Do you feel clear on what you want in a relationship – yet have trouble finding or creating it, no matter how hard you try? If so, chances are you may have what I call an inner wobble. Just as your car wobbles if the tires aren’t aligned, your ability to create what you want “wobbles” when different parts of you – sometimes un- or only partly-consciously – push and pull in different directions. This condition causes us a lot of pain – and if we’re in relationships, may cause our partners pain, too.
In my own life, my inner wobble kept me choosing unavailable women for a long time. Consciously, I believed I was fully available and felt completely ready for an intimate relationship. I really didn’t understand why I couldn’t find someone else as ready as me!And over time, as I ran into different types of unavailability in girlfriend after girlfriend, I felt as if I was bashing my head against a wall.
The truth is, I was bashing my head against a wall. But what I didn’t understand was that the wall was inside of me. The women I chose were reflections of an inner push-pull I wasn’t even aware of… until, after years of this pain, I looked a lot more closely and got a lot more self-aware.
The issue is this. All of us have different aspects of our selves and personalities. For instance, there may be the social butterfly, and the shy part that would rather just stay home. There are usually also hurt or scared kid-parts, as well as mature adults inside us. And often, these parts want different things – and also have very different ideas about what will keep us safe. So when one part pushes on the gas, or steers to the right, another part may just as strongly push the brake pedal, or turn the wheel left. This keeps us stuck – or at least stops us from heading full-on in our intended direction.
I find that many women I talk with have this same kind of inner wobble, which creates the same kind of invisible wall between them and what they most want. This shows up in a different way for each woman. For instance:
Pam, 52, recently came out after leaving her husband of 25 years. She’s thrilled about finally getting to be with a woman – yet she can’t seem to find a woman to date. “Lesbians don’t trust me,” she complains. “They all think I’m ‘not really gay.'” (Yet Yvonne, 59, is also in her first lesbian relationship of her life – and she found her partner (whom she describes as “wonderful”) just a few months after coming out to herself. What’s the difference between Pam and Yvonne? I’d be willing to bet it’s Pam’s inner wobble! Meanwhile, Yvonne’s inner wobble shows up in other ways. For instance, it’s really hard for her to “let in” her partner’s expressions of caring.)
Joie, 36, also has been searching for love for a long time. She says she knows exactly what she wants – the “whole package,” deep connection on emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual levels. Yet she consistently finds herself attracted to women who aren’t right for her, and just doesn’t feel that spark with women who match her in other ways. What’s going on here? Again, it’s Joie’s inner wobble.
So what can you do if you realize you have an inner wobble – or at least recognize the possible signs of one in your outer life? The first step is to become more fully aware of it. You’ll need to get curious – not judgmental, just curious! Do some compassionate spelunking inside yourself. One way to do that is with an exercise called “Squares,” developed by spiritual teacher Leslie Temple-Thurston.
1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line across the middle horizontally, and another line down the middle vertically, so your paper is divided into 4 squares.
2. Choose something you consciously want, yet are having trouble finding or creating in your life. Then give each square a title related to that issue. Square #1 is, “Why I want ___.” Square #2: “Why I fear having ___.” Square #3: “Why I don’t want _____.” Square #4: “Why I fear not having ____.”
3. Now, sit quietly and ask your deepest inner wisdom to help you learn more about the different desires, fears and beliefs sharing space inside you. Fill in all four squares with as much information as you can discover inside yourself. If you’re used to inner exploration, it may not be hard to do. If this kind of work is new to you, it may take a little longer. But in either case, just stay calm and curious. This is a voyage of self-discovery – and the more fully you discover yourself, the better everything in your life will eventually be.
4. Once you’ve filled in all four squares, you’ll understand much more about your inner wobble. This in itself is a very powerful thing – because it helps you stop blaming other people, God or the universe for “keeping you from what you want.” It can be sobering to realize that you are the one who’s been blocking yourself from realizing your desires. But it’s also empowering.
5. Now you can work to heal or release the beliefs or fears that are keeping you from what you consciously desire. There are many ways to do that. Work with intention and prayer can be very powerful. For instance, you can set an intention that goes like this:
I consciously choose, desire and intend to become fully open and available to an intimate relationship with someone else who is also fully open and available to me. I ask God/my higher power/my higher self/my guides/[fill in the blank with whatever you believe in – or simply draw upon the wisest part of yourself here] to help me heal the parts of me that fear this level of closeness. Help me release the belief that this closeness will make me unsafe. Help me become able to trust that I can be deeply close with a partner, and still remain fully connected to myself. Help me know that closeness with the partner I seek will not lead to invasion or violation. [Keep going until you’ve incorporated each fear or block you identified in the squares into this prayer.]
6. Work with this prayer at least daily, preferably multiple times each day, for at least a week. For instance, repeat it to yourself while you shower, while you wash dishes, while you drive. Within a week, you should start to notice some shifts, or at least get more information about what feels stuck and unwilling/unable to shift within you. (With really tough blocks, you may need help from a healer, coach or mentor. In that case, check out our coaching and mentorship programs!)
Write and let us know what you discover about your inner wobbles, and how your inner realignment goes. We’d love to hear your stories, as well as support you where needed!