Here’s a quick and easy way to look at your relationships: Check your System.

Always have a sense of where the energy’s going in a relationship.

That’s the one-sentence takeaway.

The more detailed (but still short) version is this:

Ask yourself five questions (in this order!):

  1. Am I happy?
    That’s just kind of a baseline. If you’re happy, then you don’t need to go on to the next questions. You can just skip to the end. If you’re not, then you better head to the next question.
  2. If I’m not happy, am I where I wanted to be?
    I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid, but I’m too tall and I wear glasses. If you can’t readjust from childhood dreams, then you might find yourself in some trouble. Don’t get me wrong — a lot of people do great things based on childhood dreams. But if you are where you wanted to be, maybe it’s okay if you’re not happy. You kinda have to figure out your priorities. Now, if you’re happy and you are where you wanted to be, that’s even better!
  3. If I’m not where I wanted to be, am I okay with where I am?
    Cast out your fishing line into Life and ask yourself if you reel back in something you like. Maybe you didn’t think you would end up here, but if you take a critical look at where you are and you’re actually okay with that, then you’re probably fine. You can skip to the end. Woot!
  4. If I’m not okay with where I am, what needs to change?
    Contrary to popular belief, spending your whole life being frustrated with your system is actually pretty pathetic. If you can’t figure out what needs to be changed, then you better find someone who will help you. And I’m not talking about someone who will just pet you and suck your dick, either. Find someone who actually tells you what needs to be changed. Now, if you push back, you can’t keep expecting them to produce useful output, but that’s a thing you and your soul need to work out together. It can be a real bitch to hear that you’re not perfect, but if it’s any consolation, if you were perfect, you wouldn’t have gotten past Question #1. Figure out what needs to change. Chances are good it’s you. Sorry. Again, a small consolation: when I find that I’ve gotten this far in my own situations, I’ve also discovered that the thing that needs to change is me.
  5. If I haven’t changed or can’t change what needs to be changed, then am I resigned to be here and that’s just that?
    Sometimes you make bad decisions that you cannot take back. Sometimes you have to eat shit pie. Sorry. In those times, the best any of us can do is to shrug and accept. I know it’s not always easy being all Zen about it, but if you’ve gotten this far down the list, then you’re probably already aware of that. If it helps knowing, I have a few things in my life I’ve hit this point about. It sucks, but I just gotta accept it. Your mileage may vary, of course. Shake your fists at the gods. Good luck with that.

I know it seems simple, but you might be surprised at how many problems this would catch. I think I might have to just do this as an exercise every couple of weeks. Might have saved me a lot of trouble.

That energy? It can take a lot of different forms. It can be physical, emotional, financial, mental. Whatever. Just always be aware of it.

Oh, as I re-read this, I realize it can apply to a lot more things than just relationships. No big shocker there, though, right?

Oh, added bonus: I think doing regular system checks might be the only easy way to avoid or deter gaslighting! Wouldn’t that be a neat trick!

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