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My Personal Struggle
I am going, to be honest. I am not good at relationships- ANY type. It may even appear to others, on the outside that I am good at them. But, they truly are the hardest thing for me to deal with. And I feel like I am not alone in this. Which is why I wanted to write this post.
I am sure in the future I will dive deeper into this topic, covering the specifics, but for now, I am going to be pretty general.
I don’t know about you, but for me, being alone, in my own space, doing something I like, is the most peaceful place to be. There is no one I have to bend to, think about when I want to change the channel, or consider on any level. There is just me. I can annoy myself sometimes but I know how to deal with it. I have gotten to know myself so well, that I can just create a space for myself that will allow me to feel better.
Can’t Change Others
When I am with others, I want them to feel good and be at peace as well. But, trying to do this for someone, unless they outright ask you, is nearly impossible. So not only, is it hard dealing with negative people (because of obvious repercussions) but also, the fact that you really can’t do anything to change their present state of mind. You may be able to temporarily lighten the mood by making them laugh, or encourage them through advice and support. However, the outcome is NEVER guaranteed!
It is not that I want to change others…OK maybe a part of me does. But it is not only for selfish reasons (i.e. I can enjoy their company more and be more relaxed) BUT, it is also because I have this deep desire to want to HELP them, so they truly can feel better. It breaks my heart, when I KNOW I can provide them with something that can help but all I get is a CLOSED door.
People naturally do this. Even if they say they want help. Their actions tell a much different story! Probably deep down they do- BUT their habits of thoughts and behaviors pull them away from this desire and self-sabotage rears its ugly head. Trust me, I know, I have been there- and still struggle with this.
Although I can empathize greatly, it actually only makes it harder. A part of me becomes a part of them. I am affected on a deep level, positively or negatively by others. However, in the last decade, I have become much better at “separating” myself energetically and emotionally.
I have learned from a mental standpoint, that their issues, is just that, THEIR ISSUES. Not mine! So, I have NO responsibility to take it on as my own. It is not my job to fix them or their problems. They are responsible for themselves.
Also, becoming an Energy Therapist has greatly helped me in “protecting” myself from others junk. By protecting, I mean working with energy so, that my “field” (or better known as aura) is not penetrated by theirs. There are several ways to put up energetic barriers. As well as, there are ways you can “cleanse” your aura after you have been around others that were not so positive. Here is an effective and comprehensive guide to getting you started: Express Energy Healing Guide.
I am not saying that my energy is any better. BUT, I have learned ways to increase the vibration to an extent. However, I have come to a place where I can’t seem to get past certain walls which stops me reaching even higher vibrations. After all, I am human and I still have my own issues to work through- ha!
Separation for Safety Reasons
For instance, days like today where I am physically sick, emotionally drained, stressed out about life and fit the famous description “Debbie the downer”, I try to stay far, far away from people. Why? Because I don’t want to burden them with my junk! I know my issues, are only MY issues. They aren’t for anyone else to fix. Unless I am paying someone money or equalling reimbursing them for their time and energy, it does not feel right to dump on them.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a cave I can hide away in to get away from everyone (my poor husband and child-eek!) So, I am still learning to give myself just enough space, that I can work some things out without having my crappy energy seep into their lives. But, again I am human, and when a mere human is sleep-deprived, sick, etc. their ability to filter things go way down.
Even still, I WISH I could control all of my emotions and work out ALL my issues so I would never lash out in any way to anyone ever again. But that’s unfortunately not realistic. So what I can I do? Well, many sources have said to FORGIVE me.
The Struggle to Forgive Me
But how? When I feel their pain I’ve caused. I don’t just mean that I see their pain or “know” that I hurt them but I actually feel it. Like it happened to me. Then, guess what sets in? GUILT and SHAME.
I feel like I am forever tortured by these emotions. It is the hardest thing to forgive yourself and let go of all the shame and guilt you carry for every little “bad” thing you did. I believe this is what drags me down the most.
Because it can become a vicious cycle. Guilt and shame lead to low self-worth. And low self-worth can cause over-compensated ego, which leads to more possible hurts. When you feel crappy about yourself, you’re extra defensive which leads to things like arguments, regrettable words used, etc.
