Changing Relationships

We are most attracted to like individuals. We find people we like that have the same wounds as us because it makes us feel comfortable and they seem to understand what we've been through.

Changing Relationships

I don't talk relationships much, but they can be affected by our choice to heal, so I think it's something we need to look at. It's certainly something that can create a lot of fear for us when we're deciding how to move forward. As usual, it's all about getting your brain around it. So, let's talk about how to see this a little differently to make your choices easier.

Can relationships be adversely affected by our decision to heal ourselves? Yes. Can other people try to stop us from healing ourselves? Yes. Does it have to be like that? Not every time, no. It completely depends on the other person.

The limits of our perception mean that even if we live with somebody and we've known them for years, we still don't know exactly what that person is thinking and feeling. We are not in their bodies. We are not having their thoughts. We are not feeling their feelings. We are still very much relying on them expressing what's going on within themselves for us to gain a clear picture of where they are at. And even then, the picture that we get can be very skewed and lost in translation really easily. No amount of explanation will ever allow another person to understand us to the degree that we can understand ourselves. It simply isn't possible. We have to keep that in mind when focusing on the people around us.

Relationships get tricky and it's easy to start being afraid of losing people along the way. Can we lose people? Yes, absolutely. Some may in fact walk away from you entirely. That is the reality of what happens. When we heal the wounds that have allowed certain people to connect to us, their ability to connect to us goes away or is diminished greatly. From their perspective if they feel like they have lost their connection to you, they may walk away from the relationship and find somebody else that they can connect with wound to wound.

We are most attracted to like individuals. We find people we like that have the same wounds as us because it makes us feel comfortable and they seem to understand what we've been through. This creates the idea of validation. They can validate our wounds for us because they've experienced similar wounds. That validation makes us feel better and that's why we seek it out.

When we are no longer walking around wounded, it creates a disconnection with the people around us that connected to us because of our wounds. Unless they choose to heal as well, this is a group that will probably walk away from you at some point in your healing process.

Does this have to be a big, dramatic event? Absolutely not. Relationships can simply drift apart. No major conversation or confrontation needs to take place. We can simply stop texting each other and the relationship ends just like that. It doesn't have to be a big deal if it doesn't need to be. But not all relationships work like that.

It may be that you married a person like this for yourself. You connected to this person wound to wound so deeply that you married them. It happens more often that we admit to or are even aware of. Then what?

The decision to heal gets more complicated, doesn't it? It means accepting that the goal could include the end of an important relationship in your life. This adds a layer to the decision to heal that most of us don't want to confront. We'd rather ignore the whole thing so that we don't rock the boat too much. We don't want to hurt anybody. We're not trying to end our marriage. We don't want people to be upset with us. But, we can't stay where we are either. What do we do?

Question your priorities. Where are you on your own list? First, last? Not even on the list because you forgot about yourself again? Somewhere in the middle? Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship you will have in your life. Your healing journey matters because that's what heals your connection to yourself. That's what puts your power back inside of you. That's what gives you the power to attract people to you based on more than which wound you share.

When you decide to avoid healing because you want to keep things the same and you don't want to upset anybody, think about where that puts you on your own list. You're sacrificing yourself for other people and potentially to maintain circumstances you don't even like. Why are you punishing yourself?

You think it's just easier and that's why you do it. You don't see it as a sacrifice, you see it as avoiding the headache and the problem of it. But it's more than that. You end up sacrificing yourself because you decide it's easier to stay miserable. Is it really easier to stay miserable or is it just convenient?

We make the relationships an excuse because if we can blame our spouse or partner for not being willing to change, then we don't have to change either. Do you see the story?

"They won't change so I can't change. I'm stuck because of them. It's not fair to them if I do this for myself."  But what about you? Why are they more important than you are?

"It's selfish." For who? If they decide that you shouldn't heal because they want to make themselves feel better then yes, that's very selfish for them. But you deciding to heal for yourself is not selfish at all. You're actually doing the people around you a favor because you're showing them what's possible. You're showing them how to be okay in their own skin. You're showing them how to heal. You're breaking the cycle of pain that's present around you.

