Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sense of Self

I am a reformed trust tester. I would purposely share something relatively harmless—something that if my friends/test takers told someone else or didn't respond in a way that I deemed desirable wouldn't be soul crushing. While there is wisdom in being selective, I was testing people who had been in my life for more than a decade! I was testing people who had already proven that they were committed to the relationship. What I couldn't see was that my need to test revealed more about my inability to trust my own judgment and what I thought of myself than those I was testing.

Eventually, I transitioned and was no longer dropping pieces of my heart and seeing how those pieces were handled. I graduated to opening up and expectantly waiting for signs of abandonment. Any slight variation—and I didn't care how slight—in my interactions with others sent me heart first into an insecurity tailspin. My writer's imagination would go into hyperdrive. Scenarios filled my brain, all ending with me being deserted, explaining why our interactions changed. I expected others to walk away because that is what I felt I deserved. I expected them to be overwhelmed and exhausted with my pain because I was overwhelmed and exhausted with my pain. I expected others to treat me with the same impatience and harsh judgment that I reserved for myself. My relationships, no matter how strong or well-intentioned, could not grow until I dealt with the way that I related to myself.

It is vital to take a candid evaluation of your most important relationship. Elements of how you think of yourself are sprinkled throughout your life and your relationships with others are no exception. The health of all of your relationships is dependent on and intertwined with the health of your relationship with yourself. Essentially, your external relationships are a reflection and an extension of your internal health. When you have a healthy sense of self your relationships with others become stronger, genuine, and centered in authenticity and love because you are strong, genuine, and centered in authenticity and love.

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