To be a better lover, we don’t need to have more nighttime partners or be better negotiators. We’ve just got to know how to talk to people in ways that relate us and matter to the heart. We’ve got to know when to take ourselves out of the race and when to remove ourselves from the heart of the story altogether.
Instead of thinking, “so-and-so has done this to me,” we’ve got to begin recognizing what we are actually doing to ourselves. Rather than use our thoughts to inflict pain, suspicion, and so much self-hatred, we’ve got to control our thoughts so they can calm us and help us collect ourselves.
If we are ever going to be better in love, we’ve got to be able to tell ourselves that “so-and-so did this because so-and-so thought that was best for themselves.”
As a breakup coach, I hear of so much heartbreak and disappointment. Interestingly enough though, I haven’t become bitter, paranoid, or even jaded about love. Helping others manage their own pain and discover the silver lining in their sob story has instead created in me an unshakable confidence about giving and receiving love in my own life. It’s got me more lucid.
Yesterday, for example, I suddenly realized that it was completely unnecessary and perhaps not even accurate to go on saying my last boyfriend was a sociopath. I mean, “a sociopath” is a pretty heavy duty follow-up to the common question, Tell me about who’ve dated. In fact, sociopathic labeling, aka name-calling, is burdensome even for me—the storyteller. It’s angry, accusatory, confusing, and irrelevant. To be totally frank, I really need to drop the victim story.
But don’t misunderstand me. Dropping the story is not about needing to reevaluate our judgment so our ex and our saga can be received and remembered in a more favorable, albeit naïve light. No, to fool ourselves is only ever a disservice to ourselves and the love we go on to create and claim in our future. This isn’t about having a prettier story to tell.
It’s about needing to drop our sob stories because, in the end, I believe we’ll discover that some of the smartest moves we ever made were the ones done less for the image of ourselves and those intimate to us and more, rather, for the very people we’ve come to meet along the way.
I’m talking about the strangers we share a bench with, the people we cross who pay attention long enough for us to catch our breath. We’ve got to remember that our journey in love also includes them.
Grace comes from protecting those people.
The people who we stumble upon and have no ties to, the people we may know for only a minute long. For me to gab about a charm-artist turned sociopath really only makes others more nervous than they already are about dating. And so, I’m letting that story go. I’m letting go because, while the diagnosis might comfort me, I don’t want to make anyone more suspicious about those they could potentially love and, if not love, than those who they can definitely learn from. Just as I have.
You see, we rub up against these realities all the time. These choices. We have a hand in determining the slant of our story. We have say in which stories will become us and which stories will simply pass through us. It all is up to us. And we spend our lives this way. We spend our lives moving through our stories.
As a breakup coach, I know firsthand the impact our narratives have on other people because I myself move through stories on a daily basis that are not even my own. And while, of course, the stories I hear are emotional and sometimes tortured, they have also been, more than anything, loving. Tremendously loving. Here’s a secret: My heart has raced while listening to every one. And every story has given me a real reason to love the person telling it.
Every story about one human heart grasping for another’s has left me aspiring to do a greater job at taking hold of the heart which is my own.
Stories based in the heart are stories of becoming. They are the stories whispering our great reveal. Stories which can inspire us all to become providers of clarity, to be upfront about our own aching blue life. These are stories we should not spare others or shy away from. They are the stories we should sacrifice our ego for, stories that the world would benefit from, that would bring us closer. They are the stories we can see ourselves in. And all we have to do is open up and share them.
If you’ve dated a sociopath or a cheat, do us all a favor, let that story go.
Focus on the lesson. Hang on to the meaning of that. Speak on that. As long as your intentions are pure and well-communicated, you have absolutely no reason not to love and be loved and let love in again and again and again. First, learn to trust and have faith in your own capacity to love. Then, remember, that every single person is wanting to speak to the very things which stem from their heart—more than you think they are, and definitely more than they even know. Go there. And when you go there, be there to listen and relate. They will thank you and so will your heart and so will the world.