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I recently re-watched the movie ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ with Jim Carrey (Joel) and Kate Winslet (Clementine). Through a company that offers an unusual process, Kate’s character has their tumultuous relationship erased from her mind.

From the blurb on the back of the DVD

“Out of desperation, Joel contacts the inventor of the process…to get the same treatment. But as his memories of Clementine begin to fade, Joel suddenly realises how much he still loves her”

The movie is set around Valentine’s Day and the point is made how busy the memory eraser company is. Everybody wants the painful stuff out.

I get what Joel did on finding out Clementine had her memories of him erased. He reacted rather than responded. On impulse, he went for the same treatment. It was as much a ‘f*ck you’ as a shortcut to ease his own pain.

Don’t we all do that? Our initial reaction is often to protect ourselves, rather than open up to the possibility of pain and rejection (which can happen as much in intimate relationships as it does in family, work or friend relationships).

We go on the defensive, we find ways to block the pain, we get in first before the other person has a chance to hurt us.

We are scared of being rejected. We are scared of not being good enough.

Yet we crave connection and understanding. We not only want to understand but be understood.

It’s a risk to consciously make a different choice. To see our defence barrier go up, acknowledge it and find a different way. To choose vulnerability and honesty.

It’s in that moment humanity shifts. Every time I consciously choose vulnerability over protection and defence, possibilities open up not only for me but the people I’m in relationship with.

The ripple effect begins with me. It begins with all of us. And it’s a moment by moment by choice.

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Life Coach
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