Over-achievers, take note! Are you constantly in pursuit of greatness, out there trying to “make things happen”? Do you find that while you love a good challenge, you could use a little less stress and burnout, and a little more effortless success and abundance in your life? I get it—I am an over-achiever, too. I personally understand the costs and the benefits of this mindset—the benefits being great accomplishments and impact, and the costs being exhaustion, suffering relationships, and that ragged feeling like you don’t know how to stop trying so hard.
When it comes to relationships, “go for it” mode can be particularly unfulfilling. First off, “trying really hard to make your relationship go well” sounds about as fun as plucking your eyebrows. Actually, forget it—a good wax job sounds BETTER than all that struggle and effort, mostly because waxing at least produces enjoyable and effective results. “Trying really hard to make your relationship work” tends to backfire.
Why? Because relationships are run by what I call your Feminine Operating System. No, that doesn’t mean anything specific about women or men, or your genitals. The Feminine Operating System is a guiding force that resides inside each one of us, regardless of gender. It’s the operating system we switch on and use to navigating the unknown and uncontrollable aspects of life. And nothing is quite as unknown as intimate relationships.
Or at least, we should switch it on to navigate uncharted territory. Oftentimes we don’t. Instead, we stick with what I call our point A to point B Masculine OS to try to reach our goal. (Again, we all have an inner Masculine Operating System, regardless of our gender or our genitals.) Because we over-achievers have been led to believe, through our upbringing and our personality traits, that “making things happen” is the ONLY way to actually get anything done. And getting things done is meaningful and matters for us!
The problem is, when we are always trying to “make things happen,” we are actually denying the more subtle, innovative force of “letting go” from working its magic in our lives and relationships.
Ambition is a wonderful thing—and when taken alone, can lead to control, struggle, tension, and burn out.
Letting go is required. It can be as subtle as the switch from “making” things happen to “allowing” things to happen. And its’ vital for your health and fulfillment, especially in relationships. Letting go is vital because all relationships are inherently collaborative. Success, be in in relationship or in business, on some level requires collaboration with larger forces than yourself—be those larger forces networks and connection with others, wisdom from your deeper purpose, unexpectedly “going viral,” or the support of any sort of higher power, if you have one.
For my type A clients who are struggling in relationships, I strongly suggest a regular practice of letting go and relinquishing control.
Since I teach about sex, I usually suggest that they somehow incorporate the two. Happily, they go very well together and the results tend to be self-motivating.
So how what does it look like to “let go” regularly? As an ambitious person, how might you add some more of that into your life and relationships, sexually or otherwise?
Here are a few tips:
1. Just feel. Feeling is the #1 antidote to “trying to make something happen.” You can’t so both at once. Oftentimes, our compulsion to leap into action in a situation or relationship is simply a tendency to avoid feeling the onslaught of sensations that surge through our bodies as we have more intimacy. The good news: “just feeling” without trying to do anything WILL produce results in your life and relationships—and oftentimes, they are results that you couldn’t have imagined or orchestrated on your own.
Next time you want to “do something” about your relationship problem, instead take 10 seconds and just feel the sensations that are occurring in your body without trying to change them.
2. Give yourself enough safety to let go. We humans may do some really dumb things from time to time, but on the whole we are self-protective by nature. We won’t truly “let go” if we think we are going to get hurt as a result. (Except those of us who are thrill junkies—I’ll talk about us in the next section!) Letting go of control requires some level of containment—like the safety harness the you clip in before you go on the roller coaster. Without that harness, not many people are going to ride that ride—the resultant pile of bodies flung to their death being one of many deterrents. Don’t ignore or fight that tiny voice in you that doesn’t want to let go and is reminding you of all the things that could go wrong. Instead, give it what it needs in order to relax. Set yourself up for success.
3. Make it a little edgy. As much as we are wired for safety, we humans are also wired to enjoy and seek novelty and risk. We thrill at adventures and in our own unique ways, thirst to explore the unknown. For the risk-averse among us us, we might explore the unknown this by reading a great fantasy novel or by rearranging our bedroom furniture once a year. (That’s a big change!) For others, we are are so risk-compelled that we’ve spent all our money on “our next big breakthrough” and we’re going into triple digits on how often we’ve gone skydiving. “Letting go” means different things for different people.
When I first started learning to let go, my greatest challenge wasn’t public speaking or jumping out of airplanes—it was asking a man to hold me while I simply relaxed in his arms.
To me, that felt like a death sentence and like the edgiest, most terrifying thing I could ever do. It brought up every fear I had of boredom and vulnerability. I started out with literally 10 seconds at a time.
What’s vulnerable for you? Add a little bit of that in—not so much that you’re safety brakes kick in, but enough that you are excited and slightly nervous about the prospect of letting go in this way.
That’s the sweet spot.