11. The Best Relationship

Hello, hello! It’s time for another episode!  Are you ready? I don’t know if I am. Daylight Savings always gives my brain an extra mental strain for about a week until my body adjusts to the new time.  

Today this episode hits very close to home because I’m talking to you about relationships, and I’ve struggled in my relationships.  In particular the one with myself.  In all relationships, it’s crucial to start with the one person you have the ultimate control over.  Although it may be nice to think that it’s our kids we can control or maybe even our spouse, hopefully by now you realize that the only person you have ultimate control over is yourself.

You are the one who knows you the best.  No one on this entire world knows you better.  Maybe you believe that, maybe you don’t.  For a long time, I would’ve totally disagreed.  I had no idea who I was anymore.  I was so stuck into everyone else, trying to help them, fix them, putting out one fire to the next, that I completely lost who I was.  I mean, I knew who I was as far as knowing that I am a daughter of God and I knew where I wanted to end up in the eternal perspective, but what about the day to day? Who was I? What did I enjoy?  Are my hobbies the same? How am I treating myself? What drives me?  It was so bad that if someone gave me so much money that I could do whatever I’d want and never have to worry about money again, I wouldn’t know where to start. What am I passionate about?

I didn’t do it on purpose. It can be quite easy to neglect ourselves.  There are so many facets with life. You’ve got the kids, the house, your job, your spouse, maybe school and then all the facets within each one of those.  I just got sucked in and never paid attention to myself.  Maybe I thought that if it was easier for them, then it would be easier for me. Maybe if I kept myself busy enough, I could forget myself and escape the uncomfortable feelings. 

I’d try to escape, but I knew they were still lurking because I ate to numb my feelings. I spent money to create my happiness, and  I was living at the effect of my life instead of creating a life I wanted to live.

When I learned that I could decide how I wanted my life to look, how I wanted to feel about myself, that’s when my journey began.  If you were going to build a relationship with someone else, you’d need to get to know them, right?  The best way to do that would be to spend time with them.  So maybe take yourself on a “date”.  You don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to. And if it’s hard to find time to yourself try and start with 15 minutes at a time where you can listen to and write down all your stories about yourself. This may be TMI, but if you’re feeling like you have NO time… we take time to go to the bathroom.  If you think you have no time, multi-task. I’ll leave it at that and your imagination to figure out what’s going to work for you. 

If you already know what you like, what your dreams are, what worries you, then move on to how do you think about yourself?  Think, what is your story about yourself?  When you can, write it down.  Even if it’s notating on your phone.  Although there is science that shows when you take hand to paper, the brain reacts differently, but if all you can do is your phone, or even just thinking about it, then start there. And, if you listen long enough, you’ll start to go deeper than the top layer.

Knowing yourself is one thing, but having a relationship with yourself is another.  Learning what your story is about yourself can tell you a lot about how your relationship is.

The way I thought about myself was rarely good.  I definitely had an idea in my head of how I should be and I was always comparing myself to others to determine my worth. My relationship with myself was very toxic. I believed I had to live up to a certain expectation in order for me to be able to accept myself and feel like I was contributing as a human. It’s OK to have expectations for yourself. In fact, I’d suggest it. It gives us something to shoot for. But if you’re using your expectations against yourself because you didn’t meet them, then it’s not going to motivate you from a place of love to try again. It’s totally possible to motivate yourself out of disappointment or anger, and I did that for years, but notice that guilting yourself to get to where you want, comes from self-distain, not love.  And if it takes you longer to meet your expectations, it’s ok, because you love yourself for where you are now, and it’s easier for you to keep going until you get there.

How do you think about you?  What is your story?  Because really, that’s all it is; a story. In fact, a lot of the things we think about ourselves are just made up based on how we see the world.  The story we have about ourselves will ultimately determine how we’ll treat ourselves.  And the story we have about others will ultimately determine how we’ll treat others.  We all have an idea about how we think something’s going to happen or how it should be and if it doesn’t line up with what’s actually happening, we think something’s gone wrong.  This is what we do in relationships.

I recently got a new phone and there are so many things that my phone can do. I know there’s a manual that’ll tell me all about its functions and features.  It tells me how I will get the most out of my phone when it’s working exactly how they made it.  If for some reason somethings not working, then the manual refers you to the troubleshooting pages because there’s a problem.

Growing up, as we learn and live in society, we begin to write our own manuals for how we think everything should be.  These manuals dictate things like how our bodies should react to a certain diet or how people should react towards us,  how people should treat us.  Some of our manuals say our kids will grow up to be a doctor, or lawyer, or maybe we think they have to graduate from high school.  Maybe you thought you would be in a different place then you are now.  Or doing something different then you thought.  

