’t fully integrated them into the totality of my being as an absolute expression of who I am. They are conditioned to circumstances, to beliefs, to self-definitions and to ideas, which makes them unstable, volatile and not really fully grounded in my expression as who I am.
Through this self-fulfilling prophecy that I amplified through comparison where I conditioned myself more and more into seeing myself as less than my partner, the more ineffective I became. It became this struggle within me of seeing myself as “I am simply NOT like that!” and “SO how do I become that??” And the more I did this, the more I actually separated myself from my own grounding, from my own expression – from actually looking at and embracing these words in me/as me. Because when I live and express determination for example or consistency as a living expression of whom I am, it will be expressed through me based on who I am. It might be different from how my partner expresses or lives consistency or determination or it might be similar. But the point is that I have seen these words/applications/expressions as so intimidating because of how effective he was within and as it, thinking that the only way to live these words was to become exactly like him, and since I couldn’t do that – I retreated and gave up. I also created a resistance towards my partner at the same time as I admired him and placed him on a pedestal within my mind, which created conflict, both within me and in our communication.
What I hadn’t realized is that simply because I cannot live determination or consistency or focus EXACTLY as my partner, it doesn’t mean that I cannot learn from him. It doesn’t mean that his effectiveness is in any way overshadowing, suffocating or inhibiting a potential within me. Quite the contrary.
If we for example look at the fact that my life has been rather lacking of discipline and then the fact that this is something that my partner is very naturally effective within AND it is also something he’s been taught growing up, I have the perfect teacher, I have someone who’s really standing as an example of what it means to live discipline effectively – which gives me the opportunity and the potential gift to learn from him and to develop discipline within myself as an expression of myself. Here it is not about assuming my partner’s expression to the T, again as though I have to become him.
No – instead it is about looking at: what is discipline? What does it mean to apply/express discipline? How does he practically go about it? Did he learn any techniques or tools growing up that I could learn from? Has he any insights about how to apply self-discipline that I could learn from? And then from there, it is about me then taking that and applying it in my own life, in my own process, within my own expression. And Maybe I won’t live discipline the exact same way my partner does and maybe he can then actually learn something from me, because I’ve not grown up with it, it’s not something natural for me, so I’m walking this process for the first time, creating/recreating and integrating this word for myself as a living word.
So maybe I will live or open up dimensions of the word that my partner hadn’t considered and maybe that will assist him to expand himself in relation to how he lives the word. So this is the solution and correction process I will be walking for myself, where I will be investigating and exploring the living application of the words that I see that my partner lives effectively for myself, so that I can integrate them into myself/my life/my process, not in a comparison to my partner on in the shadow of him, but rather inspired by him, through learning from his example which is a cool example of what it means to live these words.
I realize that this pattern – which is actually a pattern of self-sabotage and self-limitation is one that I have lived, not only in relation to my partner but also in relation to other people in my life. And I see how we as human beings through such patterns will limit ourselves to certain specific skills/expressions within being intimidated by the effectiveness of others – when we actually could have learned and expanded ourselves through seeing the effectiveness of other’s expressions as gifts and opportunities. We tend to glorify and place people on pedestals and see them almost with a godly fear and us as standing in their shadows. We then let them lead and accept that they embody these expressions and we don’t when that is absolutely unnecessary and in fact something that limits all of us. The solution is thus for each to learn from one another, but to also come back to the grounding within one’s own expression of asking the simple question: How can I live this word? How can I integrate this word into my life? Instead of thinking “I wish I was like them” or “They are so amazing, why can’t I be like that” or “I will never be like them” – which are all statements of self-limitation, self-sabotage and in fact: self-dishonesty. Because if there is one thing we have established in this process it is that the potential of life exists within each of us. Words are not limited or finite or exclusive to certain people. It is not like there are only so many skills to go around or that only one person can embody a certain expression leaving others lacking that expression. It is not like simply because someone expresses something more effectively than I do at this point in time, that this expression is entirely impossible for me to live in/as myself.
And so the solution here is to ground oneself in practicality, exactly as one would learn any skill or expand oneself to express oneself in a new way: through practice, through learning from the examples of others, through defining for oneself what a word means in effective application, through actually living it – where it is not about seeing myself as a finite sum of certain skills of expressions that can never change or be expanded upon, but to realize that I create myself in every moment. There is thus no excuse or limitation to me expanding myself, especially when it comes to expressions and applications that will support me to live what is best for me, my utmost potential, and so best for all.
In the next post I will walk Self-Forgiveness on the reactions I have created towards my partner and how I have limited myself in comparing myself to my partner, so that I can prepare the way before myself to stand on my own two feet in discovering, exploring and living the words determination, consistency and discipline and focus.
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