A Practice in Listening to My Voice

I’m not sure if it was the right thing to do, but a couple of weeks ago I chose not to take Christopher’s advice.

I found myself caught up in a relationship I had not quite experienced before. Typically when being romantically involved with someone the days seem a bit brighter, people around you seem happier and everything is just swell because thinking about this person leaves a big, dumb smile on your face and you know that person is equally as obsessed with you. Everything feels great. This is called the honeymoon phase.

And I did not have such an experience with this new guy.

Three months had gone by together with him and I got no warm, fuzzy feeling in my chest.  Not only that, I kept thinking about who else was out there… specifically my ex-boyfriend.

Three years ago my relationship with my ex ended due to the unfortunate circumstance that we had an entire ocean separating us. We maintained a long distance relationship for two years despite him living in Germany and me in Canada. There seemed to be no end in sight to the long distance and I had my own personal issues to deal with at the time. He ended the relationship leaving me a terrible mess that would take three years for me to fix and become a better person for it.

I always wondered what my ex was up to. I never felt the courage to contact him.

Guilt always followed me after spending time with this new guy. I really enjoyed spending time with him. I found that I could be openly vulnerable to him in a way that I could never be with anyone else. He listened patiently about my depression and even related with me in away.  And yet my thoughts continued to wander thinking about what it would be like to see someone else. It was a selfishness I never knew I could possess.

I eventually couldn’t take it so I broke up with this guy. Then I realized that I’m terrible at breakups because I kept in touch and our relationship only got better from there. Unfortunately I couldn’t get myself to call us a couple. The breakup allowed me the space to deal with my inner conflict. I knew I had to contact my ex-boyfriend and hopefully lay my thoughts to rest.

But I couldn’t get myself to do it. I kept imagining him scoffing at me and being disgusted at my neediness. But I needed to call my him! Instead I called my coach Christopher.

One of the most amazing things about being coached by Christopher is that he leaves time outside of our sessions for me to contact him if I ever need coaching on the side. This was one of those moments where I needed some guidance and so I gave him a call.

“So what’s your reason to contact your ex?” asked Christopher.

This was the moment where I realized I didn’t actually have a clue.

“I just wanted to check up and see how he was doing…” I said. I wasn’t even buying my lame excuse.

Christopher told me that I needed to think long and hard about what I wanted to get out of contacting my ex. He told me to journal and meditate on it. He even offered to help me in our next coaching session if I had difficulties. The message was clear. Don’t contact my ex unless I truly knew why I wanted to do it.

So I meditated. And journaled.  And I thought a lot.

Yet I couldn’t figure out why I wanted to contact him so bad. I just knew that I needed to hear from him in order for me to move onto future relationships.

So I decided to go against Christopher’s word and emailed my ex-boyfriend. I forced myself not to think about it afterwards, expecting not to get a reply back.

He replied back the next day.

His life seemed really good. He got a job as a consultant for almost two years now. He traveled to Australia last year and visited mutual friends. He also got a girlfriend.

I felt sad but I didn’t feel heartbroken. I compared my life to his and reflected a lot. I didn’t seem as put-together. I was stressed and my job was chaotic. I couldn’t even get my feelings in order to hold up a decent relationship.

I could feel myself slowly slip into another depressive episode, which made me feel even more pathetic.

I wallowed in my self-misery for a couple of days until I made another phone call, not to my ex-boyfriend or Christopher, but from the guy I was seeing but couldn’t quite call my boyfriend. He asked me how I was doing, as friends do when they greet each other. I wasn’t even able to fake kindness. I admitted that I was feeling depressed.

That night we met up and just he listened while I poured all my insecurities out. Receiving such unconditional patience and understanding is a rarity in my life. That night I felt heard.

It took me a couple of more days to get over my depressive episode but I came back rejuvenated. I made a list of all the things that made me feel fulfilled as part of my coaching homework. I used that list and started planning out what I wanted to do in the next year to start creating a life I would be proud of.

My wandering thoughts had dissipated, which allowed me to be fully present in all of my relationships. I started truly enjoying the company of people I cared about without the little voice in my head hesitating on whether I was missing out on something better.

As for the guy I’m seeing, I’m not too concerned with labels anymore and after talking to him, he’s not concerned either. I’m taking Christopher’s advice he gave me earlier and that was “to just enjoy the friendship.” And I really am. We have become closer by being truly present with each other and I can’t be more grateful.

I’m not sure if it was the right choice not to take Christopher’s advice.  My decision in the end seemed a bit needless since I didn’t feel any more enlightened about my situation after contacting my ex-boyfriend.  I even ended up making myself depressed. But talking to Christopher made me realize how much I needed to do this for myself.

I trust Christopher’s word, so when I felt the need to do the opposite of his advice I knew I needed to listen to myself. I learned something from contacting him. No matter how authoritative or trustworthy a source is I still have the ability to trust my intuition whether I’m clear about it or not.

Whether I made the right choice or not I’m glad I called Christopher that afternoon.