The Secret Ingredient To Better Relationships
However, have you ever noticed how frequently people try and stop the potential of experiencing that again in their lives by strategizing and planning? You hear people saying things like: “Well last time, __X__ happened because of __Y__. So this time I’m going to __(a+u=z-k)75___ instead.” or some version of that, because you know that’s going to be the difference maker…
It’s a pretty natural reaction – trying to protect ourselves from getting hurt again. It only makes sense that we’d use our previous experiences in life to help determine ways to avoid getting hurt in the future.
In the greater scheme of things, that’s not really the problem. The problem is when we focus on strategizing and avoiding getting hurt instead of figuring out how to let go of the hurt in the first place. Every time we hold on to hurt from the past, essentially our past is robbing us of happiness and joy in our present and our future.
For me one of the times that really stands out was in grade 8 – the usual junior high mean girl kinda stuff – and I assure you that wasn’t my only experience of getting hurt. For a long time after that the way I managed to cope with the pain of a previous hurt and of course the fear of it happening again, was to never really let anyone in.
Although I would hear people talking about how important it is to learn to trust other people and the value of letting people into my life, I didn’t really see the negative impact my tendency to keep people at a distance was having. It wasn’t until I really started looking at my life and how unsatisfying a lot of my relationships were that I realized there was a problem. I noticed I had a few different patterns going on in my relationships and none of them were really giving me what I wanted. The most troubling patterns were:
- Relationships with people I truly valued however they didn’t seem as deeply connected or committed as I wanted them to be.
- Relationships where I felt taken advantage of (and truth be told fairly resentful) but didn’t know how to stand up for myself.
When I started to really look at what was going on, I realized that I actually felt pretty alone. I was living in an emotional silo…
In working with my clients as well as listening to my friends and dealing with my own stuff, I now see that most of us don’t realize the grip this “living in emotional silos” has on us. It’s become a natural way of being to keep our selves at a distance from other people.
Basically it looks like this: even though you have friends, family, places to go, and people to see you feel like you’re on a team of one… And… secretly you’re waiting for that all too familiar Hollywood movie ending where someone will magically ‘get you’ or listen to you or love you, and everything will change; your emotional silo will disappear.
The kicker is that we’ve developed other coping strategies to help cover-up the impact this virtual silo has on our lives by giving us the illusion of being connected and related with others. Sometimes we even stay in dysfunctional or unfulfilling relationships because that’s easier than risking finding a new one or having to work on ourselves.
If we can avoid feeling the impact we can avoid owning the fact we really need to do something about it. That means most people don’t even recognize they’ve filled their lives up with distractions all in an effort to avoid feeling the impact of the emotional silo – which ironically was created to avoid the feeling of getting hurt. Again. What a cycle…
Essentially we’re hurting ourselves by keeping ourselves separate and not experiencing the true joy that’s available when you’re free to express yourself and love without fear.
Wondering if this might be you?
Here are some signs and symptoms that you might be living at a distance from the rest of your world:
- Overall your family isn’t aware of the details of your life.
- You collect “friends” on social media and only keep up to date on their lives by their posts.
- People in your world don’t really know exactly what you do for a living.
- You’re dealing with a health or relationship issue and no one really knows about it.
- It would be difficult for the important people in your life to explain what really matters to you right now.
- You don’t ask a lot of big or deep questions about other people.
- If you’re asked questions about you, you either: deflect, redirect, or become some version of defensive.
- You don’t ask for help very often – or let’s be honest, ever.
- You tell yourself you’re just “picky” and that’s why you haven’t met your match.
- As you’re reading this list you’re thinking to yourself: “I’m just a private person.”
So what do you do about it?
Well folks, there’s no easy answer. Learning to let your guard down and let people in is one of the most challenging changes to make in your life. Quite frankly, it seems counterintuitive and virtually impossible for some.
The short answer to breaking down the silo is actually to start working on trusting yourself. The thing is, when hurts and heartbreaks happen, there is always a part of you that knows “this isn’t a good idea” or “I shouldn’t do this” or “this won’t end well for me.” And every time we ignore that voice we teach ourselves we can’t be trusted. We teach ourselves that we won’t always act in our own best interest.
If you can’t be trusted to take care of your own emotional needs, how would it ever make sense that you could trust other people? And on top of that, you have so much proof and evidence to support the fact that people will hurt you and take advantage of you…
So where do you start?
Listen to yourself, your inner knowing, your truth.
For most people, trusting yourself is a challenge… you have so much proof and evidence from your past to prove that you can’t really rely on yourself to do right by yourself (could I say ‘yourself’ any more times in that sentence? yourself.) and that makes it hard to believe that you’ll do any different in the future. If you struggle with trusting yourself you might want to check out this post: Stand Up For Yourself Already and learn some key factors to help you be your own best friend.
Until next time ,
PS – Listen… making changes in life are hard, especially when it comes to drawing boundaries and learning to trust yourself. It’s so easy to get caught up in the concern for the impact or consequences those changes will have on you and the important people in your life. Navigating that space on your own can be really intimidating – intimidating and overwhelming enough that most people stop.
If you’re ready to look fear in the eyes and make a change anyway and feel like that would be easier to do with a partner in crime… I’m your girl. Hit me up for a free consult and we can talk. I know we can figure out a plan and put you in the leader role of your life!! I look forward to hearing from you!!
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