053: Many Fish in the Sea

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Welcome back to Tuff Love with Rob Kandell. The official topic for this episode is around the concept of fish in the sea. But first, an update. Last week Rob’s Dad had a stroke and went to hospital. It’s been very emotional week and there were some very intense conversations. His Dad is much more stable now and getting back to the status quo. But things change when you face death for real. Death is always theoretical but when it comes down to it, it’s different, and Rob saw the change in his father. He faced his own mortality, his fighter came out and it was impressive to watch. So things are better.

This topic of Fish in the Sea was inspired by a friend of Rob’s. She’s an attractive woman, and has been in an on-again-off-again relationship for years. At the moment, her partner is being distant again and Rob can feel inside her the fear of taking the step to migrate out of this relationship. On some level, this relationship has been her foundation and so there’s fear. Rob sees it a lot: people are scared to death to let go when they find someone. After investing six months, a year, three years, when things start to go awry, we have a fear of letting go.

Here are Rob’s reflections on the topic:

  • It comes down to our old friend, scarcity. What we have is a belief that there’s not enough of anything in this world, so if you find someone, you need to keep them.
  • In researching this topic, Rob found a poem from 1896 that was probably the origin of the ‘fish in the sea’ concept. The author has a line, ‘there’s more than one pebble on the beach.’
  • Think about how many people there are in the world and how many people are desperately lonely looking for someone to spend their lives with, to connected with and be intimate with. There’s just an extraordinary amount.
  • But there’s something that happens once you get someone. Is that person a keeper or not a keeper? It comes down to this foundational belief that there’s not enough.
  • But what is the cost? What is the cost when you’re in a relationship that you don’t truly believe in? What is the cost when you’re in something that is your foundation? How do you move from the foundational piece of who you are with that person, to who you are with yourself?
  • It links to Episode 52 on Self-Love because that is really the most important thing. Your belief that you have enough just by yourself is the most powerful thing possible because without loving yourself, you can’t love the person you have. Start with the self.
  • If you’re in a relationship but you can’t be honest, you can’t expand, you can’t be yourself, then you are making yourself smaller and smaller, keeping yourself in a place that’s shrinking.
  • This applies to all relationships, not just romantic love relationships.
  • Part of the problem is we put our feelings onto others. When you have a crush, you feel desire for something, and this person is either in your life in a constant way or a drive by crush. You hold onto this feeling, the memories you have of that person and how you felt around them, and you attribute the feelings to them. But those feelings you have about the person are your feelings.
  • You’re choosing to take all the love, desire, hunger, and other feelings we push down in our society like lust, and put them on someone else. You can’t have that person and then you think, ‘I’m not worthy to be myself’.
  • Whatever your feelings, they are right, they are a part of your human dynamic. Your desire is right, your lust is right.
  • We take those feelings and put them on someone else, and when that person doesn’t respond to us the way we want, we go into misery.
  • There are so many fish in the sea, so many places to put your attention, to put your love. We think the person is ‘the thing’ but they’re not. The thing is who you are and your relationship to the world.
  • So work on your self-esteem and self-love. Know that the thing you want inside of you is right and be willing to pursue it. Be willing to not make compromises on the way.
  • Rob sees it a lot, where people in relationships compromise what they really want rather than be honest with their partners and with themselves.
  • Rob coaches a lot of people who are wanting someone, a relationship, in order to avoid something. They want to avoid feeling lonely, or listless, or avoid their own self-defeating attitude about who they are, and they don’t want to confront that.
  • Your ability to move towards what you want and how you want it is the most powerful trick you can have because what happens is if you’re actually focusing on what you don’t want, on what you’re avoiding, what happens is that part of you grows.
  • So if you want to confront and grow and stand and move past these places where you feel stuck in front the feelings of the pain first before you go searching.
  • Things are changing in today’s society, which has a lot to do with social media. There’s some part of us that feels being connected through social media and our phones is enough, so we avoid actually confronting things that we need to go out into the world for.
  • For all the lonely people out there, just know that there are thousands of other lonely people sitting at home waiting to meet you. Our world is getting more isolated, so your ability and willingness to get out of your comfort zone, put down the phone and go to a café and talk to someone—that’s where the fish in the sea are!
  • Rob often coaches men who come to him and say ‘How do I get a girlfriend? What do I do to meet women?’ Rob challenges them to find women friends, not for the sake of finding a girlfriend, but to feel in connection with people, and feel strength in that ability. Get out of your comfort zone into the world. Do the work to clean up your own shit, connect and be real with other people.

