Aug. 3, 2021

You Don't Complete Me Part 1/2 (with Henry Hoo)


EPISODE 27 

What impact does making the interior journey have on a marriage? Henry and I look back at our 22 years of couple-hood and 14 years of marriage and share how our own commitment to our individual healing and integration has transformed our relationship. 

In Part 1 of this conversation we talk about the liberating discovery that we are not meant to complete each other, the joy of discovering beauty in what IS in the here and now, and what practicing healthy boundaries with our selves and each other has done for our marriage.

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CHAPTER MARKERS 
02:01 - Three Layers of Living
03:23 - First Point - You Don't Complete Me
16:08 - Second Point - Striving for the "Ideal"
22:38 - Third Point - Boundaries within a Marriage
35:15 - PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act.  
Available here. 


TRANSCRIPT
Available here.

REFLECTION PROMPT
Listen.
- As you listened to the conversation between Henry and myself, what struck you?
- Was there some pot that you could identify with in your own experience, perhaps in your marriage or some other intimate relationship?

Ponder.
- In what ways might you have unknowingly made it harder for yourself to be happy in your relationship by seeking completion or happiness from your partner?

Act.
- Identify one area in your life where you have struggled to be patient and kind to yourself.
- Find some quiet alone time and have conversation with that part of you, that part of you who struggles to live up to your ideal self.
- Sit with yourself as you would a beloved child or a dear friend, and just listen.

For full details of this reflection prompt, please see transcript.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Other episodes that would help you understand and apply the lessons in this episode:
- Ep 4 & 5 Living from the Inside Out
- Ep 14 Where Do You End and I Begin?

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Transcript

EP 27 | YOU DON'T COMPLETE ME - PART 1/2 (WITH HENRY HOO)

What impact does making the interior journey have on a marriage?

[00:00:08] INTRODUCTION
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host, Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax and listen on to Becoming Me.

[00:00:38]
Hello, dear listeners. Welcome back! Another episode of Becoming Me and today, as promised I have with me, my number one favorite guest – because I have to say that, right? Because it's my husband, Henry!

Henry: Hello. I'm back.

Ann: Hey, Henry. Thank you for coming on again and agreeing to have this conversation with me, and sharing this with the world. Happy anniversary, by the way.

Henry: Happy anniversary, Ann.

Ann: So we've been together as a couple since 1999.

Henry: 1999, yeah.

Ann: So, that's 12 – no, 22 years old. I mean, 22 years. And this is our – math is not my strong suit, this our 14th wedding anniversary, right?

Henry: Well done, Ann.

Ann: Yeah, thanks. So, we've both been on this interior journey for some time. I started earlier, but I think the last few years, you have, you have really like, dived in as well, and so much has changed in the way our relationship is, and how our marriage feels.

[00:02:01] THREE LAYERS OF LIVING
I think for me, for both of us that, I thought maybe today, we can have a conversation about some of the ways in which we have found ourselves maybe changing and growing since we have become more committed to the interior journey. Because then on this podcast, I often talk about living from the inside out, and that the three layers of living on the outermost layer is the layer of, well, anything that's outside of us.

[00:02:33]
And that includes events, circumstances, as well as other people. And so, that would mean that for you and me – our relationship; for both of us, this relationship exists on, I mean, pretty much the outermost level in terms of our interactions, right?

Henry: That's right.

Ann: And the middle layer would be the layer of our emotions, our thoughts, our inner bodily sensations.

[00:02:58]
And then at the heart of it – the inner-most core, I mean that that's our identity. And since we have begun to become more aware of those; the middle and the core, I think the way we have experienced and responded to one another at the outer-most layer has taken on a very different flavor. So, that's what I hope to talk about today.

[00:03:23] FIRST POINT - YOU DON'T COMPLETE ME
So, you can just sit back, relax, as promised – so that you don't have to think too hard. I have a few points here that I'm just gonna start us off and then we'll just see where the Spirit takes us. Okay, so, the first point that I wanted to talk about was this thing about how, when we first got together as a couple, and we were very young.

