In today’s economy there’s a lot of worry about money. I work in the media and much of the work I do is freelance. In this line of work, one can experience financial highs and uncomfortable lows – really uncomfortable. When a dry spell hits, it can cause many a sleepless night. But when this happens, my concentration focuses like a laser beam. I put myself out there, network like crazy, and when I land the gig, I’m grateful.
But worries about romantic relationships….they’re a different kind of worry. These worries drain me. A friend of mine who is in her twenties explained that when a major argument erupts between her and her fiancé, it affects every area of her life. She plays the upsetting scenes over and over again in her mind. The emotional toll creeps in, affecting her studies, her work, her sleep, and even her friendships. I think many women can relate to this. It’s even worse when you want to resolve the issue but your partner isn’t ready to do so yet. He withdraws, and you’re alone with your thoughts and sometimes fragile emotions. These worries steal away the joy of living because they follow us around all day like a dark, menacing shadow. At night they hover at the foot of your bed waiting to rob us of sleep. What’s worse is that without thinking, we throw away every precious twenty-four hours that come our way.
But here’s a question: Could we possibly find some semblance of inner peace and wholeness by letting go of some control and allow our partners to be who they are? Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Committed believes that when we fall in love, we fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. I guess that makes sense. Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the difficult part. The difficult part is this: Can we accept their faults? Can we look at our partner’s flaws and misgivings honestly and say, “I can accept this. Yes, I can work with this.”? Because the good things that we cherish will always be there – but it’s the dirt underneath that can really cause us misery. And I’m not talking about abuse here. Nor am I talking about infidelity or deal-breaking boundaries. No one should ever tolerate such things. Some differences between couples are significant, other not so much. Gilbert offers some wise advice here. She believes you can attain peace in these moments thorough learning how to accommodate your life as liberally as possible around a basically decent human being who can sometimes be perceived as a pain in the ass. (I fully realize we have our own faults and pain-in-the-ass moments, too. That’s just a given.) What Gilbert’s getting at here is about freeing ourselves up from some heartache that needn’t have to happen.
Maybe creating a large enough space within our awareness to hold and accept our partner’s contradictions – their absurdities, even – is kind of a divine act. Perhaps our hearts can be spared and transcendence be found through the simple acts of acceptance and letting go. We’re talking about our own peace here. To find peace, sometimes we need to Let Go.