I need you to do something for yourself.
Grab a piece of paper or your phone.
List 3 - 5 life goals you hold for yourself.
They can include landing your dream job, having kids, living in happiness, having a home in a different country, teaching somebody to read, etc.
This is your life.
You are the maker of each chapter.
Pick things that fill you up.
Things that bring you joy.
Now, have you accomplished any of the things on your list?
If so, internet high five.
If you haven't, it isn't too late.
Are you currently working on ways to obtain them or are they off in space waiting to be acknowledged?
Do you know you are capable of more than you think in this moment?
Accomplishments often seem so far out of our current realm, they usually don't hold space in our day to day activities.
We don't spend time finding ways to catapult our dreams into reality.
We sometimes just expect them to show up.
But you are in charge of them.
Are you putting in the time?
Be honest with yourself.
What could you be doing today, or tomorrow to help you bridge the gap between your current reality and your dreams?
While I am not comfortable sharing all of mine or Keith's most vulnerable parts of ourselves (shocker, I know) I will share one that we both hold in high regard.
Use it as a bit of a guide to help you explore your thoughts more.
To find ways in which you can be reaching further.
The dream we both share is simply to stay married.
Now, that's not to say there would never be a circumstance that could change this.
But for now, we both hold this sacred.
Marriage is hard.
Like really hard.
I think a lot of us can agree on that.
You may feel insufficient at times and superior in others.
At times you may feel crazy and fully understood in the next moment.
Maybe you feel undesirable one day (especially when you get turned down, am I right?! Oh come on, like it's never happened to you. Get real.) or you may feel like the most beautiful thing in one another's lives.
You will question why the hell you married each other when you don't agree on something that seems so important to one person but not the other. & the next day your views may be divided and you understand why and are okay with it.
See what I'm doing here?
We all have these thoughts.
Am I doing this right?
Am I fulfilling my spouses' needs physically, emotionally, mentally & spiritually?
Do I speak their love language to them often enough?
Am I doing all that I can to be the best version of a partner I can be?
If you aren't thinking these things, have you already given up?
Are you just comfortable in the mundane chaos of it all?
Don't get so comfortable in your life that you aren't actively trying to make it the best it can be.
The way you desire it to be.
Well...I'm sure glad you asked.
While Keith and I were at Mayo we had to sit in front of about 20 other couples and express ourselves.
Spill our souls all over the table for everybody to see.
& let me tell you, every part of it was fucking magic.
As part of the healing process, they bring families into a safe zone (with others going through similar situations) to let all the bad energy spill out.
We did an exercise where we went around the room and spoke our truths to one another in front of our peers.
It was raw, vulnerable, uncomfortable.
Here are the statements we had to make to one another:
I like it when you...
I don't like it when you...
I want you to do more of...
I need you to stop...
I feel loved when you...
I feel hurt when you...
When I look at these questions, I think of how easy they are for us to answer now.
But there was a time when they were not.
We held our tongues.
Didn't express our needs.
& felt isolated.
Then this exercise happened.
And a whole new world opened up.
The raw, vulnerable emotion between all of us in the room that day was incredible.
You could visibly see pain exiting the body, shoulders softening, tears streaming and brand new connections being made.
I'm so thankful for that day and the people I shared the room with.
There was something so powerful about doing it as a group and seeing that others feel the way you do.
Anyway, the point I want to make is that you should ALWAYS be working on your life goals.
Always. Always. Always.
So while Keith and I are in a good place, we are still always working on it.
Don't be so late to the game that it's too late for you.
We have weekly check-ins where we talk about things that didn't go right and things that did.
We both keep lists of things the other person likes as a reminder to do them.
Example : Keith loves when he doesn't have to help me make the bed after I wash the sheets on Saturday's. While I don't always succeed, I know that it is a simple way that I can show my love to him. & the joy on his face is usually worth it.
They don't have to be hard to reach, material things.
They can be simple.
I like it when he opens the curtains in the living room if he wakes up before me. When I come downstairs, the sunbeams are already visible and it's a little piece of joy I carry around all day.
You could go to therapy.
You could start a date night. Date night doesn't always have to include going out. Kids? Get a sitter, or grandma, or trade nights with some friends. Date night can be an hour. But make it an obligation and stick to it.
Answer the questions we did at Mayo to jumpstart your communicaiton.
Express how certain situations make you feel.
Like everything, it will feel uncomfortable at first.
But it becomes natural with time.
While this is just one goal that we are currently nurturing, there are many more in our arsenal.
I hope you have them too.
Don't forget to make room in your everyday to nurture your life goals.
Don't forget about them.
Don't just expect that they will show up out of thin air.
You have to give them energy to get energy back.
Show up for them.
Show up for yourself.