[00:03:52] 
I still had that notion, you know, about a romantic relationship completing me. I have always struggled with a deep sense of unworthiness – a deep fear of abandonment and rejection. And I think I had this hunger; this wish really, that someday I would find someone who would love me. And I always thought that if I found that someone who would love me, that then I wouldn't be so fearful of abandonment, of rejection – that I will be happy.

[00:04:27]
Right? I mean, that was how I used to think. And of course, the reality of being in a relationship showed me that, that wasn't true. In fact, if anything, growing closer to someone; someone that I loved, I think actually made me more insecure and more fearful of abandonment. And I had to learn in the subsequent years that you don't complete me.

[00:04:56]
And at first, that was a very difficult thing for me to recognize and accept, because I think there's a part of me that felt like no, you know, it's supposed to be that way. And so I would feel very bad about myself. Like, you know, what's wrong with me. I have such a wonderful partner, and why is it that it's still not enough?

[00:05:15]
Why is it that I'm still not happy? Why is it that I still have all these insecurities and issues? Why is it that I'm still looking for something, you know? Like it's not enough. And it took me – wow, I think more than a decade to learn that in order to have an enriching relationship with someone else – that's you in this context – I needed to first learn to love myself and that it wasn't a selfish thing to practice self-love or to listen to my own needs before I try to meet yours. Do you have anything to share about that?

[00:06:09]
Henry: Well, I think there's something to be said on my part as well. I think you're absolutely right – that all of us, at certain times of our lives, we have to struggle with the shadows in ourselves, right? I mean, we come to a relationship, we come to a marriage with baggages of own issues. And we all need time and space to deal with it, right?

[00:06:33]
I mean, having a spouse, a partner to share the burden, to deal with some of them, of course, is necessary. But there is also a space where, I think in my own journey, I've come to recognize that as individuals, we have to return to ourselves and grapple with it. And I suppose being the man in the family, there is always this – or at least I have this expectation of myself; that I should, you know, protect my wife, I should be able to help her in whatever issues that she has, right?

[00:07:09]
And do you still remember that time when you were really challenged and feeling very – a lot of self doubt in your work, in the way that you were living out your vocation. And I still remember that night, you were really, really wishing for some affirmation from me.

[00:07:39]
I know you were fishing for affirmation from me, but I knew that that was an episode you needed to grapple with your insecurities. Of course, it was very tempting for me to just say a few sweet nothings and make you feel good about yourself and move on. But I sensed, at that moment, the moment was for you to really enter deeper into your own insecurities.

[00:08:08]
And I held back – I held back whatever affirmations that I could have easily given because I love you more than want to give you a handiplast. When you were going through such an episode. I remember I told you that, Ann, I know that you wanted me to say some words of affirmation, but I love you more than that – to give you something.

[00:08:32]
I really want you to cross the finishing line in this journey of self-discovery, if you will. I'm glad I did that, but it was after a lot of self-growth myself, to know that I don't complete you. I can't solve all your problems. And it wasn't easy for me at that moment, but I'm glad I've grown to a certain extent to be able to do that for you.

[00:09:00]
Henry: Yeah, so that was a memory that came into my mind when you speak about completing each other.

Ann: I actually, well, that's a story I've told before on my podcast. Do you remember?

Henry: You did? All right. Obviously, I don't have as good a memory as you, Ann. But I think you are right.

Ann: But speaking of completing one another, I think there was this burden, perhaps on both of us, to feel like we have to be the answer to the other person's problems – that we are responsible for the other person's emotions. I remember you used to be really terrified of me crying.

[00:09:42]
Henry: Yeah. Yeah.

Ann: You would be so uncomfortable. You kept asking me to like – it's okay. Like, don't cry. And then that would just make me more upset because like, I need to cry, hello?

Henry: But that was me. That was me when I couldn't deal with conflicts and it was uncomfortable for me to accept that the other person needed to express his heart or her emotions, right? 

[00:10:07]
Ann: Yeah. Yeah. So, I think that's another thing that we learned along the way, and it was very powerful when we learned that it was important that we are able to express our emotions. And then to learn, to not feel threatened, or judged by the other person's expression of emotions.

