I was having a conversation with a friend of mine a couple of days ago and he was lamenting the challenges he's having in his current relationship. And by now, you guys know me. I'm sensitive. I'm supportive. I'm compassionate. And I'm totally impatient with the idea that other people are responsible for making us feel we feel! Now I know that relationships can be incredibly hard. And I recognize and appreciate that the desire to have a partner with whom to share our lives is very human. In fact, I believe that it makes us better people overall! When done correctly, and it's working well, it drives us toward our capacity to be our best selves! And that's great for the whole world! Of course, the vast majority of us have also had relationship challenges. And there are effective ways of managing ourselves during these challenging times and less effective ways…
Okay back to the friend I was telling you about. He actually said to me, "Dude I seriously hope that I can get back together with her! She is awesome! I mean, you know… I'm not all that great. Whenever I'm around her, she makes me feel like I'm not that smart or not very interesting. I mean I look okay, but...she's AWESOME!" In an attempt to be supportive all I said was, "So you don't feel really good about yourself when you're around her?" And my friend replies, "Oh no! You can't apply your "rational" (air quotes here) stuff here! This is emotion stuff man! And we men have emotions too! I think I've gotta be more emotional with her. (Oh yeah, I think to myself, I'm sure that's exactly what she needs!). And then before I can even defend my "rational stuff", my friend says to me, "okay fine! Go on and do your "rational thing"! (More air quotes) Tell me how that would even fit in this real life situation. I was like, cool. Then I told him about some Emotional Blocks to Relationships. I talked to him about some possible ways that he might be making himself upset or angry.
Thoughts (Internal self-statements):
I'm not very (smart) (interesting) (attractive)… Why would anyone be interested in me?
FEELINGS (which we experience as a result of the self statements)
putting ourselves down, depression
BEHAVIORS (how we act then)
Acting shy, avoiding contact, not initiating conversations, etc.
While I'm not perfect, I am certainly not worthless! And while I make mistakes, I recognize that I'm human and I am likely to make mistakes. But I can still value myself and desire to be valued by the person I'm in a relationship with!
I need the approval of this significant person in my life or I'm no good at all!
putting ourselves down, depression
Acting dependent on the person for happiness, well-being, direction, etc.
Just because another person doesn't like something about me, or doesn't value something in me, does not mean that I am worthless!
And for the 3rd example I tackled his anxiety-producing self-statements!
I just couldn't stand being rejected or thought badly of! Especially by that special person. Or "I couldn't stand being feeling uncomfortable"
Being nonassertive or self-conscious. Withdrawal; failure to take risks, to become intimate with others.
I don't like being rejected, but I can handle it. It's not awful and it's not horrible! It's only uncomfortable, and it won't kill me!
Not don't get me wrong. It's possible that he really could be in a bad relationship. If you really do find yourself feeling like crap all the time when you're around your partner, maybe this relationship really is eating away at you…
If that's the case, it's time to get out!
Of course I could go on, but you guys get the picture So go out there and do your relationships up right! Remember that the way that we talk to ourselves can not only impact our own experiences, but also impacts our relationships! So...
I almost said "Good luck", but a really bright friend of mine (thanks, Marie!) pointed out something really interesting to me the other day. She said that luck isn't something that you have any control over at all and thus, you can't take any responsibility for what happens. Instead she prefers "Good success!" That encourages us to go out and do something and do it well. I like that!
***** If you have questions, comments, or challenges please feel free, no, feel encouraged, to post in the comments section below! Oh, I accept positive feedback, too! I'm just kind like that. 😉