Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's No. 2 executive, a remarkably successful wife, mother and soon to be multi-billionaire, has this advice for women: “The most important career choice you'll make is who you marry.” The person you marry will encourage your strengths and your growth, or will hold you back.
When I work with people who are addicted to getting into relationships, and who are miserable until they are in the next one, or at least have a prospect on the horizon, I ask them to create their bottom-line. What is the essential thing that must be there, what is the bottom line of getting into a relationship? What is your bottom-line consideration? If the other person doesn’t meet at least this bottom-line, it cannot begin to be considered an equal relationship that will later on express itself in equality on many levels. “Beholding” you does not mean the other worships and adore you. A prince or princess gets old quickly.
Many people have to “dry out” from being in relationships to even begin to want to be “beheld” or to begin to know what it means. That bottom line is this. Does the other person “behold” you? Are you “beheld” by the other person? Do they realize who are you? Do they see YOU? Do they know YOU? Do they realize WHO you are? From there we move to all of the questions that can be asked. How does a person behave who “beholds” you? How do they show appreciation and consideration and some “awe” for you in very simple, down-to-earth telling ways? How do they get inside your head and know you and what you’re like? Just how tuned in to you are they as opposed to how oblivious? You really already know, don’t you?
When you ask these questions, your gut knows how much another person can be interested in you over and against how much they will likely be much more interested in themselves. Ask your gut and listen to what it says. It will tell you very quickly if you are crossing your bottom-line. It will also know when feigned interest is just the attempt to “win” you for the challenge of getting you and then moving on with their own life.
I have had clients go and on about a new person they met. After awhile I stop and ask them, “How did Mr. Wonderful behold you? Were you beheld by him? Tell me how.” It is often like watching a fish out of water climb back into their own ocean – they start to breathe again and they stop “selling” me. And more importantly, they stop selling themselves a bill of goods, for the sake of finally finding someone.
Sometimes they even tell me that he is so committed and passionate and full of conviction and I ask them, “Is it about you?” Most of the time the passionate ones have causes. Do you want a woman with a cause or do you want to be her passion? The one who can “behold” you will best fill their passion in life and you will never feel that you are in the way.
If you have decided that their passion is greater than you, it will be, and you will be in the way. You will come to know that and it is you who will have to accommodate the passion, no matter how elegant or necessary the cause may be. If you want to do that, do it with your eyes wide open. My own personal recommendation is that you just be really, really good friends, put your track shoes on, and run in your own direction. If you do, the one who will behold you WILL FIND YOU. You will likely be re-tying your shoes, ready to run on, and he will be in your way, but he will behold you and you will know it. Be beheld and don’t be satisfied until you are or you are selling out.
The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry. Just realize that the first person you will marry is yourself. Your own union with you, the union of your Mind with your “you” is the first marriage. Dependent upon your relationship to spirituality, you may make the unitive experience with yourself a spiritual journey and Mind as a force that is you and greater than you. That is a matter of choice, experience and personal culture. It is a profound marriage, this relationship that you have with your Mind and you. It does not have to be turned into a religion, but if that helps, go for it.
I think we can make a step in that journey very easy. It is not the whole banana but it gets the skin off and gets us to where the fruit is. It is you knowing your strengths and being married to them. Your strengths are first for you to know and to live for yourself in relationship to yourself. Behold yourself by beholding your strengths. Then make sure that those you love know your strengths and make very sure that the one you marry on the outside beholds these strengths and is committed to supporting you in growing your own strengths, as they are committed to growing their own.
That is a great place for love to start and an even greater way for love to ripen and age.
Know, behold, and support the growth of the other’s strengths as much as you do your own, but always start from the place of doing it for yourself. What love! Such a journey never grows old in the respect and “beholding” of the strengths of another. There will never be the desire to cheat on this “other,” never a waning of expanding sexual pleasure. Discovery never ends, and two people can grow in union as much as we can grow in union with our own selves.
CONTINUING EDUCATION FOR COACHES
1) How have you deepened your connection to your strengths since your initial ANI coach training? What new insights into your strengths have been most significant? How have you used these new insights in your personal work, your work with clients, and your work with your group? Give us several specific examples.
2) This blog discusses creating a relationship “bottom-line.” As a result of knowing and using your strengths, what “bottom-lines” have you developed relative to the relationships in your life? With others? With yourself? How have your strengths guided you to create and maintain these personal agreements? Tell us your story.
FOR OUR LARGER BLOG COMMUNITY
1) Log on to www.authentichappines.org and take the VIA Signature Strengths Test. With these results, what new insights do you have regarding these strengths as “the real you?” Tell us what your top strengths are and how you have seen them play out in how you see yourself as well as your significant relationships.