New Years resolutions are often unsuccessful because that which is unconscious has greater capacity to influence behavior than what we consciously know and want. In the reverse, if we illuminate that which is unconscious we gain the power to change just about anything.
NRE is an acronym the poly community created for the all too common stage in the beginning of a relationship–the honeymoon phase. Most of us have been there: the heightened enthusiasm, long conversations bleeding into the night, getting aroused by brushing hands. In western culture, we like to call this phenomenon: falling in love. While beautiful and certainly delicious, I am here tell you that this isn’t really love at all. Instead, I want you label this sensation NRE: new relationship energy. Could this remarkable person be the long awaited solution to my loneliness, past woundedness, and future dreams? Albert Camus writes:
We fall in love with people because, from the outside, they look so whole, physically whole and emotionally ‘together’ – when subjectively we feel dispersed and confused. We would not love if there were no lack within us.
So then, what is true love?
However matched, love is a skill. Alain de Botton further comments, “Loving is inner work.” As a relationship therapist, couples contact me when the new relationship energy has worn off and doubt has taken its place–am I with the wrong person? The answer to that question may definitively be yes! Concrete reasons to leave a relationship exist. But most often, I get clients plagued with bored, sexually frustrated, smothered, and wondering if they have fallen out of love. The opposite is true. You are now ready to love.
“When we replace the question “Am I sure I’m trans?” with the question “Based on the evidence that is available, and what my thoughts, behaviours, past and feelings suggest, what is more likely: that I’m trans or that I’m cis?” -Natalie Reed in The Null HypotheCis
To go a bit deeper, if you’re looking for certainty of your gender identity in order to continue or move forward with transition (defined broadly) then you are creating an impossible situation for yourself. You will always have those “what if” thoughts. Identity is a subjective experience and therefore cannot be 100% objectively verified by hard sciences. Reed elaborates:
Maybe someday we’ll have brain scans that can analyze the parts of the brain that are “atypical” (or, as I’ve taken to saying, extraordinary) in gender variant individuals and thereby determine whether or not you have the neurological features that indicate a predisposition to transgenderism, the best it could do is determine a predisposition. Such a system could never ethically be used as a singular, definitive diagnostic tool, and given the subjectivity and self-determined nature of gender, there’d still be an abundance of “false positives” and “false negatives” (though even those concepts don’t make much sense).
Today, in our climate of faux and sensational media, information is being fed to us like sipping from a firehose. Living in this constant state creates compassion fatigue, elevated anxiety, and powerlessness. More than ever, there is a need to cultivate a practice of selective ignorance. Urban dictionary defines selective Ignorance: as selectively ignoring distracting, irrelevant, or otherwise unnecessary information received, such as e-mails, news reports, etc. Here are three concrete action steps to start implementing selective ignorance and gain your power back:
1. Start Batching
Batching is scheduling time to check email, make phone calls/txt messages, social media, etc… In practice, you commit your effort to completing these tasks during the allotted timeframe and then refrain from further engagement during the rest of your day.
2. Create Auto-Responders
I read my emails twice a day at 10a and 4p. For urgent matters if you need a response before this time, please text me at XXXXX XXXXX.
Thank you for understanding.
3. Apply the 80/20 principle to your tasks
Evaluate your news sources, social media platforms, subscriptions, etc… Which 20% give me the most bang for my buck? Which ones are a waste? Eliminate clutter and invest in what gives you the most output.
Breathe in and breathe out mindfully, and your commitment for the day is fulfilled. Everything else is bonus. @Chademeng
- What 20% of experiences produced the majority (80%) of my happiness?
- Conversely, what 20% of people or activities are creating 80% of my stress and consuming the large majority of my time?