Relationships: Step 2

I am the flow of change, and I am grateful for the gifts that shifting brings.

You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day.  You develop it by changesurviving difficult times and challenging adversity.  ~ Barbara De Angelis

Relationships are dangerous waters for me.  In intimate relationships, I have lost myself. And the scary part about that is it can happen without me knowing I am doing it.  By the time I do realize I have lost myself, I am in over my head and feel totally powerless.  I realize now that my victimhood came from trying to be what I thought others, particularly men, wanted me to be.  What a stupid thing to do, but I did it, thinking that was the way I would find love.

The key shift I want to make is changing my core beliefs.  I want to believe without a shred of doubt that I am totally worthy of being exactly who I am.  When I put others’ opinion in front of how I feel about myself, I set myself up for feeling disempowered because I am giving away my power.   At the same time, I create a barrier between myself and others because I am setting them up to do me in.  Because they have the power, I am immediately one down from them, and that makes me unhappy and mad at myself for giving my power away.

I will never forget sitting in a therapist office and feeling imprisoned by the belief that I was not worthy of a healthy relationships with a man.  It had been a couple of years since my husband of three months had decided he loved someone else, yet I was still reeling from the belief that felt etched on my brain – I will always be attracted to unhealthy men.  Where that idea had come from did not require a deep thinker; my father was a pedophile.  He had been all of his adult life, but he had not been prosecuted until he was in his seventies.  By that time, I was in my fifties, and I had lived all of my life, trying to believe that he was normal, that my family was as normal as anyone else’s.  Furthermore, I had not been able to give up the idea that love meant finding someone that matched my father in behavior, but who was willing to say he loved me, which my husband had done – eagerly and enthusiastically.  Even though I knew he was as close a replica to my father as I would ever find, the fact that he espoused his love for me meant I had finally filled the void I had felt all of my life.

The only way to escape this self-made prison was to give up the idea that my worthiness is based on what others, especially someone like my father, says or thinks about me.  Giving up a concept that I had grown up believing was not easy, but what made it doable was seeing what I had to gain from the shift.  Freedom.  If I could envision the possibility of seeing this core belief differently, then I could move from being enslaved by how I perceived others saw me, to creating a whole new paradigm – one that put me in charge of my own self-worth.

There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. ~ Aldous Huxley

What changes would I like to see in how I treat myself and others?  What benefits do I anticipate by making these changes in how I treat myself and others? 

We have to believe that even the briefest of human connections can heal. Otherwise, life is unbearable. ~ Agate Nesaule