Don’t forget that I’m on a ‘break’ until September so I will mostly be featuring some of yours and my favourite posts from the archives. The following post is probably the most requested post for me to revisit and is part of a three-part series (I’ll post the other two over the summer break too). If you read the original, this version has been updated a little – enjoy!
They say that you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep, but this belief is often misplaced. We look at someone and when they say that they’ve been married or in previous relationships, or that they go to church, are a cop, seemingly have friends, and can be the life and soul at a party, and we assume that it must mean that they’re a ‘great catch’. It’s the dating equivalent of ‘social proof’ – somebody being ‘liked’ by others or having had a relationship past makes them desirable. I imagine it’s like when banks do credit checks with their checklist and bearing in mind that they get it wrong with more ‘data’ behind their decisions and they have computers to automate the process, it’s actually crazy that as humans, we expect to make big decisions with ‘data’ based on assumptions that isn’t necessarily backed up with the proof of ‘facts’ – actions and the unfolding of a person’s character.
Ever wondered why so many people get involved with attached partners?
We take the fact that the person is attached as literal social proof that they’re capable of being in a relationship and capable of commitment, forgetting that the act of cheating itself is indicative of a lack of commitment and poor relationship values.
- When we find ourselves with someone who seems ‘good on paper, not so great in the flesh’, we wonder, Where the hell have I gone wrong?
- We wonder why we see such a different side to this person.
- We wonder how they can be nice to others but not to us, or why they’ve loved others but not us.
- We wonder why they haven’t left yet, or they have but are no more committed to us than they’ve been with others.
This confusion about why someone doesn’t want us/love us, ties in with the mistake of having conflicting ideas about value. ‘I’m a person of value that deserves to be treated well – why isn’t he/she treating me in this way?’ ‘Why him/her and not me? What do they see in them when I’m the right person for them? Why can’t they see it?’ ‘I’m a good woman/man – why don’t they value me? Why are they throwing away my love?‘
You see the thing about value, is that it’s very much driven by you, so in actual fact, you can tell a lot about how much you value you by the company that you keep (or chase).
If you claim to be someone of great value and then you hang with someone who treats you like low value goods and stick around to try to get them to see and treat you like higher value goods (i.e. teach them to learn to value you), it’s you who is changing your value not the other party.
Your value is as good as how you treat yourself, the company you keep, the beliefs you hold, and the life you lead.
If you don’t treat you with love, care, trust, and respect, you hang out with people who in turn don’t treat you in this way plus you continue to hold negative beliefs about you, love, and relationships, you will not only conduct your life accordingly and slot into the merry-go-round that is the self-fulfilling prophecy, but you will diminish your own value in your own eyes…. even though you are more than good enough right now.
When we run with this line of thinking, it’s not the other parties that we judge or even the situations; we judge ourselves for things not working out. We attack ourselves instead of questioning and adjusting the thinking behind our choices.
It’s also time to get rid of the piece of paper, rein in your imagination and opt for substance in the flesh.
Hard as it may be to hear, part of the reason why we get involved with people who offer the least likely possibility of giving the very things that we profess to want and who require radical change, is that aside from having commitment issues, poor love habits, and dealing with an element of inadvertent sabotage, it’s also about inflating our own value .
Have low self-esteem —> Attach yourself to someone who will need to make you the exception to their track record of not being a good relationship partner —> Invest yourself in this limited relationship and attempt to get a return on investment —> Hope that if you eventually get him to change and see you in the way that you want to be seen and valued that this will give you an enormous boost, and make you a valuable, validated person = value inflated.
It’s also: Have low self-esteem —> Choose dodgy partner —> You initially feel better about yourself as you’re distracted by their problems and apparent lack of greatness = false value.
Love isn’t about having the power to get someone to change into the person that you want them to be just because you have ‘bestowed’ your ‘love’ upon them. Love isn’t about choosing reluctant, unsuitable, incompatible partners and then hoping, willing, waiting, and demanding that they make you the exception to their rule of behaviour.
This doesn’t mean that you’re not a person of value but it does mean that by valuing the wrong things and having the wrong perception about your own value, you undermine you and your efforts while also valuing you based on your involvement with others, veering between undervaluing and overvaluing you but never actually truly valuing you.
People who have already used up more than enough of your time and energy credits and who ultimately don’t act with love, care, trust and respect are a distraction from your own issues, seemingly making what you feel you have far more valuable. It’s important to realise that the way of actually being more valuable is to opt out of the madness and treat yourself as a person of value.