[00:10:31]
Ann: So, I mean, it took us a long time to learn that, but we did actively practice and it's nice to articulate it. We have to say it out loud.

Henry: Yeah, explicitly.

Ann: Right. We have to say explicitly, like, I need to feel what I feel. You would say that too. I just need to express myself. I'm angry. I need to say that I'm angry.

[00:10:48]
Henry: And on the other end, is learning to hold space for the other person, right? And I think it helps when, you know, when you say that you need to express your emotions – it gives me a mental preparation to know that, okay, now I am to deliberately hold space. I mean, it doesn't come second nature to me, but I think it takes a lot of episodes of hits and misses to learn that, hey, this is the time for me to hold space for my spouse.

[00:11:18]
And once we kind of got into the groove of sensing that, okay, this is the time to hold space – this is the time to just be with the other person. Often after the emotions are expressed, I think we connect at a deeper level after that.

Ann: But it is very challenging when we have our insecurities to be able to hold space because hearing you express negative emotions, inadvertently would make me feel like it's my fault, or that you are blaming me. And I think that goes for you as well.

Henry: Right.

Ann: And so, I suppose, I just want to highlight to our listeners as well, that making this interior journey, you know, the healing of our own wounds, I mean, over time gives us a much more solid call and a lot more space within ourselves to be able to hold space for another person. 

[00:12:19]
And especially in difficult moments with an intimate other, where holding space is not just, you know, holding space for someone else who is not angry, or not upset with us – but holding space for someone who is upset with us.

[00:12:30]
Henry: Exactly. And all sorts of triggers can just come out if you have not done some interior work to do with your own wounds and your own shadows. So, I think, you know, it really comes across to me like, it either goes as a vicious cycle or a virtuous cycle, right? I mean, if both are on the upward journey of integration, I think the relationship will, over time, spiral upwards. But if both are running away from their own interior work, I think the vicious cycle can be very traumatic. Yeah.

[00:13:08]
Ann: And I just want to say how grateful I am that, you know, you tried so hard all these years. I mean, I know between the two of us, I've always found it easier to express how I feel.

Henry: Yup.

Ann: And you used to be like, I don't know – a mystery. I mean, you always said that you're okay. And I'll take you at your word. And then later I'll find, eh, not quite right. I think he's not entirely okay, but...

[00:13:34]
Henry: I'm pretty sure when you learnt the Myers-Briggs type indicator (MBTI), you kind of understood that's how an introvert responds to an external question.

Ann: Yeah.

Henry: But we can have a different space within us. And we get messed up inside, right? So, I also think that there's something to be said about personality and integration. Different personality takes a different approach into self-integration. And for an introvert, the inside can be very messy, even though the outside seems fine – or we claim that it is fine.

Ann: Well, you're a lot more comfortable now with speaking up about what you want or how you feel.

[00:14:18]
But I remember, maybe in earlier years, your expressing of how you feel would come in the form of a sudden text message in the middle of the day for me. I mean, like you're at work, right? And I'm doing my stuff and it's Sunday, I'll have a message coming from you and it's such a wonderfully worded, sweet message, you know?

[00:14:38]
And, I'm like, oh, now he's expressing how he feels, and I realized that maybe, exactly it's because you're an introvert – having had more time to process how you feel.

Henry: Exactly.

Ann: And having the distance; not being in the same room as me.

Henry: And being pressured to have to conclude my thinking, you know, and come to an expression immediately. Yeah, that helps.

Ann: Yeah. Yes, and also, I think in the past, the written form helped a lot. I think that's another thing I realized about introverts – that writing out how you feel is; you're a lot more articulate than in person. But you've come a long way. I mean, we both have – learning.

Henry: Yeah! I'm glad that you've learnt that's how an introvert, you know, deals with issues. You have come a long way too, Ann. Trust me.

Ann: Yeah, I remember when I would send you a text to give you a heads up that like, you know, there's something very important and I would like to talk to you today. And personally for me, I wouldn't like it if you told me that, because then I would be very anxious the whole day. But I learned that for you, that actually helps.

