Among the most common questions I am asked are
“How do I know if this relationship is genuine?” and
“How can I be acknowledged in my relationship?”
This is normally followed by,
“In the first flush of a relationship, I struggle to stop to think of anything but attraction I am experiencing. However, as time goes on, I experience feelings of disappointment and anguish as subtle shifts become apparent. When I sense distance, I tell myself that he (or she) is busy. I react by putting my own needs to the side in an effort to keep the relationship right. But my unmet needs begin to chip away at me emotionally.”
At one stage or another, we each experience unexpected shifts in our relationships. Moreover, when there is no understanding of these sudden changes, we struggle to figure out how to respond. When we sense distance, we tend to go to a place that is not good for us; one where we become unsteady and anxious. Our tendency is often to believe that by remaining stoic and strong, we regard ourselves. Other times we make excuses for others and put their needs first. Each time we do this, we banish our feelings to our unconscious, where they continue to chip away at us.
I became very curious about this internal emotional and psychological landscape. In particular, I wanted to find out how we can allow and hold our feelings of disappointment and hurt while remaining steady and grounded.
The truth is that when we react by quashing our emotional response to these sudden changes, which include feelings of disappointment, isolation and loneliness, we disregard our own needs.
By scrutinizig our own beliefs about relationships; and who we need to be in order to be seen, valued and regarded; and who “the other” is, we bring to light the very subconscious, automatic and reactive behaviours we tend to adopt in relationships. These self-sabotaging behaviours often yield very disconnecting results. For example, in our efforts to be considerate and regard the other, we inadvertently undermine our selves.
I created Honouring Your True Self to bring to the fore our subconscious behaviours and the rationale behind why we behave the way we do when we enter relationships. This means acknowledging our subconscious needs and beliefs about who we are and who “the other” is. So rather than making excuses for others and discounting our own needs, we instead learn to turn towards ourselves. When this can be done with understanding and love, we act with compassion towards ourselves. From this place, not only do we acknowledge and accept our own emotional experience, we also see the other through much more present and compassionate eyes. Importantly, we no longer get carried away in the trance of the “story”, whose narrative stems from a very narrow version of who we are and who we need to be in order to be valued and loved.
By choosing to truly see ourselves and acknowledge our experience of disappointment, hurt or abandonment, we regard ourselves. From this place, we can attract wholehearted relationships that stem from a place of self-compassion and presence.
Conversely, as long as we continue to run from ourselves, we inadvertently project our unmet needs onto our partner. Consequently, each time we enter a new relationship we repeat the same patterns of behaviour in the belief that this time we will be seen, met and held. When we continue to turn away from our selves, we allow our subconscious to run the show and our present, vital, wholehearted self takes a back seat.
The first step in honouring our true self is to ask:
- In the place of a true emotional connection, am I inviting my partner to connect with an “idealized” version of me, keeping my true self hidden?
- How can I be regarded, seen and valued in my relationships?
Honouring Your True Self brings to the foreground the belief systems, life scripts and behavioural patterns that we automatically adopt when we enter significant relationships. It will also support you in responding to changes you experience in the relationship space you inhabit with yourself, and with others, in a meaningful and responsive way.
I devised a Self Centred Approach, which provides tools and resources you can set in motion to develop mutually caring and supportive relationships. As part of this approach, I shine a light on the unconscious belief systems and terms of acceptance that emerge when we sense an intimate connection with another. When these are allowed to take centre stage, we are no longer conscious and present to meet ourselves or others from a place of inner connection and emotional presence. Instead, we experience our relationships from a place of “story”, where we project our unmet needs, expectations and desires onto the other. We see him or her as our saviour, the one who will make us whole.