The Turtle and the Hare show up in relationships ALL the time. It starts when one person (we’ll call them the Hare) feels like something’s not quite right in their lives, which can be anything from work to life purpose to health and wellness, and decides to attend a workshop, a seminar, see a therapist, (etc, etc, etc.) to try and make things better. They then jump into the realm of personal development, and suddenly life is fantastic, everything is great, and they begin to realize how important it is to do their “self work.”
Their mate, the Turtle, on the other hand is quite content with life just the way things are, thank you very much, and has no desire whatsoever to participate in any of the intense activities that the Hare has become “obsessed” with. While the Turtle fully supports the Hare in doing whatever the Hare desires, the Turtle is simply not interested in doing anything similar themselves, which drives the Hare absolutely nuts! After all – doesn’t everyone need to be growing as a person? The Turtle in turn gets really annoyed when the Hare keeps pushing, or even hinting that the Turtle is somehow less “evolved” than the Hare.
OK, at the risk of sounding way too much like a Chinese horoscope, I want to give you some quick pointers on how to keep this Turtle and the Hare dynamic from wreaking havoc on your relationship.
The most important thing for both of you to realize is that “self work” is all about one thing: improving yourself. It has nothing to do with the other person at all, even if that other person happens to be your spouse. Keep the focus on you.
For the Hare:
Perk up your rabbit ears for a moment and listen to this… Not everyone needs to be on a self-growth path like yours. The truth is your dear Turtle is actually growing and evolving and changing in ways that you simply can’t see because you’re too busy bouncing around to notice. If you slow down a bit and step outside of your own personal growth fast track for a moment, you’ll begin to see the ways in which your Turtle really has made changes. Slow and steady as always. And if you do take the time to slow down a bit, I bet you’ll actually be amazed at how much you haven’t been seeing lately.
And remember: No one can ever determine the right path for another person – ever. So know that the Turtle will always find their own best way forward. When they feel stuck, they’ll do something about it. It may not be what you would do in that situation (go find an expert, take a class, etc.) but honor and respect their ability to find their own way.
For the Turtle:
It can be hard to be on the receiving end of a Hare’s “you aren’t growing” mantra. Regardless though, own your own path, and keep on walking it. Whenever your lovely Hare partner is encouraging you to go make changes in your life, be willing to stretch outside of your shell and try something new. You may be surprised how much you really enjoy yourself. Understand too that your Hare genuinely wants you to have as much fun as they’re having. They want you to be leaping with them because they value being with you, and don’t want to lose you or leave you in the dust. Hares tend fear outgrowing their partner, and then having to decide between leaving their partners (so they can honor their own path) or staying with you and feeling limited or confined by your slower pace. Some intentional, purposeful movement on your part – even if it’s slow – can go a long way to helping you both.
And keep in mind: Anything that stops growing eventually dies, so it’s important that you not use your slow and steady nature as an excuse to avoid doing personal growth work.
Regardless of whether you are the Turtle or the Hare in your relationship, it’s important to realize that people have different ways of walking their path. And learning how to respect that about one another is only the start. If you really want to use your differences to your own advantage, then begin to see the positives in each other’s approach to life and personal development. Take the time to acknowledge one another for the work that you’ve both done. Find ways to support one another in ways that the other will appreciate.
Remember: If the Turtle and the Hare support one another as they walk down that path together, they’ll both get there in the end.