Henry: It's absolutely necessary because when I'm driving home from work that day, I'm like, okay, I'm setting up shop, you know – to be ready for whatever's to come.

[00:15:50]
Ann: Yeah. Okay, so that's some funny things to remember. Yeah, so, learning that you don't complete me – that was such an important thing for me.

[00:16:08] SECOND POINT - STRIVING FOR THE "IDEAL"
It was very liberating for me because – and this brings me to the second point that I wanted to talk about was – it helps me to realize that instead of constantly striving for some ideal marriage – some kind of idea of what an ideal marriage should look like or wishing for a husband; an ideal husband sort of, you know, I don't actually know. I don't think there's such a thing. Ideal – what does it even mean, right? And striving myself to try and be an ideal wife.

[00:16:47]
It's so stressful. And I didn't even realize it back then, in the earlier days when we were married, or earlier years then, when we were married. At some point, I realize, you know, to be a contemplative – okay, so, now we're talking about spirituality, right. But to be a contemplative is to be able to behold what is – what is real, not what could be, or what if, or what I wanted to be.

[00:17:19]
When I begin to see what's in front of me and to learn to look lovingly and receive gratefully; what we have at that present time – who you are with your limitations, as well as your gifts, I become a lot more grateful and contented. Right, I realized that I can find beauty in what is. So letting go of expectations, I guess.

[00:17:51]
I don't know when, at which, you know – it wasn't even in the first few years of marriage, it was actually quite far in; maybe between the fifth and the 10th year, I think, of our married life that I – yeah; I realized, why am I expecting Henry to be able to meet all my needs? Why am I expecting him to always be ready to deal with, you know, me – to recognize when I'm down and always, you know, have the capacity to hold space for me.

[00:18:21]
I mean, we both had that experience where if we were so fortunate that one of us was down and the other one, you know, has the capacity, we can hold space. But there have been times where both of us, are like, you know, like running empty.

Henry: Low on tank.

Ann: Low, yeah! Those are usually the evenings that we would fight.

Henry: And after that, you know, needing some time on our own to lick our wounds, you know, and to really accept that, what is. And accepting what is, is both of the other end of self, right?

[00:18:53]
I mean, especially in the marriage where, perhaps society or our parents or our friends or whatever illusions that we seem to get about a perfect marriage – sometimes make things really painful for ourselves, right? Instead of accepting ourselves for who we are, accepting you for who you are, and having an idealistic, you know, idea of how a marriage is, creates a gap that is never enough.

[00:19:33]
That seems to always be chasing a dream. But actually when, when we are honest with ourselves and with each other – honest with our own limitations, our own needs, I think that is the birth of authenticity and honesty in a relationship. And from there, actually, a lot more growth can come, you know? Otherwise we are always suppressing our real thoughts, or if you will, our left hand columns and we start guessing here and there. I think at the heart of a good marriage is to be real – is to be real with ourselves and with each other.

[00:20:21]
Ann: Yeah. It's when we can relax into our real selves. And that takes inner work because I think for the longest time, even if I was alone, I don't know how relaxed I really am. There's always this thing, you know, I shouldn't be doing something or there's this script that keeps running in my mind, that's pushing me.

[00:20:43]
So, as I became more at peace with myself, when I began to have fun – I think being myself, even though, as I discovered my real self is quite different from the person I always thought I was supposed to be like. You noticed it, right?

Henry: Well, I have to say when I first met you, I think I saw your true self. But I saw you along the years, somehow not letting the true self out and me being an introvert, just sat and observed.

[00:21:15]
Until – I can't remember how many years later, I told you, Ann, you're a lot more fun to be with because I'm seeing your true self finally coming out. You're more free. That's the person I fell in love with in 1999. So, yeah. Congratulations, Ann! You found yourself.

Ann: Yeah, I remember the first time you told me: you're a lot more fun to live with now. I'm like, thanks. Was I not fun to live with before?

Henry: I leave you to your own conclusion.

Ann: I... Okay. Let's not pull at that thread.