It's time to stop using our relationships as a reason to stay in pain.

We want connections with people and that's completely normal, but it's time to realize that we deserve healthy connections with people. We shouldn't be holding onto just any connection because we're afraid of what we might lose. We should be holding onto connections that make sense and that support us in our journeys, not hold us back from them.

The story you tell doesn't let you see that you're allowing the relationship to hold you back. It gives you an excuse to hold yourself back and then sometimes twist that into blaming the other person for not letting you move forward. Your healing is your choice. You don't need outside permission to decide to feel better. You're allowed to do that regardless of what your partner thinks about the idea.

When you make a choice then it's their turn to make a choice. They can decide to do the work for themselves or not. That's up to them. You can't make them do that. Nor should you have to stay in pain if they don't do it for themselves. It's their decision what happens next and it's not up to you.

That's a hard one because we tell so many stories about it. We make up stories about why we can't let go of the relationship. We make up stories about why they can't heal or why they chose not to do the work. We make up stories about how long the relationship has lasted, how much that person has been through, why we'll never find anybody else, and so on. We make up stories about not having control and staying stuck. All those stories do is keep us in pain a little longer.

Here's the truth in all this.

Making decisions for yourself to heal independently of other people may hurt other people. We can make guided, intuitive, heart-centered choices and those choices may not feel good to everybody that gets impacted by them. That in no way means that those are bad choices.

Even McDonald's can't please everybody. We will never make everybody happy all the time. We have to get okay with taking care of ourselves anyway. We have to make those independent choices for ourselves anyway.

You argue with it because you don't want to hurt people and you don't want to cause trouble and you don't want to rock the boat. But you also don't have a choice if you want to feel better within yourself.

The old analogies are true. You have to put your own oxygen mask on before taking care of others. This means that you have to decide to heal and move forward long before the people around you will consider doing it for themselves. You have to start on your own and you can't wait for others to go first.

It's okay to do that. It doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't make you evil. It doesn't make you cruel. It's more cruel to yourself to stay where you are than it is to make the choice to heal even when you know others won't like it. It's okay to take care of yourself.

Will there be surprises?

There's always the possibility of a surprise in terms of any relationship. What I want to offer you is the idea that you already know what needs to happen. You know which relationships aren't working for you. You know which ones need to be reconfigured a little bit. You know which ones are healthy. You know which of your friends are going to be supportive and which aren't. You already have a clear picture of this and so the idea that somehow things are just going to blow up in your face creates a fear that isn't completely true.

People will respond the way they will respond. We don't have control over that. What we do have control over is ourselves and how we respond to other people. This comes back to what I talk about all the time - you have to be able to be aware of yourself in the experience so that you can decide how to respond instead of just reacting from old wounds and habits of behavior. It requires conscious intention when you have difficult discussions with people to be able to stay out of the pain.

They may very well project a whole bunch of pain at you and you absolutely have to be able to let it fall, not take it on, and not react to it. But that means you have to be able to recognize it when you see it. Bringing your conscious intention with you allows you to recognize when people are offering pain. That gives you the opportunity to find compassion instead of just getting mad.

People don't like change. You probably don't like change. The single greatest thing that you will have to be able to handle on this journey is the change that comes with it. Things will change. You can't do this from your comfort zone. You don't get to keep things the same. It doesn't work like that. Because you understand the fear of change, you can be compassionate with others when they express the same fear in their own way.

Change isn't easy, but it is a necessary part of the process. How you function in relationship to others is what will change. That will change the nature of the relationship, sometimes dramatically when the relationship was unhealthy to begin with.

The reality is that the people that truly want to be in your life, will make the effort to do that. Some others may fall away. Don't be scared of that. It's part of making room for something new. Does it hurt? Yes, sometimes it does. That pain leads to healing and understanding. I see it kind of like labor pain, which hopefully results in a healthy baby. Some pain is good pain; the result is a good thing. These kinds of changes while hard, do result in something better. It's hard to see from where you are, but it's true. You'll only know that once you get by it and see what happens.

What relationships are you holding onto? How is that helping you or hurting you?

Love to all.