It has been a long journey in dealing with my own self-worth, but when I stick to my energetic tools, it is quickly transformed. If you are interested in helping heal your low self-worth, check out my free gift here.
I am sure many of you have heard of “walls” being put up in relationships. Well, I am a master at this. Even before I started with energy work, I did this all the time and pushed people away.
The reasons for this are a little complex and long stories- so I won’t get into it here. However, I will say that the basis to all them is FEAR. Fear of getting hurt in some way (abandoned, abused, etc.). In order to break any walls- trust needs to be present.
The weird thing is, is that the more spiritually and energetically aware I have become, the more I don’t trust people. WHY? Because I can see right through the layers of ego-ic bullsh*t. I can see why they are operating the way they are. I can also see how close or far away they are from breaking through that barrier to become clear and aware. And usually, they are pretty far.
You see, I would like to tell people in literally two sentences the bottom line of how their perspective needs to change and why but I can’t because all I will get is defense. So, if, and ONLY IF, they ask for my assistance (more so professionally), I will let them know the truth in a helpful and compassionate matter. BUT, I will only give them what I know they can handle (or what they are ready to let go of).
Needless to say, this actually created more walls in my relationships. Because your friends and family don’t want to hear the emotional, psychological, or energetic truth of their situation. I have to be EXTRA careful because most of the time, they are not asking for my advice.
Most people just want to be listened to (myself included, by the way- haha!). They don’t want to feel judged and they simply want a compassionate ear on the other side of the conversation. This, I can certainly do, but sometimes, (because of my own ego) it is difficult to “bite my tongue” and the wrong things come out, at the wrong time- eesh!
The 3 Ingredients to ANY Healthy Relationship
I am guessing you are reading this because you DO want some sort of advice on relationships, right? Can I assume you won’t get mad at me for offering tips on this subject? Sorry, that was my insecure, socially awkward-self talking. Ok, now back to business and little tough love 😛
In my experience, observation, and education/research, there are 3 very important ingredients that can help elicit a healthy relationship. Again, I am not necessarily an expert on how to fully put these into realization but, I do believe with a determined heart and practice, any relationship can be healed and transformed into something amazing!
As said above, all people really want is someone to truly listen to them with compassion. This is really why most people get therapy of some sort because a therapist is trained to listen in this way. And your average person simply sucks at this skill. Especially in this technology-focused era where the phone rules many people’s attention.
So what IS compassionate listening? Well, in psychology there is a term called “active listening”. Active listening means not just “hearing” what the person is talking about, but actually hearing what the person is saying and responding in a manner that lets them know you have not only heard the words but, you are understanding them (or at least trying your best).
For example, your friend may be talking about her trip down south and complaining that it rained most of the time. Since a part of you may be jealous of the fact she even got to go on a trip, you may tune her out and hear only “something about trip..blah blah blah, too much rain, blah blah blah…”
Of course, you may get the gist of the story, but she will certainly feel unheard. She may even say, “Are you even listening?” As you are staring down at your phone. And then, she may even test you by asking you about a specific part of her story. Maybe she met a guy that helped her find shelter during a storm and now they have developed a relationship but its long distance and she needs advice. Which, could have been her whole point to the story.
We will never know what our friends, family members, co-workers, or partners are REALLY trying to communicate with us if we don’t truly listen actively and compassionately. This situation above could turn out in two ways: 1. A friend feeling unheard and unworthy of someone listening and, therefore a damaged relationship (especially if this is a regular occurrence) OR 2. A closer bond between friends and maybe a planned trip together in the future. 😉
How can you have listened actively? Well, first of all, put away any distractions (i.e. the phone, T.V.), make eye contact, and move your body language toward them (facing their direction, arms open vs. crossed, etc.). Most importantly, when there is a break in the story repeat back part of what they say and/or ask clarifying questions, such as, “Oh really, you met a guy? What did he look like?”
