First in the series of blogs on remaining true to yourself in relationships.
Are your expectations of the relationship in sync? Are you on the same page? Do you have the same visions of the future? Or are you singing from a different song sheet? Do you know what song sheet you are even singing from?
Being able to express your needs and ideas are vital for long-term happiness and satisfaction in any relationship.
Most relationships start with no idea of what it will be and where it is going. We don't sit down and state terms and conditions that apply when we first meet someone new, we have no instruction manual or list of likes and dislikes that the other needs to refer to before speaking to us, and wouldn't it be a bizarre world if we did? Well actually saying that Sheldon Cooper ( Big Bang Theory) always had a contract for his relationships which confirms my point, me thinks. However, without any direction or boundaries, we often head into turbulent waters with many rapidly sinking and some with a slow leak that eventually ends the same way.
So somehow, and at some point, we need to make our expectations clear. It seems to me, it is best to start as you mean to go on rather than reset or define our terms later in the relationship, which no doubt will cause upset or conflict but even then it may just save the sinking ship.
First and most importantly " Know yourself" and "Love who you are."
As a coach, I find this is the key to my clients becoming confident and happy.
I know many who think that is obvious and that everyone does that automatically. But, I beg to differ - having spent many years in complete and utter confusion about what I wanted, who I was and how to manage the seemingly impossible process of being happy, let alone being happy in my relationships. I was confused, so god knows what others made of me.
We are shaped and affected by everyone we come into contact with, right from our first day on earth. We become a reflection of those that nurtured us and those that taught us everything we know and by default everything we don't know. At first, we take everything as fact, believing everything we are told. We accept it is as the truth and nothing but the truth, but it is far from it.
Some are blessed with being in loving, encouraging relationships and naturally thrive within them. However, that in itself can make the big wide world a dangerous place to be when we have not had to deal with the problems that no doubt will be encountered out there.
Others have learned, somewhere along the line, to hide our true-selves. Not necessarily from cruelty or any deliberate intent to cause us harm but it happens, and unknowingly we react in ways to protect ourselves which affects our lives and every relationship we have.
So the first job is to find our own way and learn what makes us tick, what makes us happy and feel able to love and be loved for everything we are and nothing we are not.
Second "Know what you want and how you want to be treated."
Directly connected to "No 1", but different nonetheless. If we don't respect this, we will soon lose a sense of ourselves in relationships and slowly become someone that we are not. Rules and regulations that are so rigid would make it impossible for anyone to approach or be themselves around us and is not going to work out well in the longterm. We need to be a bit bendy and flexible, but not to the point that we bend over backwards to fit around the needs of others at the cost of our own needs.
and clearly communicate that to others. No one can read your mind.
Third, "Listen and I mean truly listen'.
When we talk, we learn nothing new. What you learn when you actively listen to another person will give you everything you need to know to make the right decision and respond appropriately, respectfully. It is an art form and is beyond the obvious.
Fourth, "Respect others view."
You don't have to agree or even like them, but it is their view, their life and not for us to judge. However they behave towards you, you have a choice in how you respond. I love the quote " You don't have to accept the invitation to an argument" you can politely decline it.
It applies beyond arguments, it applies to anything that doesn't sit comfortable with you.
Coaching can help to address unhealthy boundaries in existing relationships or ideally learn how to set them before starting new relationships. Before walking away from a relationship it is worth investing some time exploring what is and isn't working within the relationship and ideas to bring it back to life. If after you have done all you can then at least you can walk away in confidence knowing you have done your best and it is just not right for you.
No two relationships are the same so call to talk in confidence about anything that concerns you.
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Next step coming soon...