Relationship Pillar #2: Eyes Open and Willing to See the Truth

Pillar #2 Eyes OpenIf we close our eyes it doesn’t mean the situation “magically” changes or doesn’t exist. We need to have our eyes open – Open and Willing to See “What Is” – for us to make changes that do not work for us. I have heard numerous times from people that some negative behavior in their mate just “suddenly” appeared out of the blue.

The reality is either:

  • They did not recognize or understand what they were experiencing in the other person. Or
  • They chose to ignore it with the hope of it going “away” over time; that it was just a “phase” in their relationship. Or
  • That they didn’t want to risk losing the relationship, or having to start over again with someone else.

However, the reality is that we must see what “is” and decide if it works for us, or if we can make reasonable and healthy changes that will be more productive and nourishing in the relationship. It takes both people to want this and to be willing and able to make the changes.

If the necessary change is about a person picking unhealthy people, then it has little to do with the other person. It is more about the choices a person makes in dating or marriage that continues to be unhealthy for them. Are we choosing that particular type of person because we need to be married? Or because that is what we think we will be able to “get”? If this is the case, then it is about our self-esteem not being healthy and choosing people who “match” our same degree of self-worth. If that is the case it would be helpful to consider seeking counseling to “update” your self-esteem to a more accurate view of Self. You may want to take a look at the Self-Esteem articles on this website if you have not done this already.

Another Important Reason We Don’t Keep Our Eyes Open (or Decide to Override What is Unhealthy):

Sometimes we are getting something from the person that fills a Hole inside us that we do not want to lose, and may have never had before. Keep your eyes open for these Examples of Holes:

  1. Never feeling so loved before as we do with this person. You would have to identify what you mean by “loved” to be very clear what you are really seeing: Is the person telling you what they think you want to hear, in order for them to be with you or to get what they want from you?
  2. The person makes you feel “physically safe” and that they would protect you in the world. However, make sure you are not choosing a typical “bad boy” who may protect you, but brings all of the unhealthy qualities that go along with this title. You cannot pick and choose what qualities you want to focus on with someone. You need to accept the whole person, not just some of the qualities. What can you be happy with, and what must you have in a person? You must take the whole person, not just “some” qualities.
  3. Feeling “financially secure” with this person when you have always had to worry about finances previously in your life. Again, you must consider the whole person and what qualities you will be living with on a daily basis.
  4. You feel this person “values” you and makes you feel worthwhile or “special”. You need to know if this is really how they feel. Or is it a ploy, because they can “read” what you need to have or feel in order for them to be with you. Have you ever been with someone who seemed to “drink” you in and was so “mesmerized” by what you were saying? Did this last in the relationship? Did they seem genuine to you in looking back?
  5. Sometimes we have a deep need to “fix” someone so we attract a “broken” person – someone who is significantly unhealthy. If we can “fix” that person it may make us feel more whole or healthy ourselves.
  6. Your biological clock is running out and you do not want to miss the chance to have children. You found a person who “really” wants children, or so they say. You have decided you do not want to have children on your own as a single person.

Last Thoughts:

The main point is – whether you choose to have your eyes open or not – the reality exists. There may be other “holes” inside you that are not listed here. If you have a “hole” inside, this makes you vulnerable. It can be a “beacon” that draws the wrong person, someone who will take advantage of you. They will read what you most need and act as if this is the real person in front of you. Keep your “eyes open” over time. Recognize what you are seeing and if you are unsure, ask your friends or seek professional assistance, especially if it is a pattern for you.

Action Items:

  1. Have you had experiences in the past where you recognize your eyes were closed? Did you know this in the moment? Did you choose to override what you were seeing?
  2. Do you recognize having a “hole” inside you? Does it affect your relationship choices?
  3. Do you believe you are attracting emotionally healthy people in your life? If not, take a look at your self-esteem. Do you see yourself as your best and healthy friends see you? If you see yourself in lesser way, this would be a good thing to explore with a professional.

Next Blog: Pillar # 3: Relationship Skills and Concepts

About Susan Saint-Welch

Susan Saint-Welch LMFT has counseled couples and individuals for many years on issues such as dating, marriage, family drama, coping with difficult times, improving self-image and living the life you love. She provides psychotherapy for clients in California and Couples and Life Coaching for clients outside California through secure video conferencing. She has published numerous articles regarding these issues on her website, on YourTango.com and on MSN.com.

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