To learn more about actively listening, and improve your skills, I would suggest the book, “The Lost Art of Listening” by Michael P. Nichols. If you are having trouble getting over your anger or irritation levels in order to listen (which is often a hurdle for family and romantic relationships), I would suggest learning more about compassionate listening. Check out the book: Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames by Thich Nhat Hanh to learn more. Thich talks a lot about taking care of your anger, as well as developing the ability to listen with true compassion. Doing this can greatly heal your relationship with yourself and others, as kindness in itself is a healing attribute.
It takes effort but it is worth it- to have meaningful and deep relationships that are made of understanding and respectful communication. Is it not? Many people have said that without good relationships, living seems kind of pointless. So why are we so quick to damage these relationships? I think part of it is ignorance/not being conscious of what we are doing. Also, that there are not enough people teaching or putting importance on these skills. These skills are essential to having healthy relationships.
Being vulnerable may be even more difficult to do then the compassionate listening. Probably because compassionate listening is a skill, not too many have. Knowing this, it makes sense that we don’t feel safe to open up about our true feelings and thoughts.
The best place to start is with people who you do trust or at least people that deserve the benefit of the doubt, because the relationship is important (i.e. your marriage). If, you feel they don’t have the best listening skills, ask to make a time where both of you can shut off distractions and give your full attention. Set up the space for good communication and let the person know why you feel it is important.
Working on these relationships first, before trying to cultivate other relationships will give you the confidence and skill needed to make other meaningful relationships. Just like, cultivating a loving relationship with yourself first is more important. And actually, easier than trying “fix” your outside relationships. This is because once you heal your relationship with yourself, the others will be a lot less work.
Being vulnerable is important because without being our true selves and being honest, our relationships will be built on lies, unrealistic expectations, resentments, and will simply be unfulfilling. And really what is the point of having fake and quite frankly, draining relationships?
Many of you probably have heard/ read about how important gratitude is to cultivate a meaningful and joyful life. Well, the same goes for extending this to our relationships with others. I don’t think there is a person out there who doesn’t appreciate being appreciated!
If you are waiting for other people to just show up and start voicing their appreciation for you, well you are probably are out of luck. Some things need to be initiated by yourself first. Who am I kidding? Probably most things that you want to change, will need to be initiated by you first.
My suggestion would be to start making a list. Write down the names of important people in your life. Next to each name list 3 things you really appreciate them. You can take it further by making a whole journal dedicated to this, such as this awesome eco-friendly one.
Now, it may take some vulnerability, but find a way to communicate these things to each person (without expecting anything in return). If it is difficult to verbalize, first try writing it to them. Then after some practice, be sure to say these words of gratitude in-person. As it makes much more of an impact when said face-to-face and verbally.
When someone is appreciated, they are much more likely to exhibit those same attributes that were shown to be appreciated. This is a win-win situation for both parties in the relationship. On the one hand, it feels good to concentrate on positive things about our loved ones and on the other, it feels good to see someone you care about feel appreciated and loved. Plus, the bonus of them continuing behaviors that you really like. And, of course, the person who you are appreciating feels valued, which is a great gift. Overall, this can boost the self-esteem of yourself and the other person.
Our Biggest Obstacle and a Gift to Work Through it
Let me ask you a question: Do you find yourself on the defensive mode in relationships and, equally find others in that mode as well? Me too (as I so openly noted earlier). I also noticed that it starts a lot of fights. This is because it comes from an ego-based state of mind.
Why are our egos so easily offended or get easily “set off”? Well, unfortunately, it is the nature of them. As they stem from our deep-seated fears and low self-worth. The less self-worth we have the more easily and quickly we are to come to our own defense. From this place, we can’t accurately assess the situation and make the necessary choices (like compassionate listening). This is for the best outcome of that conversation or the relationship in general.
This is why I would like to offer a free gift that I have found very helpful in dealing with my own self-esteem issues. Once we are able to heal some of this pain, it makes it is much easier to execute the behaviors above and make the most out of our relationships.
Today, give the greatest gift you can give yourself and a loved one: the gift of healing. This will allow you to make way for beautiful, loving and truly fulfilling relationships.