When I was a child, nothing was hard. Everything I tried to do, I did. I worked at it, I played at it but I didn’t understand the concept that something was hard or that I couldn’t do it. Now that I am an adult, I commonly hear people say a certain activity, a certain lifestyle or a certain way of being is hard. I have commonly even said it myself. I have realized the reason it is hard now but wasn’t back then, is because is challenges me to change my psychological and physiological patterns (mental and body patterns).
In psychology, when you do something over and over again in your mind, it is called grooving. Your brain actually creates a wrinkle of that pattern. Your brain gets so use to doing something that one way, that it will automatically default to that method and will always want to keep doing things the same way.
For instance, if you are right handed as a writer and somebody asks you to write the letter “A” on the whiteboard, you will without thinking pick up the marker with your right hand and do so. Your physiological habit is there as well. Again without thinking, your body will write the letter ”A”. This has become so ingrained in your body after years of practice that you don’t have to think of drawing two angled lines and one across the center to create the letter. And your writing will likely be fairly legible, especially if you compare it to your left hand’s attempt at the same thing. And odds are if you try to write “A” with your left hand, you have to think about it more. This is because you have build the pattern both physically and mentally over the years on how to write with your dominate hand.
While you are writing the letter with your left hand and trying to figure it out, you will likely think to yourself, “Wow! This is hard!” Because you left hand hasn’t had the practice of writing even though just a minute ago doing the same task right handed was easy. It is only by comparison that it is difficult and it is only difficult because we are not use to it yet.
There are three things that I commonly hear people say are hard that I think don’t deserve that reputation. The first I hear regularly, “Poly is Hard”. Poly isn’t hard! It may require skills and “muscles” that you haven’t practiced with much yet. As you practice them, it becomes natural and easy. I’m poly myself and have been in a healthy poly relationship for over 14 years now. We have had other partners come in and out of our lives throughout that time and it hasn’t been hard because we are use to doing the work involved. We are use to being open and honest about our feelings and our thoughts, working with our partners to learn how to communicate with each other and we are use to sitting down and looking at ourselves when we feel twinges of jealousy, anger or even joy to tear into the WHY we are feeling it and finding the source in our core beliefs that is or isn’t working that is helping us feel that emotion.
The second thing I hear often is “BDSM/Kink/Leather is Hard.” Again it’s the same thing here. I have been in the leather community for around six years now. And during this time I practiced my BDSM/kink, as well as learned to respect where the cultures of BDSM, Kink and Leather come from.
During this time, I have learned to embrace a part of my psyche and myself that I had to keep hidden previously. A part I hadn’t embraced and wasn’t honest with myself about prior. I now openly acknowledge that I am pansexual. For years because of my upbringing and my “life training” said “No! You are not interested in women, in any way shape or form, you are not interested in asexaul people. You are only interested in men.” Because for my entire life I had been trained to think I could only be interested in men, it did take time and practice and being in places with people who were openly gay or pansexual fit me to be able to recognize and embrace that I am pansexual. Was it hard? I don’t think so. It was new and it was different. And it took practice for me to be able to say it openly but I wouldn’t say it was hard.
Third is perhaps the biggest one I have heard in all the communities I am in. It saddens me greatly and breaks my heart each time I hear it. “Loving is hard.”
There are many ways to love someone. And some of the best advice I have ever heard is that when someone is saying “I just don’t love them any more. Our relationship is ok but I just don’t;t love them. What should I do?” is, “Love them.” The answer being to turn love from an emotion into a verb. When you are looking for love, when you are looking to feel that emotion, there are certain grooves in your brain that are engaged. Grooves that were created while you are feeling it. Groove you can activate. If at the beginning of a relationship when you are feeling all that love, every friday you buy a flower for the person and leave it on their pillow, in your brain, there is now a groove that associates a flower on Friday with the feeling of that emotion. So you don’t feel like you love them anymore? Are you buying a flower each Friday?
I actually buy flowers for my husband and surprise him with them. If I travel without him, I always make sure to have one for him when I see him again. Flowers are not a gender specific gift!
So to feel that feeling again, since you have that grooving already in your brain, use it! Go back to those actions, buy that flower every Friday and by doing the actions of love, you again start to feel love.
Things are only hard when we let them be. Use what you know and learn what you don’t until that “hard” thing becomes as easy as writing with your dominate hand is to you now. Keep practicing and teaching your mind and body to do what you want it to with ease. And groove on!
And for those things we do enjoy keeping hard, keep them hard 😉