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Being authentic in your relationships for more positive living

Posted Jan 12 2010 3:41pm

by NML on January 12, 2010

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I’ve talked a lot about boundaries, how actions speak louder than words, and how we can teach people how to treat us and also what to expect from us. I’ve talked about low self-esteem and how we choose partners that reflect the things that we believe about ourselves, and I hope I’ve given you umpteen reasons why chasing men that don’t love, trust, care, or respect you are a really bad idea. As always, we have to take the focus of them and bring it back to us, and so it’s important to start asking yourself how authentic you are being?

Are you someone who is conducting yourself and your life in line with the values and characteristics that you profess to have? Or are you being someone else entirely? Are you lost?

Do you know who you are and why? Are you prepared to reconnect with yourself?

So why is it important to be authentic? Because it’s a thin line between trying to please everyone and losing sight of who you are whilst you go on an impossible quest to fill up your life with other people’s needs, wants, and expectations…even though they may not actually be in line with your own needs, wants, and expectations.

Many of you will find yourselves acting happier than you feel.

One day, you blow, or it suddenly occurs to you that you don’t know who you are or like you or your life that much, and you turn that disappointment, anger, and frustration inwards and allow it to eat at you.

If we place too much of our desire for happiness in the hands of someone else, it’s easy to slip into co-dependency. In trying to be and do everything that they want in the hope it’ll be reflected back to us and we’ll feel the wonderful feeling of being loved, we end up allowing disrespect to happen and in some instances normalising bad behaviour. Then they’re gone, or we get wise about what we’ve been engaging in and realise that we’ve become incredibly distanced from the person we once were.  

I regularly I ask women (and some men) that I correspond with:

Who are you? What do you like to do? What are your hopes and dreams? What were your hopes and dreams before you got caught up in various relationships? What do you like? What don’t you like so much? What’s important to you? What are you good at?

Some people can’t answer me. Others can answer, but only by using the object of their affection or misery as a reference point. For others, getting love and holding on to it seems to be the only thing that defines them. And for a lot more, they’ve spent so long bending and yielding to accomodate the possibilities of someone else being in their life and realising the potential that they’re betting on for the relationship, that they don’t even know who they are anymore.

They’re people who put up with things they would never have dreamt of doing.

They’re lacking in confidence where once they were bubbly and vivacious.

They’re constantly afraid, second-guessing, panicking, and quick to believe what someone else says.

They’re also prone to hanging onto illusions.

As I’ve said before in my various posts about illusions in relationships, whilst I’m not suggesting that we all can’t hope and dream a little, there is a big difference between hope with a little basis, and living your life full of illusions.

It is the illusionary factor that creates a major part of the lack of authenticity in your life.

To keep up an illusion, you don’t see the person as they are, you don’t see the situation as it is, you don’t remain true to who you are or your values (because you’ve given those up) and instead you have to take on a role to maintain the illusion.

Do it for long enough, and after a while, reality gets distorted because you spend so long being someone you’re not, you don’t even know how to get back to the someone you are. Things may be a little blurry…

I can’t emphasise enough that if you are finding that you have to shelve who you are and effectively compromise your sense of self in order to be in a relationship (or attempt to be in one), something is really wrong. Equally, if you’re seeking out people so that you can create a ’self’, you’ll also find that you’re experiencing a lack of authenticity.

People will ask who you are. You’ll be effectively answering ‘I’m whoever you want me to be’.

Stick with the illusions and you’ll get lost and make poor decisions off the basis of your lack of reality. The further distanced you become from you, the more poor decisions you’ll make.

Before you charge out there looking for love (hopefully in the right places), it’s important to get back to basics and know who you are. As always, aside from having your boundaries, you also need to learn to like and trust yourself. It’s about listening to you and trusting yourself to do right by you, even when this means that you may have to make uncomfortable decisions and get stern with yourself. By trusting you, you can have faith in your own actions, making it easier to have faith in others.

It’s about that unconditional love of self – remaining true to you and keeping your sense of self intact no matter what takes place around you, rather than allowing every situation and person to take a chip off you and change how you feel about you.

It’s also about embracing you and ensuring that meaning is being created in your life irrespective of whether you’re involved with someone or not.

It’s about saying ‘Yes I do want to find love, love and be loved, but that’s not the only thing about me and hell, I’m gonna live my life and value it’ because at the moment, many of you are focused on just the romantic/relationship aspect of your life and your success or lack of it is then distorting your view of yourself and how you act across everything. You’ll end up trying to stem your sense of rejection and failure by pursuing people to fill in the gap.

It’s good to check in with yourself and not only make sure you’re being your true self, but also sanity check how you’re measuring your success. We don’t always know exactly why something is so important to us, but if success for you looks like the big L, that’s not a crime, but I would certainly question if putting yourself in pain in the best route to ’success’.

There has to be more to you than getting a romantic partner. Don’t close out who you really are, turning away from the things that interest, motivate, and excite you because you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole whilst pretending that you’re OK with someone’s behaviour when you’re not. You are not defined by one man or a number of them; you define you and if you live by you, that’s authentic, and hey, you draw in authentic people because you won’t resonate with the fakey’s anymore.

Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Make sure it’s someone you know and that you’re comfortable with – you have to hang together for a long time ;-)

Your thoughts?

My new ebook The No Contact Rule is now available to buy and provides a dedicated guide to cutting contact and injecting some boundaries into your life so that you can move on to a happier you. For a no holds barred guide to emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, you can also get Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl. For personal advice or analysis of your relationship/situation, check out my consultation service.

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