I have a client who texted me this morning saying she needed to talk. Being that I hadn’t heard from her in awhile because she was in a new relationship and because I new she was moving to be with the man she loved and that she was having a Birthday coming up, I knew something was up. In fact, I knew something would be up when she met the man with whom she is in the relationship.
She kept asking me, “Is he the right one?” I resisted the answer because it wasn’t my place and then finally I responded in this way, “yes and no.” I went on to say, “No, he is not the man who will satisfy the person you are working on becoming, but he will help you get there by bringing up all your issues that are blocking you from having that man. In the process of you working on your issues because this relationship will bring them up, in turn it will bring up issues for him that he has suppressed, hidden or is not aware of. If he chooses to work on his as well, then you two just might live happily ever after. But if he chooses or for whatever reason doesn’t work in the process, then you will feel the need to move on.”
As I suspected, as much as she respects my opinion and often follows it, when it comes to what we think is “love,” I have come to learn that it is not only blind, as the old adage says, it is also deaf and “dumb,” pun intended.
When I called my client after receiving her text, the first thing I said to her before saying hello was, “Birthdays and Holidays amongst other things have a wonderful way of bringing up our shoulds and shouldn’ts, our wounds and issues from childhood up until the present… what happened?”
She went on to tell me all the things he did “wrong.” And on the onset, I think most people would agree, he totally blew it. And on some level, maybe he did. Just a few of his Birthday faux pas would include not making dinner reservations but inviting guests over and making her cook, not getting her a cake, not getting her flowers, and not getting her a gift. Ouch.
As one might expect, this lead to an argument and some really hurt feelings to the point that they both thought the relationship was not going to make it. When she was done ranting, I asked her three simple questions. The first being, how did this make you feel? To which she responded, “It was my special day and I wasn’t treated special.” And then I asked her, was there anything special about the day? Her answer was “No, it was just like any other day.” And finally I asked her, how this made him feel and she said, “He said that he didn’t think he would ever be able to do anything right by her and feels like he could never make her happy.”
After her responses, I paused, for a long time until she said, “Yes?” And then I asked her if she wanted me to help her or if she wanted me to agree with her. And she said she wanted my honest perspective.
And so I told her what I told her when she met this man, as I mentioned above. Then I told her, that he might have done everything wrong and that I could understand how she felt. I went on to tell her that since he wasn’t asking for my help, that I couldn’t help him change, or grow, but that since she was, that was all I was going to focus on during the rest of this conversation.
And then I said something to this effect. I told her how I knew she lived in a shabby apartment struggling with money for many years. I reminded her how she has struggled to pay her apartment and expenses on occasion. I reminded her that one of her biggest complaint was that she didn’t have a partner and that she has spent too many Birthdays without a real boyfriend.
The scenario which I am about to unfold, couldn’t be more perfect for an example, not only for her but for so many of us looking to find happiness. In her case, and like so many of us, she had more than she ever bargained for, but because it didn’t look like flowers, or a cake or it wasn’t wrapped in a box, as she was used to seeing the “gifts,” she just couldn’t see it.
Since her man lived out of town, and she was out of money for the month already, being that he wanted to spend his Birthday with her, he paid for her ticket to visit. When she arrived, she found that he had qualified and been able to rent a brand new beautiful home in an expensive part of the city over looking the rest of the city which was to be her new home with her new man. Her man had never spent this much money on a place before and knowing she wouldn’t be able to contribute just yet, footed the first and last months rent, and security deposit, which in that neighborhood, is in the tens of thousands of dollars. He did this because he believed in their relationship, though it was only a few months old, and did this so they could live together in a beautiful place that she had always dreamt of living in.
The morning of her Birthday, for the first time in years, my client woke up next to a man who wanted to get to know her more and potentially live the rest of his life with her and who loved her as best he knew how. She literally woke up to the sun shining through her bedroom window from a mountain range just outside her window, as opposed to the looking through her window into her neighbor’s window three feet away. Upon getting up, she walked from one end of the home to the other to see the view overlooking the city below.
Being that her Birthday was a week day, her man needed to work, and circumstances being as they were, he had to work more than he wanted to and that cut into their time in the evening together. Not taking into consideration that besides it being her Birthday, it was also her man’s first day in the new place and in the new relationship. With the prospect of living with a woman after having been hurt so many times in the past, and with the prospect of just having signed a lease for a year expending more money than ever dreamed of spending on a place, and with the fact that he was still not moved in yet, and with all the newness in his life, he might not have thought everything through as to how to make my client feel even more special than he may have thought he was already doing.
Though I reiterated to my client, that her man may have some issues and though he might choose to make an effort to incorporate those ways of showing love and appreciation in the future, I submitted to her that perhaps she had missed the greatest gifts anyone had ever given her, on her Birthday or any day her whole life.
I asked her to visualize with me what the day potentially could have been like had she woken up and said to herself, “How lucky am I, all my dreams are coming true, and of all days, on my Birthday!” How would the day have been different if she turned around in bed and faced her man and said, “Thank you for being in my life, for the past three months, and this morning on my Birthday, you are my gift.” And how would the day have been different if she had said, “You know, I have traditionally liked to do various things on my Birthday, but you already have given me more than I have ever gotten on my Birthday, that whatever we do today is just ‘icing on the cake.'” (Cause in my opinion, she already had her “cake!”). And how different would the day have been if she said, “I still would like to do xyz, but since it is a work day and you can’t take it off, could we find some time to do it on the weekend?” You get the picture and so did she.
In fact, I could hear my client sobbing on the other end of the line through the whole visualization, and then our connection was lost. I tried to call her back but she didn’t answer. I figured maybe she had heard enough, or maybe she couldn’t take it anymore.
Ten minutes later my phone rang and it was her, and she said, “Sorry, my battery died. But I took a moment to blow my nose and text my man.”
I couldn’t resist and asked, “May I ask you what you texted him?”
Still in a somber voice she said “of course,” and went on to say, “I texted ‘I’m sorry for not recognizing the gift you are in my life. Thank you for being who you are to me, I love you.'”