question 4

Ever since I was
a little kid I have
always longed for my "soul mate" to
marry and start a
family with. It has
always been my
#1 goal in life
instead of having
a career or doing
something
amazing with
my life...
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Q...
The problem now is that I am with a really great girl, the kind of girl who is good for me, a Transforming Person who has big dreams of making a difference in this world. We are both 20 and in college, but I find myself planning my life around her. I know she wants to be with a Transforming Person as well, an individual whose life doesn't revolve around her, like mine often does. How do I find what my authentic self really wants, and how do I know when my goals in life are the unhealthy, Nice Guy part of me talking?
     
James:
Your questions are insightful, which tells me you are already doing some good Awareness Practice. I also want to reinforce that wanting a partner, wanting marriage and a family can be healthy and exciting goals. The key to knowing when your goals are unhealthy is identifying when your underlying emotions (especially anxiety) are driving the attending thoughts and behaviors. Conversely, actions coming from your authentic (healthy) self will be accompanied by feelings of strength and ease—a calm sense of purpose. Our chapter on Disillusionment Practice deals extensively with the issues you're raising. This is a big topic - getting help with it (through therapy or one of our workshops or, ideally, a retreat) could be very useful in addressing it. Also, consider whether you have a guy friend (someone you trust) who you could talk to from time-to-time, to get some outside reflection on your motivation and behavior.
     

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