Category Archives: relationships

The Counter-Intuitiveness of Choice

“She can’t do that…”

“He has to understand that…”

“He can’t say that…”

“She has to change that…”

We’ve all uttered these sentiments, or something in a similar vein, at one time or another. Perhaps we say them as a longing for connection, a desire to be understood, a hope for validation or a plea for respect. We think we are making reasonable requests, yet toward the end goal of getting the other to change, we make demands of his or her behavior.

Simply put, this does not work.

In fact, in hopes of creating the relationship we want with others, we can actually forfeit the relationship with ourself. When we require of others, we handcuff ourselves to their actions rather than choosing for ourselves how to best navigate a situation. We describe all the ways in which we need him or her to behave so that we are ok rather than choosing ways to be more ok ourselves. And therefore, we limit our choices by limiting ourselves.

In no way is this an excuse to stay in unhealthy relationships, rather a call to empowerment in what you can and cannot choose. You can choose what is ok with you and what is not, you can choose how to respond, you can choose how much space and slack is in a relationship. However, you cannot choose what others say to you, how others view you or what they do.

Perhaps this feels unfair, annoying, hopeless or simply wrong. And to some degree it may absolutely be those things. It may drain and exhaust you to choose to bow out, overlook or move on. Yet this is the only way to live un-handcuffed. Grab hold of the counter-intuitive idea that you get the choice only in how to respond and not in how others show up. And grab hold of the great freedom this actually is.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

For more information, contact Lindsay today.


Who Said It’s Supposed to be Easy?

One of the biggest lies our culture tells us is that love, if it’s “right,” should be easy. We see Facebook quizzes and online articles reporting specific ways of knowing and promoting easy love. We scan celebrity Instagrams and friends’ Snapchats, all highlighting this “right” sort of love, making it look easy while vacationing or enjoying perfect dinners out.

However. Love is never easy because relationships are never easy. Parent/child, friends, romantic, and professional, none of these relationships present themselves as free from conflict, disagreement, mismatched priorities and generally some form of rupture. Over and over again, love experiences rupture and repair. And needless to say, we generally dislike rupture.

It’s the repair piece that most of us aren’t willing to stay around for and work out.

Steadfast love is what most of us dream about. We long for the one who will overlook our rupture tendencies while he or she never has cause to rupture because of his or her love for us. Obviously if it is “right” we will never have conflicting wants and our other will happily bow out. Two growing and changing people will never find peace in this quest. They must learn and practice repair on a daily basis.

What if instead of avoiding rupture, we aim to be the kind of partners, parents, friends and colleagues who learn to healthily and effectively navigate them? What if we allow our other freedom and offer encouragement while we endure alongside? This is not an invitation to becoming a doormat, rather an invitation to live in relationships that fully experience how to be “right” by learning how to get it wrong and allowing others the same space.

Written by Lindsay Williams, MA, LPC.

To discuss your relationships and gain new repair skills, contact Lindsay today.