[00:21:50]
Yeah, so beholding – yeah, be holding while it's real. And I think that includes also just being present and not being so focused on either the past or the future. I mean, we've both done that before also, when we were weighed down by our past, or we are anxious about our future. And it's just very comforting when we're able to be in the present.

[00:22:17]
I think in our own relationship with God, as we learn to be more contemplative and to find God in the here and now – we also learn a lot more; what it means to, well, enjoy this journeying together in the here and now, and not let fears and anxieties rob us of our joy.

[00:22:38] THIRD POINT - BOUNDARIES WITHIN A MARRIAGE
Okay, third point: boundaries within a marriage. This should be an interesting one. You want to go first on this one or?

Henry: Well, I think you should go first on this one. I will share later.

Ann: I'm a little scared now, about what you will say, but, okay. So, I shared before in many episodes in this podcast that I didn't use to even understand what boundaries were.

[00:23:09]
I didn't have boundaries. I thought that to care for another person meant to have no boundaries, you know? And so, it was a very unhealthy dynamic that I will get into whenever I drew close to someone. I felt like my whole life needed to revolve around that person's needs. And I would have this is unspoken – and maybe not even fully conscious expectation that it should be reciprocated as well; that I should be the center of the person's universe.

[00:23:42]
And, you know, and that would be the only way that I would feel that I am loved. And as I did this inner work – as I began to understand my past wounds, and as I began to recognize that so many of the trouble I get into is because of a lack of boundaries. And that a lack of boundaries was a lack of self-love.

[00:24:13]
It really changed, I think, the way I saw everything – the way I experienced everything, and especially our marriage. And actually, I want to say also; my relationship with Miko, our dog, right? I mean, I can actually feel emotionally blackmailed by her. Because I know what is it that she wants.

[00:24:38]
And I'll feel like, oh, I wouldn't be a good, you know, fur-parent, if I didn't, you know, bring her for walks everyday and, you know, feed her on time every day. And comfort her when she has her separation anxiety and, you know, all that. So, I think that's classic when, you know, when I realized that, okay, I can enmeshed with my dog.

[00:25:04]
But in our marriage as well – I used to have, there used to be so many times when the reason we ended up quarrelling was because I had been suppressing my need; my emotional need, to try and somehow appease you. Could be just very small little things, you know, like what to eat, or when to do what. Until I got so resentful, or upset that you are not picking up on the fact that I was needing some attention or whatnot that, yeah – that I would explode.

[00:25:57]
One of the most powerful things I learned was to know what I needed. And you always encourage me in the journey too. Sometimes you'd be the one to ask me, what do you need? You know, what does your inner child asking; needing right now, right? And that would be the cue for me to, oh yeah;

[00:26:16]
I need to check in with myself. I forgotten to do that. And there was this incident some years back, when on a Saturday morning, we were going to go and sit downstairs by the pool at the lounge chairs with Miko after a walk. Do you remember? I was looking for it to her Saturday morning with you because you know, your work hours are also so insane.

[00:26:41]
And during the week we're so busy that I just wanted to relax with you. I brought a book down to read and I remember you asked me, is it okay if you brought some work stuff to read, and without thinking twice, I kind of said, yeah, sure. I mean, I have a book, you know, you have something to read, I have something to read.

[00:27:00]
And when we were sitting there and me being, you know, being the way I am – whenever I read something really exciting and I want it to share it with you, I'm like, hey, you know what? I want to read to you that thing – that look you had on your face; the like, very annoyed look, like being interrupted, right?

[00:27:17]
Three times it happened, I remembered. I don't know why after the first time, you know, I was like, oh, okay, he's not very happy, but I'm not very happy that he's looking at me that way, you know? And then I'll forget; I'll get engrossed in my book again and then I'll do it again. And then I'll get the look from you again.

[00:27:30]
And yeah, after the third time I was so mad. I remembered I stood up and I plonked Miko. So, for those listeners who don't know, our dog is very tiny – she's a really tiny toy poodle, so she's very small and I just stood up, and I just quite unceremoniously dumped her in Henry's lap.

