Stop Compromising Yourself
Relationships – can’t live with ‘em can’t live without ‘em…
We all want to be happy and feel good in our relationships, however more often than not we find ourselves in a place of frustration, confusion, resignation, or cynicism and we’re left feeling awkward and anxious.
- “I can’t say that because they’ll freak out!”
- “I can’t be honest because I’ll get fired!”
- “I can’t do that because my mother-in-law will never let it go!”
- “I can’t take that risk because they won’t respect me if I fail!”
- “I can’t say that because he’ll take it so personally!”
Although it might feel kind of normal to have that stuff happening, and you may think ‘that’s just how it is’, there is a better way – a better way to connect and build relationships with the important people in your life.
Let’s start here:
I think for most of us we typically look at the relationships in our lives from the perspective of what is it that I need to do/ fix/ change in order to get the other person to behave in a particular way. I think we do this, and I think it’s generally a fairly unconscious thing.
We say things like:
- I just need him to _____
- If only she would just ______
- I really want them to like me so I’m going to ______
- I wish they would ______
I know I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get other people to do things (like me, love me, respect me, include me, be my friend, be truthful, stand by me, stand up for me, accept me…) and by so doing I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my behavior needed to be in order to get what I wanted.
Not a great recipe for long-term relational success because that type of behavior stops me from showing up authentically and forces me to act ‘in-order-to’ get something.
I need to be clear here, none of this ‘stuff’ was ever coming from a place of me taking advantage of someone, intentionally hurting them, or using them. I only ever wanted to contribute to them, give to them, love them, help them, etc. I just wanted to be liked – just like the rest of us.
The hard lesson I learned along the way is that it’s never about them, it’s always about me. I was never giving myself the love, respect, truth, acceptance, and support that I was craving. I was too busy trying to figure out how to get it from external sources instead of cultivating it inside of myself.
Inevitably that puts me in a position where I have no power. If I’m looking for external sources to provide me with the things I crave – which essentially is some sense of acceptance approval and worthiness – I’ll never truly have it in my life. When it comes from an external source it can be taken away from me at any time. Which means, if I get those things from someone else, I constantly have to work to maintain it. If I lose it or they take it away, I’m crushed.
When my love, respect, truth, acceptance, and support comes from ME because I’ve decided I AM WORTH IT AND I DESERVE IT, then it can’t be taken away from me simply because someone else doesn’t agree with me, doesn’t like my actions, or the stand I take for myself.
This is a pretty simple concept when you take a step back and look at it with a logical and rational mind. The trouble is (although we like to pretend this isn’t the truth) us human beings rarely operate from a purely rational and logical place. Our feelings, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs typically get in the way and in turn determine how we’re going to act in various situations. The more challenging a situation, the further away from logic and rationale we move.
Why do we do this? Because unconsciously, we are drawn to the familiar: familiar behaviours, familiar language, familiar relationship patterns. Familiar = comfortable, and comfortable feels safe.
What does that even mean? Well, on a surface level during our lives we have figured out behaviors, beliefs, and thoughts that got us to where we are right not. Regardless of the actual level of success these things have garnered, they still got us this far so we tend to rely on them as we continue the journey forward.
This might include things like:
- Yelling makes people listen to me
- Crying makes people stop yelling
- Avoiding is safer than confronting
- Ignoring something is easier than challenging
- Pretending it’s not a problem is easier than conflict
- Having the ‘right answer’ makes people respect me
- Passive-aggressive snipes are easier than speaking my truth
You get the idea…
From an observational perspective, you can see that these things don’t really work to powerfully get you what you want. In the long run they cause way more upset and dysfunction in your relationships (with others as well as yourself) than mustering up the courage to deal with the discomfort learning more powerful solutions. But since we’re not in-the-moment-rational-thinkers, we don’t typically go there.
On a deeper level these behaviors and the idea of ‘the unconscious’ pulling us towards the familiar, are both connected or related to what you believe to be true about yourself.
“You act on the outside the way you feel on the inside.”
~ Tracy McMillan
What does that mean?
I know. It sounds simple but it’s a bit bewildering when you try and explain it. See if this helps:
- If I seek approval or validation from external sources, I likely haven’t given it to myself.
- If I act out in an angry way or feel like something is unjust, I am likely denying a truth about myself – a truth I probably don’t even know about.
- If I am depressed or anxious, I am likely repressing some feelings or emotions.
- If I am judgmental, I am likely judging and therefore unaccepting of myself – or living in the world of “I’m not good enough”.
- If I am always blaming or projecting things onto others I am likely feeling out of control and powerless internally.
- If I am always working to fix, change, or control others I am likely feeling really insecure with myself.
There’s nothing better than living a fully alive life. With these kinds of beliefs and behaviors in the way – that’s simply not possible. Sometimes you gotta dig in and get a little dirty if you want to find the gold.
When you find yourself in one of these challenging situations where you’re following old patterns, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Where do I need to love myself more?
- What is the lesson for me here?
- What is the underlying belief about myself that’s being highlighted?
PS – Listen… this notion of figuring out your ‘familiar patterns’ so you can discover where you need to do some work on yourself can be a daunting task to take on by yourself. Working on your self is H.A.R.D…. and if you don’t do the work, you’re going to keep going back to those familiar patterns and getting the same results you’ve always gotten. Harsh reality, but it’s the truth. If you’re over it, over being stuck and not getting what you want in life, maybe it’s time we talked…
I only have a few spots left for new clients open right now and I’d love to work with you and support you in moving past those old patterns! Click here to set up your free 30-min consult call and we’ll – at the very least – get you started down the road to real success!
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