What’s My Part? (aka Homework for Tova)

My friend and Shabbos host laid it down tonight after Havdalah.  She won’t let me be the victim to past relationships, and I appreciate that, because I don’t want to be the victim.

Moving forward I want something different, and to get something different I know I have to do something different, be something different.  My friend is a social worker, highly intuitive, mama bear, generous, emotionally intelligent, practical, relationally successful… wait, I’m on a love-list for this person and that’s not the point of this blog.

She laid out my tasks tonight.  I wrote it on a yellow legal pad.  What is your part, Rina Miriam? (She is one of few who include my middle name.) What got you into this?  What makes you keep accepting this?  What is your plan to make it different?

Here’s my work.  This work terrifies me, because I’m scared of the truth (as much as I love it).  But the truth always sets us free (cliches are true), and these truths are awesome, practical guidelines for me in relationships moving forward.

What Got Me Into This?  What Kept Me In This?

  1. Getting wrapped up in a fantasy and possibility rather than the reality.
  2. Ignoring my body warnings.
  3. Hiding/lying about my feelings and thoughts for the sake of “peace.”
  4. Loyalty to “marriage” above my own needs.
  5. Stamina and high tolerance for pain. Hope for things to get better naturally, the delusion that things will magically get better or with time get better.
  6. Not stating my wants. Not knowing my wants.
  7. Lowering my standards for physical intimacy before marriage.
  8. Not listening to wise people in my life.
  9. His confidence.
  10. Hiding from myself and not facing my own accountability or responsibility to fulfill my greatest potential. I wanted to help a man make something of himself.  Co-dependence.  I was willing to sacrifice for a big dream.
  11. I was scared to rock the boat, didn’t communicate problems, for fear of rocking the boat, creating more problems.  No confidence to solve problems.

Action Plan (correlates with numbers above):

  1. I will face the reality of the man and his present situation.  I will choose someone who I respect and admire for his present situation and what he is giving me at present.
  2. I will listen to my body.
  3. I will be honest and open and quick to speak my feelings.  (I will try not to brood on it or analyze it for months and years after the fact before speaking. I will address it in the moment if at all possible.)
  4. I will not put marriage above my own needs.  I will be loyal to myself first.
  5. I will make efforts to alleviate pain and make things easier on myself.  I will not accept endless discomfort just because I am strong.  I will ask myself, what would make this less painful? and answer it and take steps toward a solution.
  6. I will ask myself what I want, I will write down what I want, I will state what I want honestly and openly.  I will expect my wants to be honored.  I will honor my wants. (Needs a separate list.)
  7. I will be shomer negia and build a strong emotional connection/communication and not let physical closeness cloud my judgment.
  8. I will accept the wisdom and guidance of my rabbi, family, and close friends.
  9. I will listen to myself and look for ways to build my own confidence and self-security.  (Needs a separate list.)
  10. I will focus on accomplishing my own dreams.  I will support someone with my whole heart because that is my nature, but I will not put my dreams or life mission on a shelf for anyone else’s or use their dreams to avoid my own personal responsibility to the world.  I will ask myself what my dreams are and take steps toward them.  (Needs a separate list.)
  11. I will rock the boat.  I will not be afraid of communication or confrontation.  I will remember that peace isn’t peace unless there is a little war first.  Kindly, firmly, honestly, respectfully, eye-to-eye.  I will choose someone who validates my emotions, takes responsibility for his part, communicates problems lovingly with the intention of resolving them.

I’m sharing these lists, because I’m normal and these are normal mistakes people/women make in relationships. Maybe my lists will help you. I’m sharing these lists to publicly say No Way, No More, Not Again. Personal accountability. Shining the light on dark places. Hope for a better future.  Make Rina great again. Sorry, started to sound too presidential.  But I mean it.

What would your lists say?

Good Mo-ed and Shavua Tov everyone!



yellow legal