When to break agreements

Lessons to be learnedThe other night I was with a group of people, gathered to talk about soul ties, more specifically, cutting unhealthy ones. It was a fascinating discussion going far beyond what I would normally think of as soul ties, which would be, for example, with a spouse. The conversation was focused on soul ties with a variety of people in our lives that hold us back and how to separate from them. They can also keep us in a cycle, repeating the same behaviors with the same person even when we’ve learned the lesson we were intended to learn.

I kept thinking about that idea throughout the week, extending it in my head (as I do – much more fun that way) to the idea of the agreements we make in relationships. Primarily the subconscious ones. We may not like to think about them as agreements, but they are. And usually, they’re of the unhealthy variety. Ways that we show up with each other, and not the ones we take selfies of. The “if you then I,” variety. It’s likely you don’t like it, are not happy about the pattern, but you either don’t recognize it or recognize it and don’t know how to step out of it. The third alternative is that you know it’s there, you don’t care, it’s not you it’s them.

So how healthy is that? I’m going to hazard a guess…not very.

The more complicated pattern is when you have those agreements and maybe end the relationship you’re in, romantic, friendship, otherwise…but then you move on and recreate the same pattern. The same exact pattern that lead you down the slippery or rough road before. What’s up with that??

Yes, it’s the behavior you know, but you also have a choice. Think about a behavior you have, say, when stressed, and you are aware it’s not the most fruitful. Not causing gains in your relationships. You’re repeating it over and over. One…you’re not learning the lesson. Your taking the lesson you were maybe intended to learn with the first person and because you didn’t learn it, or didn’t recognize it, you moved on to someone else and are doing it all over again! Two…it’s possible you’re preventing the current person you’re in a relationship with from learning the lessons they need to learn – for which they were drawn to you. Over time, it can create a big, muddled, hot mess.

If you can end that agreement, take the lesson and shift to a new phase in your relationship, and if that person comes along with you, it can change everything. In order to do that, you need to take time to really look at your part in what’s happening. What are the patterns that repeat, where do you feel yourself getting sucked in to unhealthy behavior? Sit in that. Brene Brown calls that “rumbling” in her book Rising Strong. Realizing you’re down and sitting in that space for a minute, long enough to see what’s really going on. When you do, you have a choice to make. Either you keep the agreement and “wash, rinse, repeat,” or you make a choice to behave, respond, different – create a new agreement.

What helps when you’re in that space?

Don’t take it personally…the other person’s reaction, their response, it’s about them, not you. It’s their stuff.

Own your own stuff…Yep, you’re there for a reason. Take a minute to look at your own behavior.

Have you seen this episode before? If so, if this isn’t your first rodeo with this argument, this circumstance, take note. You’re likely repeating agreements.

Make a choice…You can either respond like you have in the past…how that work out for you? Or you can make a different choice.

There are times when the eventual choice is to end an agreement, cut the soul tie so that you, and maybe the other person, can move forward. I believe these times call for authenticity. Showing up as your true self, without your masks and letting the other person experience the raw you. Honest, vulnerable, leaving defensiveness and self-preservation at the door. Aka…the brave choice.

Whether it’s time to cut the soul tie, end the agreement…or time to be authentic, be brave (and those may be the same thing at times) …just do it. If what you’re doing in a relationship isn’t working, and that’s any relationship – friend, spouse, child, parent, sibling, co-worker – you have a choice to make. Today, I hope you’ll make the one that leads to a more authentic, healthy you.

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