Being the “Best You”
What do I know about relationships? It sounds like a cliché, but mostly that you can’t be happy with others if you’re not happy with yourself.
But how? By setting goals about becoming the person you want to be. But be careful what you wish for. If you really want respect from people and think you can get it by becoming financially rich, you will be disappointed because the only way to get respect is to give it. Many of us are afraid to set goals for the fear that they can’t be achieved, but without knowing where you want to go you can’t get there. Get a really clear picture of what you want and in those dark times when things are going wrong, use that energy to make positive promises to yourself about the life you want. The emotion of the moment will subconsciously program your brain to help you take the steps you need to get you where you want to be.
So now you’re happier with yourself, how does that translate to happier relationships? Spread the happiness around. Make a point of telling one person in your life something you appreciate about them every day. This habit keeps you on the lookout for positive things and lets the people in your life feel valued. You can take this one step further and decide to view the world as a friendly place, ascribing friendly motives to the actions of others. It helps to be sensitive to where a person is coming from. It takes a lot of strength to be this way. One way to becoming stronger is to keep learning skills that you can be good at. The boost in your self-image will improve your disposition. You pick the skills that you value most to work on: carpentry, compassion, gardening, gift-giving.
Somewhere along the line, I also knew that I needed to build a support system for myself. For me, that meant surrounding myself with positive people who I can respect and admire. I decided that as much as I could feel empathy for people who treated me badly (because I knew they were operating from a place of hurting), I knew I had to put some boundaries in our relationship. The way people treat you has more to do with what is going on in their lives than anything to do with you. Being conscious of the dynamics of the relationship is more helpful than letting ourselves be hurt when the people in our lives us are spreading their pain around.
It’s been said that we often recreate past difficult relationships. I know in my case that’s true. We’ve all met people who always have the same sort of troubled partner. The theory goes that we are reliving past hurts with the hope that it will be better this time. Recently, it occurred to me that this replaying of old patterns might be caused by the need to forgive the person who originally hurt us. I think that as long as we refuse to forgive someone we are doomed to replay the relationship. Forgiving, I think, means letting go of expectations that something is owed to us as restitution and being able to let go of the old relationship. I think we all owe it to ourselves to be happy as possible so that we can share our happiness with others.
So, here my challenge to you this month: who is the “best you” and can you dare to work towards being that person? I’m a long ways away from mine, but at least I have a roadmap.
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.