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Episode 35: Your Partner Doesn’t Need to Love Self Help

Hey, all! Welcome to today’s episode of The Work Of Becoming podcast! Today, I am going to talk a little bit, just a little bit, about my partner, Jon. At our team retreat this past weekend, I had a bunch of amazing conversations with my team members, and one of the things that we were talking about was our various partners and whether or not our partners were as invested in self-improvement and personal development as we were.

I mean, Jon will be the first to tell you that he is not a self-help lover like I am. He has never hired a coach. I don’t think he’s ever read a self-help book. It’s just not something that gets him as excited as it gets me. I’ve actually been asked before whether Jon has a Core Four, whether Jon has any goals for this year, whether Jon is working on things with me. I think people have this idea that Jon and I must live in this world where we sit down every single week and we discuss our Core Four, and I promise you, it is not like that at all.

And so, really, what I wanted to remind you today is something that coach Jimena actually reminded me this weekend that we were talking about, and that is that your partner doesn’t have to fulfill every single one of your needs. What that really translates to is that if you have a need, a craving, a desire to have a relationship with someone in your life who’s also invested in self-improvement, your partner is not the only one responsible for fulfilling that need. And if your partner is not the one to fulfill that need, that doesn’t mean anything is wrong. That doesn’t mean that your relationship is doomed. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad. That doesn’t mean that it can’t move forward.

I think a lot of times because of media, because of Hollywood, because of the way we grow up, we expect that our partners are going to be so perfectly matched that they fulfill every need, and the things that we want to spend hours and hours deeply discussing with them, they’re expected, if they’re the “right person” to want to discuss those things too. I mean, maybe that’s true for some of you, and if that’s true for you, awesome. Great, you did well! But for me, that’s not true. Jon has no desire to sit down and talk about the merits of self-efficacy with me.

But what I will say is that while Jon does not love self-improvement, Jon does love me, and that means that, although he might not be enthusiastic about those things, he is willing to be interested, he is willing to be involved, he is willing to be in a conversation about self-improvement or personal development or mindset or my coaches or whatever because he loves me enough to try, just like I love him enough to put on a football persona on a Saturday and go to the bar with him with my Notre Dame hat and yell at the right times, even though I have no interest in football.

So, this episode really has two purposes. First, I want to say I’m not an expert, in a total sense, about relationships. I do have a master’s degree that was focused on interpersonal communication, and I am a published author about behavior change as it actually surrounds domestic violence relationships. I did some research on that before my mindset stuff. But for all intents and purposes, I am not an expert.

However, the lesson I have learned within my lived experience is that A) if you’re a self-help lover whose partner is not a self-help lover, there’s nothing wrong. There’s no gap. That’s not a problem that needs to be fixed. It’s something you can choose to change if you want to go and find a different partner. That’s your prerogative, but it’s not the end of the world.

And lesson B) is that if your partner is not willing to at least dabble in what you’re interested in, at least admire your interests or support — Jon may not be willing to have his own Core Four, but he sure as hell will remind me to do mine [Laughs] if I ask him to. He sure as hell will hold me accountable. He loves to see me change and improve and succeed because he knows that I love that so much. And so, I don’t think your partner needs to be involved in self-help. Whoever your partner is, I don’t think they need to be totally invested, right? But I do think that I would hope that your partner is supportive. And so, if your partner isn’t supportive, that’s something I would encourage you to have a conversation about.

Let me know in the DMs what you think of this episode! I don’t usually talk about relationship stuff, but because I’ve gotten asked about it a lot recently, I wanted to open up a space here. I’m always very careful because I don’t want to violate Jon’s boundaries. I don’t want to tell any stories about him without his permission. But this was, I feel like, something important to share. So, let me know if you enjoyed, and I’ll see you in the next episode!

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Hi, I'm Karin

I’m a funfetti flavor super-fan, a loving dog mom, a PhD expert in mindset and behavior change… and I’m here to help make personal development and transformation a process that’s actually fun.

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