It’s not you, it’s me.
Yes, it’s the worst breakup line ever, but there’s also a lot of truth in it. When we realize something isn’t working for us, it is us. We’re the ones who’ve changed.
Often, the greatest awareness of our own changes comes through our reactions to the words and behaviors of others. Things they do and say don’t feel right to us anymore. We become uncomfortable, bored or even angry with what they say to us or even about us. It’s nothing different than before, it’s just that we are now hearing and seeing things differently. We’ve changed.
For me, the realizations came in layers and I was resistant to accepting the truth of what I was seeing at first. But, no matter how badly I wanted things to be okay—to feel the way they had before my awareness—they weren’t.
One of my big wakeup calls was when I realized that some people (friends, family and yes, even mates) seemed to be energized by my struggles—they loved talking about all the ways I had messed up and how I could do better. However, when I had a success or accomplished something I was proud of, they became very uneasy and even distant. The stronger and more confident I became, the more they wanted to focus on my weaknesses. And as awful as it may sound, the truth is that the more disempowered, needy and in pain I was, the better they felt.
Making peace with that unpleasant awareness did not happen overnight. It took a long time to become willing to accept the reality of the relationships I’d created and to make changes accordingly. Eventually, the relationships changed anyway, because as I became stronger, I wasn’t someone they wanted to be around–we had nothing to talk about anymore..
So, why had I surrounded myself with people who enjoyed pointing out my flaws and loved to tell me what to do? Why had I tolerated being criticized and treated badly by people who professed to care about me?
I had to. I had been taught from an early age that my feelings, thoughts and even my own eyes couldn’t be trusted—I was always wrong. “You didn’t really see that. That’s not how you should feel. You’re being selfish by thinking that, etc.”
Given that kind of programming and belief system, it makes perfect sense that I would gravitate toward people who would tell me what was “right.” I had to. Without their better insight I would be lost. I also needed their approval, but that wasn’t part of the deal.
These kinds of disempowering patterns and “trained ignorance” are common in families with alcoholism, addiction and other codependent dynamics. The survival of an unhealthy family unit depends on maintaining the illusions, delusions and denials so everyone can cope. So, until we recognize what’s really causing the turmoil in our lives and heal it, we will be drawn to friends, mates and situations that recreate the old familiar patterns—and cause us pain.
This is a much longer story, of course, but the point today is that when you change, your relationships must change as well. When I became stronger and more confident in myself, the relationships based on my weakness could no longer work. And even when I tried to shift things to a positive relationship, those people didn’t want to be around me anymore.
A few relationships survived my becoming healthy, but most didn’t, and that was really hard. It left a big void in my life for a long time. But that void was also very important. I needed the time and space to get solid in my new empowered self before I set about finding new close relationships that fit the new me. I had to be solid in my new healthy ways so that I didn’t inadvertently attract people with the old patterns.
The really good news in all of this is that once you start looking at your relationships and situations with a more objective eye, you are already on the path to creating a healthier way of being.
I hope this article has inspired to look more deeply at what’s working in your life—and what isn’t—and that you are willing to look beneath the surface for the real reasons you aren’t as happy and fulfilled as you want to be. I hope that you’ll become more determined than ever to stop making do with what is only tolerable and start allowing for the option of having better—a lot better. And if you need a guide on your journey, I’m here to help. Just reply to this newsletter and we’ll set up a time for a free chat to see how we can work together to support and empower a change for you.
Things can be better, so make the decision right now to start seeing yourself happy and become willing to do what it takes to make it happen.
With love and light,