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The #IAmACatch movement began last year at this time because I had slumped to an all new low of loathing myself because things were not turning out as I wanted them to. I was fully in a state of profound heartbreak and facing into the fact, (in my victim voice, mind you) that my dreams of true love had been shattered and I was once again all alone in the world.

It was in a particularly painful session with my mentor that she finally called me out on my crap and lovingly – but bluntly – invited me to get real about who I really am. To really look at all that makes me tick and what I want in life, in relationship. I was miserable… a snot-dripping, red-face, hiccuping mess when she presented the idea to me in her ever so eloquent way, “I think you need to own your hot-mess-ness.”

“Oh really?” Mind you, those two words were loaded with sarcasm and cynicism and not one ounce of openness or curiosity.

“Yes,” she said and then she offered, “You could try something like, ‘I’m committed to getting so sick that I knock myself on my own ass and end up hating everyone on the planet and want someone to think it’s adorable and love me through all that and tell me that it’s all going to be okay *AND* I’m totally addicted to the word NEED *AND* I think that all salespeople are manipulative so I don’t trust *any* sales technique and therefore I don’t sell worth shit and my business is faltering.’ Something like that. There is someone out there, I know, that will find that charming!”

It was so over the top and absurd that I began laughing. I laughed for a long time, until the tears and the snot dried up and the hiccups went away. I laughed until I was lying on the floor, unable to catch my breath. I laughed because I realized that, after all this time of practicing loving myself fully, I was still undermining that love by harshly judging every. single. aspect. of myself.

In the process of understanding myself through the lens of #IAmACatch, I have discovered how intricate and complicated I am. All along, I have thought I’m a simple gal without a lot of requirements. The problem I was having in the past was captured in that statement right there! “All along, I have thought I’m a simple gal without a lot of requirements.” Truth is, I am complicated and I am particular and I am loaded with expectations, especially when it comes to relationship.

  • I expect those I’m in relationship with to actually want to be in my presence from time to time.
  • I expect the people in my closest, most intimate relationships to be doing their own work and to have their own coach/mentor. Additionally, while metaphysical spirit guides are awesome, I expect that guide to be a third-dimensional human being who holds them to a strong commitment of accountability in their work.
  • I expect people to be practicing what they preach, living what they teach.
  • I expect people to be fully accountable for their own experience, thoughts, words, actions, beliefs, and emotions.
  • I expect willingness to experience every moment as a learning opportunity and to be willing to look into anything and everything to uncover the “it” within themselves that is creating the situation and then clear it if it is something disagreeable or reinforce it if it is something joyful.
  • I expect that they are always open to feedback, except for the times when they need to consciously choose to be closed to feedback and then, at those times, they update me on their position.
  • I expect them to show me they love me, show me they’re walking the walk, show me that they are looking within to continue the flow in our relationship. Words are empty unless there is the substance of action behind them.
  • I expect their definition of integrity to resonate with mine and their outlook on life to compliment my views.
  • I expect that we create a reciprocal energy of honor, respect, appreciation, vulnerable strength, truth, trust, and allowance.
  • I expect all of this of myself first and therefore believe that those in relationship with me are doing the same for themselves too.

I use the word “expect” on purpose because of its definition: to look forward to; regard as likely to happen; anticipate the occurrence or the coming of. But I also choose this word because of the feeling within me when I take ownership of my own expectations. For me, “expect” draws a hard line in the sand and that is perfect for where I am because I am willing to be hard about this. These items above are non-negotiables for me. I am no longer willing to accept anything less than relationships that have these qualities.

Years ago, I was taught that having expectations was a guaranteed set up for resentment. Because of that teaching, I disinherited a large portion of myself and turned off my acknowledgment of what I really was expecting while telling myself and the world that I had no expectations of anyone. I was lying to myself because, even at the most basic level, I had expectations. I expect people to be kind, to speak nicely to me. I expect people to live up to what is best for them. Those are expectations, just like the list above. Expectations. They are not soft, wishy-washy dreams of hopefulness. They are things that I really want in my life and for other people. And while I cannot control, demand, or create other people’s lives for them, I sure as hell have command over my own and so it is imperative that I get really clear about what expectations I am running so that I can honor them myself first.

I think what is happening in this world, in my humble opinion, that is creating this influx of angst, fear, hatred, and violence, is that everyone has gotten all up in everyone else’s business. Too many in this world are concerned about what others are doing, are pointing their fingers outward in blame and shaming, and are forgetting that everything they are witnessing is within. them. first! You cannot identify what you have not experienced until you have learned how to see it. If you are seeing it, if you are experiencing it, IT. IS. IN. YOU.

Relationship is never about the other person. It is about YOU. When we honor ourselves first then the relationship is inherently built on a foundation of honor. When we understand what our own non-negotiables are, we begin to build relationships that honor ourselves, thereby honoring everyone involved. It makes no sense for me to choose to go into relationship with someone who believes that all gays shouldn’t marry or females need to shut up and sit down. That sort of relationship would so dishonor who I am. But, if I don’t know that about myself – if I don’t know that I expect all people to have the right to marry whomever they so choose as long as all parties are in consent or that I expect everyone to have the right to speak out and stand up – if I don’t know that I’m running those expectations, I cannot create it for myself. In fact, I will usually create the opposite experience so I can learn through the lens of “don’t want that,” which is more often than not excruciating.

When it comes to relationship, the strongest magic is recognizing what you want to experience and then conjuring it based on ownership of your expectations. Expectations are healthy when they are owned and constructed as a means of honoring ourselves. When the expectations we hold are for controlling the situation or another person, that is when we experience resentment and conflict. Knowing the difference is where we find freedom.

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