We often enter into two types of relationships – those that make us feel good about ourselves: confident, accomplished! – and then those that, well, make us feel the opposite: worried, flawed. Ever wonder why we even bother with the relationships that cause us to have negative feelings about ourselves? Me too – but I think I’ve found at least part of the answer!
One of the gals I taught in one of my workshops told me she recently started dating again. She’s in a good place to do so – her self-care practice is stronger than ever, she’s spent time getting to know who SHE is and what she wants. She has a relationship plan and tools in her relationship tool belt. She is gainfully employed, has other work filled with her mission and purpose that she is building on the side, lives where she wants, takes care of her body, puts good things in her mind and prays for guidance.
What Is It About A Relationship That Causes Us To Have Negative Feelings About Ourselves?
But, like all of us, she struggles from time to time when trying to decide who she wants to be with. Like many of us she is still attracted to what looks good and feels good, but perplexed about why that almost always leads to: “Makes me feel bad about myself in the morning.” And even though she has made her list of non-negotiables and written extensively about the character and makeup of her potential partner, she turns into a deer in the headlights when a certain type of person enters the scene. How many of us have been THERE before?! I know I have! And there’s a way out of the headlights, as my student found.
She told me about two men she was recently attracted to and interested in. One she had known casually over some years, the other she met randomly. The first person was handsome, courteous, grounded, and his words were consistent with his actions. The second gentleman, while their initial meeting was considerably more electric, was not entirely who he made himself out to be. Turns out, while he was interested in getting to know her, he was not available for more than dating, nor did he call when he said he would.
She shared with me the truth about their meeting, and that she could feel how this guy was like the type of guy she was traditionally attracted to. And at the same time as she recognized this, she also saw that she felt bad about herself almost immediately after meeting him. Whereas bachelor number one has been consistent, even and honest. Fortunately, because today she loves herself and wants a great relationship, she snapped out of it.
Sometimes we’ve just got give up the flames for the slow burn!!!
I said this was going to be simple and really, honestly, it is. Is it true these folks that “bring out the worst in us” have something to teach us? Yes. Or that they are mirroring a part of ourselves that perhaps we do not like? Yes, that is also true. There are a million things we tell ourselves to justify getting into a relationship with the wrong person because, often, it just feels good … at the beginning.
Learning The Hard Lesson
However-and this is a big however-Why choose your primary love relationship to be a battlefield of personal development if you don’t have to? In other words, if you want to “work on your issues” why not deal with your childhood wounds or mom/dad material head-on? Read books. Nurture yourself. Go to therapy. Delve deeply into your subconscious mind and free yourself from these imprints, low self-esteem or self-worth issues. You don’t have to spend your precious time with, have sex with, move in with, or marry them.
Changing certain self-defeating behavior is, like I always say, like pulling a jet plane out of a nose dive. But do not fret. With enough persistence and a daily practice of self-love you are sure to eventually prevail and, like so many of us converts, ultimately make better and better relationship choices, in all areas of your life! And I will keep you posted on our hopeful bachelorette!