And then when it’s not, we automatically think there’s something wrong and we refer to OUR troubleshooting part of OUR manual to  try and fix it. But when you go about fixing most things, you’re trying to control things that are outside of you and that’s like playing Russian roulette because you never know if it’s going to work.  If it’s not working like the manual says then we think it’s defective. So, if our body isn’t losing weight the way we thought it should, or the way it did for others, we think there’s something wrong with our body or we think we’re doing something wrong. We think oh this body is defective I don’t have the right body.

If our child doesn’t graduate from high school, then something is terribly wrong.  I use that because we all have it engrained in our minds that everyone should graduate from high school.  But we know some people don’t.  And there are some who haven’t graduated and still grew up to make a huge difference.  So I threw that one in there on purpose to try and show you, that’s part of a lot of people’s manual. And you could argue that if they don’t graduate high school then they are just setting themselves up for a lot of hard times and less pay.  Maybe.  Maybe not. Do you know who else didn’t finish high school? Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Princess Di, and so many others.  

We don’t know what life will throw us or anyone else and if we try to fit people in a mold that our manual dictates, we could lose out on future greatness.  Don’t let your manual dictate how your relationships will go.  You could just totally decide you’re going to throw away your manual, but if you’re not ready for that then maybe refer to it as a guideline instead of a Bible. You know you’re deep in your manual when it’s something outside of your control that you are trying to fix because it doesn’t fit in with how you believe it should be.

It’s totally up to you what you do with your manuals, but ask yourself, how do those “shoulds” make you feel?  How does it make you act around others?  How does it  make you treat yourself?  Is it causing you pain in your relationships? Or with yourself? What are you missing out on if you’re stuck in the “this is how things should be” mentality?  It can hurt your relationship because you can’t just show up loving them, or loving you, for who you currently are, and where you currently are.  Being stuck in the story on how we think we should be, completely kills any possibility of who we could become. Have you ever been in a one-sided relationship where no matter what you did or said, it wasn’t good enough?  Did you look forward to being with that person or did you dread it?  Is your manual making you one sided?

If we place conditions on our happiness for how we think it should be, instead of being happy about where we are, then we create our own pain around it. But it’s all just a story and the way you feel about it could be so much different.  You had an idea about how things would go or how you would be, but is that story making you who you want to be?  Is the story making you feel how you want to feel?  If not, change your story.

Another way I was hurting my relationship with myself was that I was always comparing myself.  To others and even against myself.  As I’d compare myself to others, I would look at their very best and compare it to my very worst.  We all do that, don’t we? Her hair was prettier, her body was smaller, her kids are happier, she’s a better mom, she’s more talented, he’s smarter.  Comparison steals any chance for happiness or fulfillment.  There is no upside to it.

If I wasn’t comparing myself to others, I was comparing myself TO myself.  I was taking my past-self and anything good about it and then comparing it to myself today. I was comparing my past-self to who I was currently.  It would sound something like, I used to be…. better, or had it all together, or was more organized, or was a lot thinner, or was doing great at my job, or was showing up as a parent better, and now, I’m not.  Have you heard the phrase compare and despair?

Anytime you compare yourself to your past you’re most likely not going to feel good because either you’re thinking you should do better or you’re thinking I’m doing better which can then make you complacent and not look for ways how you can level up now. So don’t compare yourself to your past-self, thinking you should be better or that you are better. It doesn’t serve you either way. The only thing the past is good for is to learn from it.  All that extra emotional baggage can stay there.

If you’re thinking, I used to be able to do this, it just leaves you feeling bad about yourself. Maybe feeling ashamed or disappointed that you’re not where you want to be in life.  Instead, this is who you are today, and now what? What would I like to do for myself today? Would I like to try and be more organized? Would I like to show up better as a parent? Would I like to eat a little better?

Driving into our actions from a good feeling means we will have better results and we’ll enjoy the journey there  If we’re acting from the fuel of disappointment or shame or regret, it’ll just keep us stuck feeling bad about ourselves and wishing we could snap out of it. So what if you were more organized last year or five years ago.  So what if you think you showed up as a better parent last year.  What matters is today. How can we show up today being the best versions of ourselves today?  

Thinking we should be something different will hurt our relationship with ourselves.  And again, when we are good with who we are now, then we set an expectation, a goal, of who we want to become and then move from there from a place of love and acceptance.  When you do, think of all the possibilities of who you could become.

So to recap, figure out the stories you have for yourself.  Are they moving you in a direction that you like? Treating yourself like someone you love the most will help you get the most out of your life.  Did you think of stories you may have in your manual that are not serving you?  Rip those pages out!  Or throw the book away completely.  And watch out for the compare and despair trap. It’s a relationship killer.

When we have a good relationship with ourselves, we open ourselves up to add to our relationships with others. We can just be in the relationship and not need anything from them to feel whole.  And that is a beautiful way to create a life that you want to live.

That’s what I have for you today.

Have a brilliant week!

If you’re looking for a life coach, I’d love to be yours.  If you want to lose weight, better your relationships, or need help with crafting your confidence, I’ve got you!  go to myinnerlove.com and sign up for a free mini-session today.

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