You Don’t Get Who You Want.
You Get Who You Are.
Years ago I heard Dr. John Maxwell speak. What he said changed my life.
The statement is simple and straightforward:
‘You don’t get who you want. You get who you are.”
I was working in sales at the time. Network marketing to be exact. I was building a Team. I bought the dream that I, too, could earn a weekly 5-figure income. High 6-figures a year? No problem!
But, there was a problem. I worked the system. I made the calls. I attended meetings; local, regional and National Conventions. I bought the books, recordings … the cool aid.
What the company was selling was financial freedom (but I was barely paying my bills). They touted time freedom (but I was working 60+ hours a week building the team). They said everyone was family, everyone mattered, everyone supported each other (but when I left after investing 8 years, the experience was not un-like an ugly, painful, stressful and isolating divorce).
If it was so bad, why did I stay for 8 years? Because I gained something much more valuable than money, time and friends. What was that?
I learned that we don’t attract who we want, we attract who we are. I learned and applied many other lessons that changed my life. Because of those lessons, I became who I AM…and I attracted others who knew who they are and where they are going in life.
Many old friends fell to the wayside. I became, and I still am, particular about who I spend time with. I very seldom choose to speak with friends and family members who cling to drama/trauma. You know the kind!
Amazing to me at first, as I changed I was contacted and approached by people who are centered, who are successful business people, who enjoy life and roll with the punches. My new close friends were entrepreneurs, women who had chosen to let go of abusive pasts and create lives they loved, lives in which they flourished.
Many of my new friends were, and are, strong survivors of domestic abuse. They are like me. We don’t attract who we want, we attract who we are.
No one deserves to be abused. No one walks into an abusive relationship on purpose. We attract who we are.
Think about this. Do you know someone whose first husband was an alcoholic? She divorced him when she couldn’t deal with it anymore. A while later, she remarried … another alcoholic. And, the cycle continued. The addiction could be drugs, rather than alcohol. It could be porn.
We are attracted to energy that feels normal to us. Sometimes “normal” isn’t. I’ve learned that often abnormal feels right.
I didn’t intend to marry an abuser. I didn’t deserve to be financially, emotionally and physically abused. I did fall in love with an abuser. I did stay married to him for 34 years. After I left I accepted that if I didn’t change something about me, I would attract and choose another abuser.
Why? Because the energy felt “normal”. It wasn’t.
My parents were not abusers. They were kind and caring and protective. Their protective instincts manifested as avoiding embarrassment, humiliation, and discomfort in the lives of my brothers who suffered from dyslexia. It was the ‘50s and ‘60s. Not as much was known about dyslexia back then. My sisters and I were taught to “protect” our brothers, to overlook the dolls and toys they destroyed, the money they stole (drugs were an issue for them), and never, ever address the drugs. Ours was a loving, and dysfunctional, family.
For me, familiar “normal” male energy was abusive. It wasn’t meant to be, but it was.
At 18, the man I married had familiar energy. I was attracted to it. I loved him.
Just like my childhood training with my brothers, I made excuses for my husband’s negative behavior toward me. I accepted his control without question. Emotional abuse was old hat. When the physical abuse began, I lied and covered it up.
See how that works? I did not deserve abuse. I walked into that mess because it felt like family. It felt normal.
We don’t get who we want. We get who we are. That’s who I was. An enabler of dysfunctional men. A woman with low self-esteem. I was someone who thought she could fix other people, who put almost everyone else’s needs above my own. All of that was programmed into my brain as a child. It’s who I was.
This is why I teach: if we don’t change, nothing changes.
There are a lot of abusers out there. If we don’t change our programmed lessons, our energy is going to match their energy. We are going to attract each other and the cycle will continue.
You don’t get who you want. You get who you are. Now I’m married to a fabulous, kind, generous and loving man.
When we change, everything changes.
Thanks for that lesson, Dr. Maxwell.