I have a confession. Avocados used to intimidate me. I didn’t grow up eating them, so I didn’t know how to cut them open. I had heard that they were good for me, but not feeling like an avocado expert kept me from buying them and giving them a place in our kitchen. So, I took a high-tech response to to my avocado issues and went to YouTube. I researched how to choose avocados, how to know if they are ripe, and how to slice them and and remove the pits in a way that makes me feel like I should have my own cooking show. I have mastered the avocado.
I had compassion for my intimidated self. I knew that because I had not grown up learning about avocado management, there was no way that I could have supreme avocado confidence. I guessed that with a little effort and education, I could get past my avocado ignorance and maybe become a bit healthier with avocado on our sandwiches and lots more homemade guacamole.
Relationships require the same kind of compassion for ourselves. How would we know how to be in long-term healthy relationships if we did not grow up witnessing a healthy relationship? if we did not learn how to effectively manage conflict? if we did not see affection expressed regularly and in a healthy way? How would we know?
Now I have a funny sense of accomplishment as I see my children choose and dismantle the avocados in our kitchen. They have the necessary confidence to put something healthy into their lives because they have been taught. One daughter swears that avocados are best as pretzel dip.
My challenge to you is to have compassion for yourself with what you weren’t born knowing. Healthy love relationships have a tremendous positive effect on our mental health. I tell clients in my office that they will come away with a much better education about themselves, their partners,and the best research we have on healthy human connections. Read anything by Dr. John Gottman or Dr. Sue Johnson. I have no idea about their skill level with avocados, but they’ve done the real work with taking apart relationships and helping couples get back to the healthy and safe place we all desire.