On the way to my haircut last week, I listened to a Bulletproof Radio Interview with Neil Strauss, who attracted me right away because he sounded so happy and sweet. The most compelling thing about this interview was the substance in a book Strauss wrote recently on relationships, a subject that absolutely fascinates me.
This interview about Strauss’ The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships, and the ensuing conversation with my hair stylist Michelle White from Beautiful People Salon, reminded of the most important and simple truths that all boil down to a couple of things. But instead of just saying them like I usually do, I’ll tell you the lead up to what got me excited about the topic.
At the salon, of course we were talking about my hair. I was thinking about recent pictures of myself taken when I thought my hair was good, but the pictures disappointed me. I rarely think there is a good picture of me. It might be that my hair is too flat, or my nose looks too big, or I look too old. Since my boyfriend is almost 10 years younger than me, I have been uncomfortably conscious of signs of aging on my body. Michelle is working with a new skin care line so I had to pick apart my skin too. I saw what I was doing and said, “Oh but it’s just a facade anyway, isn’t it? What really makes us beautiful is our happiness, right?”
So creating happiness becomes the new focus, which is a lot more fun than worrying about the temporary physical state of things.
ACCEPTING THE TRUTH
During the radio interview, Strauss gave some simple ideas for working in a relationship, and they all revolve around this concept. He became excited about conflict in a relationship because this is where we grow and learn about ourselves! The success is in how quickly we can move through and out of the conflict happily.
Strauss believes that the first year of a relationship isn’t even a relationship yet because we are just living with our illusions of who we want or think that person is. Then when we realize who that person is, we start to find things that should be different about them because they don’t fit into our illusion, so we want to change them. His perfect line was “any shit in a relationship is our own shit”. And I know after experiencing too many relationships in my life, that is TRUTH. He suggests in these situations, we first must lose any attachment to changing them, accept that person as they are, and not judge them because it will only go the opposite way for us.
Another beautiful quote was, “If we start to react to something, we WILL be wrong” because we regress to being like a child, can’t think clearly, and are triggered by a wound in us.
If our loved one is reacting, the last thing that is helpful would be to react along with them. We can ask if they would like advice, or to just be listened to, or have some physical attention, or for us to go away.
Dave Asprey, the founder of Bulletproof, (bless his entertaining, fanatic heart) asked, “What are the three most important things to loving well?” Here are the answers:
#1 To love ourself – This is a lifelong journey for most people and deserves much time, study, and devotion. We can only love others to the degree that we love ourselves!
#2 Accept your beloved
#3 Be present to him or her completely
So happiness is about loving as fully as we can, ourselves, others, and life. What does this have to do with holistic health? About 98% of it, give or take. But enjoy the messy, wild journey and I hope to see you there!