[00:27:51]
And it was actually almost comical if I wasn't so angry at that moment, I would have laughed because both of them had this shocked look on their face – like what just happened. And yeah, I remember I told you, like, I can't be here right now, I need to be alone. And I just went up, you know, I went home first.

[00:28:12]
And I was so angry. And I didn't even really know; understand at that point – why? I just felt so, so mad. And I cleaned up some stuff and I slammed some drawers and cupboards and I went to take a shower and I cried. I cried when I was in the shower. And I prayed. I mean, I spoke to – you know, I talked to God and He goes, I mean, like, you know, this sucks.

[00:28:39]
And I realized as I was crying, and I was speaking to God – why? It's because I missed you. I missed you the whole week, and I was looking forward to chilling with you and – wow, I'm actually tearing again as I remember that.

[00:29:01]
And when you had asked if it was okay, if you, you know, read, you know, some work-related stuff – I hadn't paused to really ask myself, is that really okay. And it was only then, belatedly, when I was really so upset, that I realized the real answer would have been, no – I would have loved to be able to tell you; can you save that for the afternoon or something?

[00:29:22]
Can we just have this next hour, you know, like to chill. And I realized as I thought that, that if I had said that, I'm pretty sure you would've said okay. So, in a way, it was my fault. I realized then, dang, it's my fault that I hadn't tuned into my own heart.

[00:29:42]
I had not even been aware of how much I missed you that I said, okay, and then I got so upset because you made me feel like I was an inconvenience and I was disturbing you. You know, and there I was actually thinking that I was so magnanimous allowing you to do work reading on a Saturday morning when it's supposed to be my time.

[00:30:00]
But, I appreciated that you didn't try and – we didn't try to talk it out right there and then. You didn't rush up. You know, I was actually glad by then that you didn't rush up. I felt like I had the time and the space; I needed to figure it out myself. And when I did, I felt so apologetic, you know, both to myself and to you.

[00:30:26]
And that was it – that turned out to be a wonderful day because later when you came up, do you remember? And I asked you like, are you okay? You looked very calm – and you looked really calm and I'm like, whoa, this guy; I had snapped. I mean, it was one of the very rare times that had really just snapped like that.

Henry: ...and poor Miko. She must have been traumatized.

Ann: And yet, and there you were coming home really calm. Do you remember what you said? I asked you – I actually said, well, you look quite calm, you know, like, do you remember what you, what you said?

Henry: Well, I don't remember exactly what I said, but I remember what I did during the time that you were upstairs, right?

[00:31:02]
I think by then I had grown a lot in understanding boundaries. I guess, for a long time, I didn't have the language about boundaries, but I suppose maybe for introverts, our boundaries are a lot more clearer to ourselves. I mean, we are a lot more aware of what we want or need. We may not say it, or we may not consciously know it, but we are quite private people.

[00:31:28]
And I think it took me many years of understanding the concept of what are boundaries, for me to have a language to realize that I do have tight boundaries. And I still remember the first few years of our marriage, I was, you know, still looking forward to quite regular soccer sessions with my friends, because that was what I did before we got married, right?

[00:32:00]
You were overseas and weekends were just soccer for me. And after we got married, I kind of, you know, over the months, I started to, you know, conform to what I think is a good marriage. We should be spending time on the weekends because weekdays are just so busy with work.

[00:32:17] That I kind of denied myself the realization that I still desired to play some soccer, right. I mean, I was missing those times until, you know, something's got to give right? Until I felt that, within me there was a voice that said, why can't I have my soccer session? And of course we quarrelled a few times, and when I look back at those sessions, I realized that, hey, I didn't even ask you whether I could go for those soccer sessions, right?

[00:32:42]
So, fast forward to this fateful day of me asking, could I do my work reading by the pool with you; I asked, right?

Ann: Yes.

Henry: I felt that I have grown – I've learned to ask because I wanted to do that. You're right; if you had said no, I'm like, okay, sure. I could read at another time, right. I wouldn't take it personally.

[00:33:03]
But when I realized that you kind of got really pissed and went up, I was like, whoa – something was triggered on your part, of course. I mean, I was pondering; could I have done anything different? And I realized I couldn't because I had asked, you know, your permission. I mean, not so much a permission, but I've asked whether it was all right with you, for me to bring my work stuff and you said yes, and so I did. 

