We are all meant to shine: A vision for healing relationships
How often have you done personality gymnastics to be accepted by others, only to find that you feel empty and lost in the quiet moments of solitude? This is what it feels like to abandon the self.
One of my clients was wrestling with the “Monster Mind” thought so many of us have that to be a “good person,” she must do whatever it takes to be liked. If you’ve had that thought too, you’re not alone. But you didn’t create this problem. It’s a cultural story we’ve been told ever since we were little, especially as girls.
How exhausting it is to pretend to be someone we’re not and to diminish our personal magic just for the sake of being liked.
I’ve done that way too many times. I bet you have too. No more.
If someone doesn't like you for being yourself, that’s okay! When we accept that we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and vice versa, life becomes much simpler and it's easier to take ”rejection” less personally.
I invite you to a new paradigm where you stay true to yourself and let your light shine.
As one of my favorite authors, Marianne Williamson says,
“There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine...”
How would our world change if we followed the advice of Academic and Author Roxane Gay to: “Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses―pretty but designed to SLOW women down.”
Now that’s something worth abandoning!
What if we could build each other up, rather than tearing one another down?
What if we released the story that we’re not enough and instead embraced and rested in the trust that like Goldilocks’ porridge, we’re just right?
When an issue first arises with someone, we‘re given a choice to let it go by, talk about it, or walk away from the relationship.
If it’s possible (and desirable) to talk it out with the person, these steps below can make it easier.
7 STEPS TO CONSCIOUS COMMUNICATION
- Bring your adult self into the conversation as much as possible.
- Make sure it’s a good time for all to have the talk and share why the other person matters to you so much that you would risk the discomfort of bringing this up.
- Connect with your authentic self and really feel the sensations in your body, the thoughts in your mind, and the feelings/emotions in your heart.
- Communicate using “I” statements to describe the issue objectively and without interpretation—the way a camera would see it. “When I saw that the trash was overflowing...” Notice that it‘s not, “When you forgot to take out the trash...” We don't know why the trash is full—only that it is.
- Next use a feeling word to express how you felt. “...I felt sad/angry/frustrated/confused.” Be very careful to use an emotion here—the tendency is to refer to a thought or interpretation, like “I felt like you were being lazy.” If words like “that” or “like” follow the word “felt,” it’s more likely a thought than a feeling.
- Now, express what you need: “I need to be able to trust that the agreements we’ve made will be upheld.”
- Finally, strategize a solution by making a specific, doable, action-oriented request: “Is there a day every week that would work for you to empty the trash?”
[NOTE: The distinction between a demand and a request is what happens if the response is “no”. If the only acceptable answer is, ”yes,“ it‘s a demand. If it‘s okay to say “no” or to negotiate for something different, then it‘s a true request.]
If it’s not productive to have a conversation like this, you may be in a relationship that has an expiration date. Some connections are meant only for a specific time. It doesn’t mean that anyone is at fault; only that the shared path has diverged for right now.
No matter the nature of the relationship, no one is required to accept being treated poorly.
So far, I’ve been talking about the more benign relationship issues that tilt toward the frustrating and annoying end of the continuum.
For situations that are more severe where you are (or someone you know is) in danger, seek safety in a trusted friend, reach out for professional help, and save yourself. Your loyalty is neither a given nor appropriate for someone who is hurting you.
For years, I was confused by the limitations of common definitions for abuse. I learned that physical bruises aren’t required. The reality is that whenever someone uses their power or control over another to hurt them, it is abuse. Part of the intention of the #metoo and #timesup movements are to shed light upon this.
The spectrum of abuse includes emotional/psychological, economic, social, and spiritual abuses. If you need an escape plan, here's a helpful resource.
YOU DESERVE KINDNESS IN YOUR LIFE. YOU DESERVE HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS. YOU DESERVE LOVE.
This is my vision for healing in the realm of our relationships:
💜 May we stand strong in our truth with kindness and compassion for all Beings—including ourselves.
💜 May we say, “YES!” to healthy, loving, and supportive relationships.
💜 May we have the fortitude to leave toxic relationships.
💜 May we choose positive growth.
💜 May we all shine with the pure radiance of our own authenticity.