Rob coaches Steve, who is in transition right now in a number of ways. He’s slowing down one business and setting up another one, and has ended a relationship with a woman and is interested in men right now. A lot of stuff is coming up around that:

  • Steve had a dream about Dr. Beverly Crusher from Star Trek Next Generation. She was looking in the mirror, at a tall, dark and handsome man. He’s mysterious, she’s swooning. But then he literally turns into a mirror and she’s resisting the whole time, doesn’t want her fantasy to be crushed.
  • Steve’s interpretation is that he’s longing for a powerful, dominant kind of guy to come into his life and explore his sexuality with, and he has an image of that. At the same time he really needs his own power, he’s starting a business and very active right now. So he feels torn between being masculine in the world, and then being feminine and receptive. He feels there’s a tension, he’s not at ease.
  • Rob is hearing an ‘either/or’ coming from Steve’s mind, when in fact anyone can have both. You are brilliant, complex and flexible enough to migrate between your masculine and feminine from work to home.
  • A lot of women complain to Rob, and on social media and the world, that their masculine is rising at work, and as they get more powerful positions, they’re having trouble transitioning and going from masculine in the world to feminine in the bedroom. So the fear is real and true, but at the same time you are capable of doing both.
  • Steve perceives feminine in a relationship to be being in flow, emotional, receptive, allowing things to happen, not trying to control situations but letting them unfold. And the masculine is like focus, single-pointed. Whereas feminine is just open.
  • He has some resistance to that feminine, letting go of the ‘always going somewhere, pursuing etc.’ There’s an anxiety as Steve has lived his life for 34 years as a straight man who got self-worth from accomplishing things.
  • Rob comments that even the way Steve presents this problem is very masculine, with definitive boxes of who and what he is. Rob’s interpretation is that Steve is a solid, sweet and powerful good guy, going through a lot of changes, and in the new role of being in relationships with a man there is a portion of fear of who he would become, as well as excitement. The fear and excitement are right next to each other.
  • The worst case scenario for Steve is he would become depressed and withdrawn, losing directionality and ability to be powerful, and would end up depending on another man’s solar energy. The main example Steve has of being feminine in relationship is from his Mom, who was that way.
  • She didn’t take responsibility for her emotions, she didn’t take care of herself, she didn’t do what she needed to do to be present and grounded and available. She would complain and had a strong victim story. There was a continual abandonment theme.
  • Rob acknowledges and honors that this is the driver of Steve’s soul, whether consciously or unconsciously, it’s what being feminine in relationship means in Steve’s mind. He has to confront this on some level as his belief system, and love his Mom in order to love his own feminine.
  • Rob had to confront his relationship to his Dad in order to confront his relationship with Morgan. Rob had to look at all aspects of his viewpoints against his Dad and how he was a man, and all the ways he related to Rob’s Mom etc. If you ignore them, they run you. If you confront them and actually love him in that, then you can love the part that was installed inside of you.
  • Rob’s advice to Steve is to take the best elements of the feminine, the parts of his Mom that raised a warm, connectable beautiful man for a son, and say ‘no thank you’ to the parts he doesn’t perceive will serve him and didn’t serve her. It’s not a ‘Fuck you’ energy, which is our natural inclination. You have to hold it in, love it and say ‘no thank you’.
  • We all have wounds around our parents. Rob has, and it’s been brought up this past week in the intense conversations.
  • Steve says some parts he can love, some parts still have the ‘fuck you’ energy. In particular, her victim pattern. Rob suggests looking at the motivations of what caused her to be a victim. If you can understand it, then you can have empathy. Empathy doesn’t mean excusing it, it’s just understanding the motivation.
  • When you understand people’s motivation, it is really hard to be mad at them. Once you understand the motivation, then connection can really occur.
  • You are not your Mom. Create that separation between the two. Once Steve can love the part of his Mom’s victimhood, then it isn’t as powerful and he can look at the places in himself that feel victimized and abandoned.
  • Steve has his own victim story around money, the student debt he’s carrying and debt because he spent half of his twenties being suicidally depressed and living under a rock. Now he’s in a position where he has solid income, but servicing the debt can feel like a sentence.
  • Rob suggests looking at the benefit of the debt and the lessons learned. In Rob’s case he looks at it as penance for learning the lessons, and is grateful that he won’t make the mistakes again. He is motivated to be creative to pay the debt of faster, it becomes like game (which the masculine loves!) The more energy you put into woe is me the less there is for creativity.