My job is to help girlfriends overcome jealousy, insecurity, and grumpiness in order to enjoy their good relationships. And luckily for me, most girlfriends who struggle with these things can see why overcoming them would be desirable and beneficial. But… that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a part of every grumpy girlfriend’s brain that thinks change is a terrible idea.
One of my strongest coaching memories is when I was telling my coach about all my failed friendships. I don’t really have any long-term friendships and my core belief was that everyone leaves sooner or later. They think I’m a nice person but when they truly get to know me they realize I’m not. This was what I was collecting evidence for. Let’s just say there was plenty to be found.
My coach then asked me how this belief had served me in my life.
I didn’t quite understand the question… I had just explained how crappy it was and that it probably lead to a lot of failed relationships. Why would it have served me?
She then told me that our lazy brains do not hold on to or nurture beliefs that don’t serve us in any way at all. We might not think it serves us when we think about it logically… but in some way, I have been getting something out of holding on to this belief.
That’s when I realized that my “everyone leaves” belief had “spared” me from a lot of uncomfortable conversations, confrontations, and efforts to maintain relationships. Because as soon as things get weird I’m out. Because, well… everyone leaves, so why bother?
Why you have to understand how grumpiness serves you
If we try to change a belief, habit, or behavior without understanding its purpose in our lives, we are going to be completely caught off guard by life without it. Especially when the purpose is to protect us in some way. It’s kind of like deciding to take off your armor that you weren’t even aware you had, and then being shocked that you feel completely unsafe and unprotected in battle.
As humans, we have a really bad habit of thinking that logic is superior to what our primitive brains are thinking. We think that “I know better” and “this makes no sense” are good ways of changing our beliefs. If we can just dismiss our primitive, illogical thoughts they will go away.
But that is the furthest from the truth.
Our primitive brains do make sense. Just not in the real world.
You are never going to successfully make a change in your life and relationship if you are constantly gaslighting your primitive brain, telling it that nothing it thinks makes sense and that you “know better.”
You have to understand your primitive brain. You have to make sense of why it thinks and feels the way it does. This is not dangerous, this is completely necessary. Because it’s your job to soothe that part of your brain and have its back while making more intelligent decisions about what to think, feel, and do in your good relationship.
What you lose by no longer being a grumpy girlfriend
There are a couple of very basic, primitive benefits that you will lose when you start to overcome your jealousy, insecurity, and grumpiness.
- Perceived control. As long as you’re grumpy, jealous, and always keeping track of your partner, you can pretend that you have more control than you actually do. Letting that go means acknowledging and accepting how little control you have (over your partner).
- False certainty. Your brain just wants to know what’s going to happen. It just wants to be prepared. So it creates fake certainty about the future just for you to feel a little better. You are going to have to let go of your certainty that your partner is going to cheat or leave you and get comfortable being uncomfortable in an uncertain world.
- Fake empowerment. When you’re a grumpy girlfriend, you try to generate empowerment by “standing up for yourself”, always criticizing, setting boundaries (ie. telling your partner what to do), always seeing it coming, always being prepared, and being really tough. All of this is designed to soften the blow of the inevitable. Being cheated on or broken up with. Because it’s “their loss.” When you stop being a grumpy girlfriend, you will soften, build a deeper connection, and be more vulnerable. Which means you give up this pretend protection against a broken heart.
So… no wonder making these changes can feel like a terrible idea. Because we lose all this fake, pretend protection that our brains think is sooooooo necessary for our survival.
Why it’s 100% worth losing these things
It feels scary to let go of perceived control, false certainty, and fake empowerment. Because without it we’re left with nothing. No power, no control, no idea what’s going to happen, and most importantly… no protection. We are completely unsafe without it.
But… that’s not true. Because the control, certainty, and empowerment we feel are just made up. It’s not real. We just think we are in control when we’re really not. We just think we know what’s going to happen, but we don’t. We feel strong when we try to control our partners, but we have no control over them at all.
This quote perfectly explains why we need to let go of these false protections:
A bird sitting on a branch is not afraid of the branch breaking. Because its trust is not in the branch but in its own wings.
You need to learn how to use your wings. And as long as you’re focused on stabilizing the branch or finding the sturdiest branch in the world, you’re missing out on your true safety. Your true empowerment. It’s within yourself. You’re the only thing on this planet that you’ll ever be able to control. And luckily, that’s all you need to control in order to have a good life.
Yes, it is scary to let go of your perceived protection. But your jealousy, grumpiness, and insecurities aren’t actually protecting you the way your brain thinks. It’s all made up.
You can learn how to not feel the need to control anything but yourself.
You can learn how to be okay with uncertainty and choose what you want to be certain about in an uncertain world.
You can learn what true empowerment means and that it has absolutely nothing to do with telling other people what to do or whom to be.
You just need to take a leap of faith and trust that there is a much more powerful kind of safety, security, and protection on the other side of this grumpiness. That’s what I can show you, just like I have for myself and the many girlfriend clients I have worked with.
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