A Brule Breaking love story
“I like emotionally unavailable men.”
“I like women who are mean to me.”
That about summed it up.
After sharing our respective relationship history synopses … on January 11, 2017, Carl and I decided to try something different: one another.
We’d been friends for more than a year. Between our frequent phone conversations, we met for coffee, drinks, gelato, dance events, dinners, Smithsonian museums, watching ice skaters (fall) in Georgetown, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at night, exploring sculpture gardens, and other DC wanderings. One time, we literally met just for a hug.
Then, one night while saying goodbye, unbeknownst to me, he apparently tried to kiss me. As I had many times before, I went in for a big “see you later” hug – utterly oblivious.
The friend zone was real. 😄
Later that week, while chatting by phone, he asked me about it.
It took me a minute to process the information and consider whether “my friend Carl” could be more than a friend. After an awkwardly looooong pause, I hesitantly said, “try again?”
Our friendship began with salsa dancing. We’d met at a club we both frequented, a regular spot for the DC salsa scene. Predictably, we were both there again a few days after our telephone call.
At the end of the night, we walked out together and sat in my car with the heat on. This is where our one-sentence relationship history confessions were made. It’s also where he “tried again.”
I tell this story with a good dose of amusement. The level of honesty we shared, each in a single sentence, was funny.
But I now also see it in a more serious light. Frankly, I’m proud of us.
That was a series of brave moves! We chose – both together and individually – to risk not only the friendship we’d solidly established, but also to consciously disrupt familiar relationship patterns.
Rather than rejecting what felt safe, warm, reliable, and kind – reserving it for friendship only – we chose something different. Safer in some ways, but wildly risky in others.
Speaking for myself, I was scared. But willing.
Rather than the enticing pursuit of repeating patterns, we leaned in to already established warmth, tenderness, kindness, and care.
We stepped out of the familiar patterns of frustration and stopped chasing those who didn’t treat us well. We reoriented our compasses away from codependent complexities and questionable commitment levels, to seeing what the assurance of clear communication and genuine care could bring. We decided to build on the foundation of friendship instead of trying to bottle the smoke and excitement of fleeting fireworks. We stopped allowing hot smoke to be more compelling than building our own fire. We chose to recognize that what we’d each been doing in our personal lives wasn’t working, and decided to experiment with a new approach.
That was 7 years ago and we’ve been together ever since.
Psst… This is much more than an anniversary story message. This is a “Tara, what do you mean when you say brule breaking, and why should I care?” message.
Whether it’s your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, your day-to-day life – whatever it is that you WISH was different – when you break brules, new possibilities come to light.
Brule breaking has two distinct qualifiers:
- A conscious pattern interruption
- The sincere desire to thrive
Brule breaking requires BOTH.
To be clear, brule breaking is NOT synonymous with rebellion. It is NOT about bucking the status quo for the sake of being bold or different. Simply being contrarian isn’t what brule breaking is either.
Brule breaking = a conscious pattern interruption + a sincere desire to thrive
Brule breaking is about doing what it takes to make a change in your “normal” when your normal isn’t helping you thrive.
It’s about no longer unconsciously impeding your own happiness or perpetuating your own suffering.
Easier said than done.
It can be incredibly difficult to see your own blind spots.
And it’s even HARDER to break them on your own.
Breaking brules requires conscious pattern interruptions. Be it stopping or pausing what you’ve always done, reconsidering and reflecting in a new way to gain a new perspective, or outright change: doing new things, in new ways.
Brule breaking requires outside perspectives and inner shifts.
Brule breaking REQUIRES support.
(And, hint hint, for all these reasons: Brule breakers need The Brule Breakers Club.)
Brule breaking is not about risk for the sake of risk, or nonconformity for the sake of nonconformity.
- elevating awareness around self-limiting beliefs and behaviors that you’re not fully cognizant of
- challenging them, and
- learning how to implement change in your life when expanding your self-concept and finding out what you’re really capable of.
I asked Carl, “Do you remember who said ‘I love you’ first?”
His answer: “This morning?”
Neither of us remembers who said it first. It was unspoken until it was spoken.
We broke the brules that were in our way by making some brave new pattern-interrupting moves on behalf of a sincere desire to THRIVE.
And love grew. 💕
If you long for a space to challenge and reinvent parts of yourself, to see your blind spots, deconstruct your limits, and create a vision for your life that is all your own…
If you want to break brules, not for the sake of rebellion, but in the spirit of self-expression and self-actualization…
If you want to step into being the next-level you, follow your dreams and enjoy the process of growth and expansion…
If you want to become cognizant of the brules in your life, to see what’s been prescribed by social and familial norms, and shift what doesn’t help you THRIVE…
…. consider this your personal invitation to The Brule Breakers Club. ❤️
With so much love,
Applied Psychology Coach & author of The Brules of Life