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Praise for the Easy-going and the Flexible

When my husband Pete asks me what I like about him, I often reply: “I like that you’re easy-going.” You might think qualities like “intelligent,” “fun,” “sexy” and/or “handsome” would be better for me to say and for him to hear. I do also like those things about him. Yet “easy-going” is very much at the top of my list.

What does “easy-going” mean to me? It means having a relaxed approach to a change of plans. It means being flexible while still having, at times, a strong opinion. It means being willing to try new things or things that are not your absolute favorite. It means taking things as they come without getting upset or uptight.

I love that Pete has patience to listen and discuss options and my wishes. I judge he’s not very fixed in his preferences about many things: what we eat for dinner, what we converse about, what movie we watch (a topic that used to lead to long deliberations for one of my exes) or where we spend holidays (a topic about which my mom makes a major issue). And when I feel down, Pete doesn’t seem to make it about him. When Pete has a strong opinion about something, I know that is important to him and mostly I’m willing to go with that.

I have had many people in my life who I’ve found to be very fixed in their wants and preferences. They aren’t very open to try new ways of communicating, new foods, new hobbies, new places, learning new skills, going to new kinds of trainings or workshops, etc. That goes, for example, for intimacy and sex – doing the same things over and over again in the same order can feel less exciting and fun, can even get boring. I don’t mean attempting acrobatics each time, but just being open, curious and a bit silly.

I want to explore and be open. I want my wishes to sometimes go first even if the other person doesn’t like pizza, pasta or salmon & potatoes too much. I found that two of my past long-term partners often had very little flexibility and at times almost zero easy-goingness. I have a mom who I’m saddened to see is so often driven by other people’s opinions of her.

I work with people who have experienced trauma or tough things in their life and thus do not always have space to be flexible or easy-going. I feel compassion and can relate to them and I don’t want all hours of my day to feel like hard work. And I love witnessing how through the personal work people do, they now have more space to be flexible and easy-going.
Who in your life is easy-going or flexible? Are relationships hard work for you?

I am not always easy-going, though. I often take my mistakes seriously. I enjoy teaching that we can learn from our “mistakes” and that mistakes don’t even really exist. I like teaching that you are perfect as you are. At times, though, I have hard time believing it about myself.

A dear friend of mine recently told me that she likes that I’m flexible, that she feels relaxed with me and that I’m open to new things. I found that to be very beautiful and felt quite touched. I have struggled with being a control freak and a performer. In my youth, I grew used to getting love from my parents by performing well at school or by behaving as an “easy” and “good” child. I have worked a lot on myself to be more relaxed about making mistakes and my shortcomings and by allowing myself to be more silly and stupid. And I’m loving it. I’m loving me (most of the time).

When are you able to be easy-going or flexible? How are you when you are relaxed?


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