Whilst, thankfully, I don’t spend my time on the mean streets of Unavailable Town and Assclownville anymore, I have to regularly give myself a boot up the bum to ensure that I’m real with myself about other aspects of my life and that predominantly tends to be about work and dealing with stuff like family. However, the first time I really got real with myself as a person, was when I acknowledged that I had a thing about Mr Unavailables (emotionally unavailable men) and once I started on a journey of truth, I learned some uncomfortable but in the end empowering things about myself.
One of those things was that I needed to be more authentic and not pretend to be happier than I actually felt, because every false move I put out, was bringing more negativity and falseness into my life.
You are the only common denominator in your soap opera called life.
If I wanted realism, I needed to be real. If I expected honesty, I needed to be honest, even in the face of seeing, hearing, or doing things that may have caused me to be uncomfortable. This has meant that I’m not prepared to pretend for anyone. It doesn’t mean I’m running around creating conflict but actually, when you’re not pretending, it’s a lot more difficult for others to pretend around you, plus those who value you, will also feel relaxed to be real.
It’s about acknowledging how you feel, good, bad, or indifferent, and using that information to influence your choices in a healthy manner.
In the past, I’d know I felt bad by the flutters in my stomach, the anxiety, discomfort, the vague ambiguous feeling, and the familiarity that comes with catering to a pattern…and I’d ignore it. This could only mean I’d continue to make poor choices and create more pain for myself.
At first it was quite uncomfortable being that honest with myself, especially as it meant that I’d have to get out of my comfort zone, but the rewards were pretty much immediate.
I was opting out of a pattern that I already had overwhelming evidence was no good for me.
I also realised that whatever excuses I made, what ever negative thoughts I pursued, I was 100% accountable for where I was at.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been involved with guys who have pulled some really shady, assclown manoeuvres on me but when I made the decision to want something different, I had to be accountable and acknowledge my own very hefty contribution. That doesn’t change who they are or what they did but that’s the whole point – at some point you realise that it is a waste of time pursuing these people or making them a part of your future because no matter how much you change, they’re not going to catch up with you. It’s like carrying lead weights – they’re only holding you back.
Logic told me that not being accountable and outsourcing basic stuff like love, care, trust, and respect to someone else clearly hadn’t worked and that if I didn’t like how my life was, it was up to me to change that.
That’s hard for a lot of people to hear. We want someone else to feel the heat.
Being accountable doesn’t change the fact that others may have wronged you, taken advantage etc but there comes a point where we can either remain powerless or we can ask ourselves what is it that we need to do differently.
There comes a point when you have to ask: What is the point in lying to yourself? What is the point in staying stuck?
Taking current examples, I could blame the kids and other work factors about why I don’t get stuff done, why I get frustrated and feel overwhelmed sometimes, but actually, it’s because I’m disorganised and don’t always manage people’s expectations. Harsh, but very true.
In the past, I’ve said that there was no point in telling my mother why something had wound me up as she wouldn’t get it, but actually, it’s because it was easier to minimise the conflict. For Me. In adapting my relationship behaviour though, I’ve realised that consistent consequences and not appearing to turn a blind eye were far more effective. I didn’t want to be one of those people that complains about everything but doesn’t do anything to shift their position.
Likewise, I can laugh and joke all I want about when I was engaged but hindsight and the wonderful 20:20 vision it provides says that it was me who really sent the snowball rolling down the hill by accepting a proposal that I knew was wrong for me, just because I thought you’re supposed to accept when asked.
Some people find it easier to complain and blame than they do to actually do something. Don’t let that be you because after a while, your words are ineffective because they have no meaning.
I complained about not knowing where I stood with one Mr Unavailable. I put this down to a whole host of reasons and whilst all of those reasons were valid to an extent, when I was honest with myself, I admitted that I knew where I stood, I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. I also could have asked but decided that I didn’t want to come across as needy or wanting a relationship that I wasn’t sure that I wanted. I was putting myself in no man’s land – complaining and then rendering every opportunity to change the way things were as futile as I was afraid of what I may hear or even possible rejection.
The best thing that you can do is realise that if you’re always holding onto the past, the illusions and potential, you cannot move forward into the future. This means you’re cutting yourself off from real opportunities because you’re too busy holding onto something that either didn’t or doesn’t exist. I knew that I was afraid. Spending a lot of time reflecting back showed me that I carried a lot of fear around with me.
When we carry a lot of fear around, it’s difficult to believe that there is better out there so it’s difficult to see beyond what we already know and challenge that fear and think bigger picture, and medium to long term.
It’s like being in constant panic mode and doing lots of short term stuff that never really takes you anywhere. It’s like having lots of false starts and instead of fixing whatever is causing the false starts, deciding that where you are is where you’re supposed to be.
What are you kidding yourself about? Bravado is one of those things that can work with us or against us, especially when we start to believe the hype and forget that the reality is that there are things that need addressing.
What are you afraid of?
Fear that you’ll be nothing without them. Fear that everything they say about you is true and that they’re as good as it gets.
Fear that every negative thing you think about yourself is true – a self-fulfilling prophecy because in going out with people who reflect your negative beliefs they’re only going to serve to validate the negative, not contradict it.
Fear of being alone.
Fear that you can’t trust your judgement.
Fear of having to deal with whatever issues you have instead of focusing on them.
Fear that you’ll never find someone who brings out these extreme feelings in you.
Fear of loss and losing.
Get a more realistic picture of your fears. You’re realising your fears living the relationship pattern that you have. Break the relationship insanity and stop doing the same thing, believing the same fears, and expecting a different result and you won’t have to keep living your fears.
What part are you playing? If you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, who is that person you’re pretending to be and why? It’s safe to say that you think it works for you, but in the wider context, it doesn’t because pretending isn’t getting you to where you want to be.
Start having an honest conversation with yourself. You may surprise yourself with what you find out and you can find someone to like and love out of it and get real and develop your expectations and boundaries out of a more positive place.