If you imagine you as a valuable property and you let someone move in that treats the place like a beat up caravan, eventually, no matter how valuable the property is, it starts to lack an appearance that is in line with its value and starts showing significant signs of wear and tear. People who pass by think ‘Man, I thought this place was worth a lot more than that but I guess I was wrong if they would just let it go to rack and ruin like that’. In the mean time, the property owner started out assuming that surely someone would treat the property with the love and care it needs and has now switched to believing that in time, this person will stop abusing the property and invest themselves in it and treat the property accordingly. Eventually, they have to kick the ‘tenant’ out, and while a little work is done to clean and fix the mess and damage, pretty much as soon as this person is gone, the value starts to go back up – I explore this subject further in my post on the Broken Windows Theory applied to self-esteem and boundaries.
Likewise, if you don’t choose carefully and live a life that is in line with the values and value you claim to have, it’s the equivalent of getting any old Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street and saying ‘How much do you think this is worth?’ and them throwing out some random, low price and then trying to explain to them that it’s actually worth a hell of a lot more and you being met with a blank stare. ‘Value’ is very much a perception thing and is a natural extension of being and conducting your life in a way that is congruent with the ‘values’ you profess to have.
Your personal values are at your core and fundamental to fostering healthy, happy, successful relationships but also to having a life with good self-esteem, filled with boundaries.
If you put that in reverse, if you have no boundaries, you will have poor self-esteem and foster unhealthy, unhappy, unsuccessful relationships because you don’t have values at your core so you lack congruency while also aligning you with people whose only values run counter to your own.
This is why I emphasise the importance of having an honest conversation with yourself and being authentic as opposed to having little or no boundaries, trying to morph and adapt to other people’s values that you don’t hold, or trying to get them to take on your values that they don’t respect or see, and basically losing yourself in every relationship you’re in because you’re so desperate to be loved and validated, you have no sense of self and have got lost along the way being whatever you think people want you to be. You may also find that you are inadvertently disrespectful to others as you impose your vision of things on them, tell them the changes that you expect, or try to force your love on them.
If you value yourself and have boundaries and values, nobody can come along and have you doing and being things that have you becoming distanced from who you are and also normalising bad behaviour in your relationships. By the same token, if you truly value yourself, and have boundaries and values, you’ll value and accept others who reflect your beliefs, and you won’t cross their boundaries or disrespect their values.
It’s important to note at this point, that say for instance, you’re involved with unavailable or even assclownic folk, while no doubt it’s apparent that there’s a conflict in values, it’s recognising this rather than thinking, I can see that it’s screwed up that they value this so I must get him/her to change it because surely someone who values these things must realise it’s wrong and just needs the love of a good person?
If you really are looking to be happy and to meet someone who you are genuinely compatible with, it’s not about having dubious relationship habits, finding your ‘type’, and then trying to make them have your values or abandoning yours by hammering the square peg into a round hole so that you can get your ‘happy ending’. It’s about respecting you by respecting your values and aligning yourself with someone with similar core values.
Ask yourself: What are my values? Then look at your relationships and see if they reflect them and if they don’t, not only will you identify why your relationships haven’t been working, but it’s also time to question why you essentially ignore yourself and identify where you’re inadvertently or willfully compromising you and in turn suppressing your own needs, expectations and wishes.
Ultimately, we are all free to choose partners for whatever reason we feel like. We can root our choices in shared values or we can choose based on toxic beliefs, appearance, money, sexual attraction, desire to change the person, assumptions or whatever but… we are not free of the consequences of those choices.
If you choose partners without true regard for shared values, you will not only feel devalued and in the end, act from a position of feeling devalued, but you’re be perpetually on the back foot feeling bad about the lack of shared values you never sought in the first place. You matter. Don’t sell you short.
- I’m up t’north in Hull with one of my best mates Nikki ‘Nac’ helping her to get her new business launched. We had a mojito earlier and have reminisced about some of the bonkers stuff we’ve been through as well as chatting about anything and everything while we beaver away. Cue the Golden Girls theme tune. Aren’t these glasses (above) so cool?
- I bumped into another BR reader this morning while getting off the train at Victoria! She lives two streets away from me and after shady relationships, she’s grown her self-esteem and is getting married next year. We ended up getting the tube together and having a laugh! I must admit that I did keep thinking, I hope she’s not staring too closely at my eyebrows… (wax time).
- Don’t get too excited…yet… but I am going to be needing some help from a few Stateside readers in the autumn as I will be shooting a pilot for a show… More details in a few weeks. OK you can squeal now.