[00:33:35]
Would I have known this could have happened? I don't think so. So I thought, hmm, okay. Maybe Ann just needed some time to deal with her emotions, her issues. And since, you know, I've got some work stuff, I just continued reading, right? And when I was about to go up, I remembered asking myself, you know, or wondering to myself what was going to happen; but I was quite calm because I knew my boundaries.

[00:34:00]
I knew that I've done what I could, and I think I couldn't have done better. And I think that's my side of the story of learning about boundaries. That even if you have not respected your boundaries that morning, I don't have to get flustered and, you know, overstep myself or start doubting myself. If I have done my part, then maybe that episode really is for you, and to learn to respect your own boundaries.

Ann: I hope you've enjoyed this first half of my conversation with Henry on the impact of making the interior journey within a marriage.

[00:34:38]
Now at the beginning of the episode, I made reference to the three layers of living. If you have been following my podcast from the beginning, you should be familiar with that concept by now. But if you're a relatively new listener, welcome by the way – and you're not familiar with what I meant by that, I invite you to go back and listen to episode four; Living From the Inside Out. This is a very fundamental principle that I keep coming back to in this podcast. So, episode four; Living From the Inside Out.
 
[00:35:15] PRAXIS: Listen. Ponder. Act.
Okay, next I'm going to offer you the praxis prompts for this episode. Even though it's just half the conversation that I had with Henry, I think there's plenty to chew on.

[00:35:15]
So, one: Listen – as you listened to the conversation in this episode, what struck you? Was there some part that you could identify with in your own experience – perhaps in your marriage or some other intimate relationship.

[00:35:42]
Two: Ponder – In what ways might you have unknowingly made it harder for yourself to be happy in your relationship by seeking completion or happiness from your partner?

[00:36:01]
Three: Act – One of the most powerful things we can do for our intimate relationships is to be able to see reality for what it is, and to make room in our hearts for our collective brokenness and imperfections. When we can do that, we begin to see beauty and blessing where we have only seen mistakes in the past. This ability to accept and love imperfect reality outside of ourselves must begin with our capacity to accept and love imperfect reality within ourselves. So, for this step, I invite you to identify one area in your life where you have struggled to be patient and kind to yourself.

[00:36:50]
Find some quiet alone time and have a conversation with that part of you – that part of you who struggles to live up to your ideal self. I invite you to sit with that part of you; to sit with yourself as you would a beloved child or a dear friend, and just listen, okay? Give some space and room and time for that part of you that you're always impatient with. Let that part have some air time. I'll let you know how, well – how would that part of you really feels and how that part of your feels about constantly disappointing you.

[00:37:38]
And then after you have given that time to listen to yourself, I invite you to let your heart lead you to respond. Well, we've come to the end of this episode. In the next episode, we will be continuing to talk about boundaries within a marriage and what it's like to deal with triggers and staying in the discomfort when we have learned to hold space for ourselves, as well as repairing and growing together.

[00:38:13] CONCLUSION
Thank you for listening to Becoming Me, where new episodes drop every first and third Wednesdays of the month. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction. No matter how small those steps might be, and no matter where you might be in your life right now, it is always possible to begin. 

The world would be a poorer place without you becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingmepodcast.com and to subscribe to my newsletter as well as to this podcast. Until the next episode, Happy becoming!

Henry Hoo

Secular Monk & Husband

Henry’s faith and life journey has its fair share of ups and downs, knocks and falls. While he struggles with brokenness as part of his humanity, he has also encountered the joy of being received by the Lord just as he is.

Henry is passionate about personal development and has taken interest in personality assessment tools such as the Myers-Briggs Type Instrument (MBTI) and Motivation Code (MCODE). He has found silent retreats and spiritual direction helpful in leading him to deeper encounters with the Lord and is currently making his way through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in daily life.

As an introvert, he prefers spending time on restful activities but is also game for meaningful conversations, especially with a nice cup of coffee. Henry is married to Ann and they enjoy serving Christ together.