I Want to Be an Astronaut

By Greg Baer M.D.

December 9, 2016

Marcus came to me in great pain, asking me to make it possible for him to have a relationship with Marie, the love of his life. Some time before, they had been together as a couple for two years, but despite their great passion for each other, the same issues separated them again and again. Now they were in the midst of trying again, but after only a month, they had failed utterly. He pleaded for me to help him. “There is no one like her in all the world. I would do anything to be her partner.”

I asked him for a description of their relationship, and after a couple of minutes, I raised my hand for him to stop. “I have enough,” I said.

“But I just got started,” he replied.

“More than enough.” Then I instructed him to separate completely from Marie.

“But that’s exactly what I DON’T want,” he said.

“Doesn’t matter much what you WANT. It matters what you NEED.”

Neither Marcus nor Marie had ever experienced unconditional love, so I prescribed a course that would expose both of them to love individually, after which exploring a relationship might be possible. Marie did quite well, shedding the lies and pain of a lifetime, but Marcus kept hitting the same wall, over and over. He didn’t intentionally refuse to do his own work, but every time he opened his mouth, he spoke Marie’s name and wanted to talk about her.

“You can do whatever you want,” I said, “but the more you talk about Marie, the more impossible you make a relationship with her.”

“I don’t understand why,” he said, despite the previous hundred times I had explained exactly why. Until he was filled individually with Real Love and thereby healed from past wounds—becoming a whole person—he wouldn’t have any chance of participating as a full partner in a healthy relationship.

His objections continued until one day I said to him, “Marcus, you’re like a small child who has decided he wants to become an astronaut. There is no problem with lofty goals—that’s how people achieve great things—but great goals without extensive preparation are nothing but empty dreams.”

“Are you telling me that I haven’t worked hard to make a relationship possible?”

“You’ve certainly voiced your desires, and you have done some work—mostly working hard in all the wrong ways—but you haven’t done the work necessary to achieve the one desire you claim most. Again, you’re like a child wanting to be an astronaut. But when you go to school, rather than listen in class and do the studying required to complete your schoolwork, all you do is sit in class and at home, crying, ‘I want to be an astronaut.’ No homework, no listening, no preparation, just repetition of your dream, over and over. So when you become old enough to apply for astronaut training, you have none of the requisite skills: math, science, physical fitness, problem solving, leadership, and more.”

He finally got the point and begin to prepare himself.

Many of us have great dreams, including great relationships with partners, children, and more. But we have to do our own work first. We can’t skip any of the steps necessary to become whole ourselves.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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