After multiple failed relationships, I couldn’t take it anymore.
I was a smart lady (relatively speaking), but I repeatedly found myself in relationships that were completely maddening. I always blamed “him.”
But after too many years, I finally realized I needed to look at myself.
Yes, he was emotionally unavailable and not ready for commitment but I decided to figure out what I was contributing to the problem. Moi? Yes, moi.
To my surprise, once I started to see my behavior patterns more clearly, I realized how I invited the dysfunction into my life and fed it constantly, without even knowing. When I changed MY behavior and beliefs, a whole new world opened up for me and the “Unavailable Guy” faded into the background.
Here’s how I used to work in relationships (perhaps it sounds familiar?):
1. I was icy and relentless.
Some prefer sobbing, screaming or hysteric when upset. I preferred the flip side: shutting down and turning ice cold. I’d go ON and ON and ON, repeating myself until I was sure I WAS THE WINNER of this argument. And yet, through it all I refused to show much emotion, which confused my partners immensely.
If I was so upset, why was my face like stone? I was so emotionally guarded that even I didn’t have a clear idea of what I was feeling so I didn’t even know what to ask of him. My fear of my emotions made them a mystery to me and definitely to him.
2. I didn’t say what I wanted.
I hemmed. I hawed. I let him choose. I let him lead in most decisions so that he was happy, he’d think I was awesome and he wouldn’t voice displeasure with my choices.
Then, suddenly, I would get pissed because my life was about his wants. I ate his food. I went to his places. I did his stuff. After the 16th chicken burrito dinner, I’d flip out and threaten to burn down the burrito stand if I ate there one more time.
My people-pleasing ways ensured that my life would always be about somebody else’s life.
3. I did not show up authentically.
I was so deeply uncomfortable with myself, I portrayed what I thought he wanted to see. If he liked spots, I hid my stripes. But this process made both of us miserable. And it was unfair. Neither of us could function in the long term in the unsettling energy of inauthenticity I created. Logically, it could never FEEL TRUE (because it was not).
Here’s what I learned…
1. I need to be grounded in my emotional truth.
I need a regular ritual of staying in touch with my emotions. If something is brewing, it needs my attention. Because I pay attention to my internal side, I have confidence and trust in my emotional self. This confidence resonates in conversation and has significant emotional power.
I choose to create regular, productive conversations and talk about THE issue, not the last 23 issues I have had with him. I speak clearly from my heart about MY feelings, fears and pains.
2. Instead of people-pleasing, I began asking: WHAT DO I WANT?
It took me a long time to figure that out. And it is MY responsibility to figure that out. I discovered what I stand for and what I won’t stand for. I show up with my own wants, needs and questions. I chose to be courageous and put those out on the table. I make it clear in advance that I’m done with burritos.
3. I chose to OWN my stripes and find someone who likes stripes.
I really had to do my work to love and accept myself. This is so important for me to be able to love and accept someone else. To create a deep connection with anyone, it had to start with the connection with myself.
When I am being true to myself, I attract experiences and relationships that reflect what I want DEEPLY for my life. Showing up as my authentic self and effectively communicating my likes, dislikes and preferences lets me see if he wants to accept, understand and work WITH me.
Then I have the power of choice to decide if HE is what I want.
The beauty of this journey is learning to choose. I get to choose how I communicate, what feelings I express and to live as my true self. That true self is just as messy as anyone else but, now, I own it.
I don’t need to be anyone else because I accept myself just as I am: a work in progress. I learned to show up differently to get different results. This journey has enabled me to help women take charge of their personal and relationship dynamics to create a comfortable and secure sanctuary for their hearts.
My clients create true authenticity and find their powerful voices. It all begins with a choice.
Basically WE have every right to show up as our authentic selves and receive the true love and respect that we deserve. It takes courage, tenacity and self-love to keep moving towards our dreams of a loving relationship.
You never have to play small to be loved. Know that you are worthy of love and you always have a choice.