One of the most difficult things in our lives can be our relationships. Many of us did not grow up with good relationships modeled for us and even if we did we can still struggle.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional home where my parents were either not present or abusive much of the time. My mother would often tell me how to feel and what to like. If I said I liked something she would often say something like, “no, you don’t like that, you like this”. This kind of conversation is un-validating and led me to not trust myself. Thankfully, my mom has grown herself over the years and today we have a great relationship, for which I am extremely grateful.
One of the four pillars of self-esteem is trusting yourself and my self-esteem was in the trash for many years of my life partly due to my lack of self-trust. I really had to work hard to know what I liked and didn’t like, one way I did that was through decluttering….but that’s another blog post.
So what are we to do as adults when we want to have healthy relationships but don’t know how?
The best thing we can do for our relationships is to change ourselves. When we change ourselves everything changes! I promise.
If you made the choice to live the best version of yourself…full of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness…every day to the best of your ability, then you give the people around you permission to live the best version of themselves, your kids, your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, family, the grocery store clerk, everyone.
The people in our lives will show up differently when we show up differently. This is true for a few reasons:
- When we are giving our best people will react to that. Most people do not live conscious lives so they are reacting to everything in their external environment including you, and kindness begets kindness so when you create a positive environment for others you also create it yourself where ever you go.
- When we live the best version of ourselves we will be looking for the good things in life and in others. The truth is we always find what we are looking for so if we are looking for evidence that our relationships are awesome and that we have an awesome life we will find it. If we believe that life is awful and our relationships are awful we look for and find evidence of that. So when we look for the good in ourselves and others we will find it and increase our relationship satisfaction.
- When you change everything changes, in part because your new way of being will create new boundaries. If you decide that you are going to be joyful and you commit to doing the things a joyful person does day after day the people around you will either become more joyful along with you or else they will leave your life, either way, you’ve created a positive change in your life.
Here’s an experiment for you to try, and like any pattern in our lives you must try it day after day not just once or twice and say it doesn’t work. An honest go at something is to try it for at least 30 days..so here’s a 30-day experiment for you:
Pick three words that you aspire to be…such as confident, loving, joyful, happy, generous, abundant, fun….there are so many great words to choose from, so choose three that you’d like to be and in the next 30 days live as if you already are those things. When you find yourself not where you aspire to be, just remind yourself who you are and start being those things once again. Do this without guilt, judgment or any other negative self chatter, just simply begin again. I promise you will have a different life in 30 days.
It will be hard at first because it is unexpected and most people don’t like the unexpected. But if you keep at it all of a sudden one day you’ll look around and everyone in your life is amazingly better and then look back and celebrate all of the changes you created in your life! Let me know how it goes!