And I don’t mean literally… I mean when you see yourself in others.
As I’ve mentioned before- I’m not that great at friendships. Well, what I mean more specifically is that I feel challenged by relationships with women. I know there are layers to these challenges and it can’t just be summarized into one neat little package.
But what I do know is- it all has to do with me. First, I see the reflection of what I need and what I needed from my mother in my relationships with other women. Second, I see my own struggles and my own flaws in the people I get close to.
The unfulfilled needs definitely complicate things, but the struggles I’ve overcome and yet to overcome and flaws make it especially challenging. As I recognize the fact that it’s actually my own reflection making me uncomfortable, I’ve realized how unfair that is for the other person involved.
I’m essentially trying to save myself through other people. I always cross boundaries, take it one or many steps too far, give too much of myself and then get resentful when I feel it’s not appreciated or reciprocated.
The issue here is I’m not able to love and accept someone beyond their “problems” because I can’t love and accept myself despite my own perceived flaws.
For so many years I’ve been self help obsessed. I just think if I can be more mindful, more effective, more productive, more whatever- everything else will fall into place.
But the truth is I’ve been intellectualizing everything and forgetting how to actually love someone. You don’t love someone by working to. You love someone by just accepting them as they are and not constantly trying to change them.
Yes personal development is a wonderful thing but it’s not a prerequisite for being a good person. In fact, even if you’re kind of a jerk- you should still be loved and you should definitely still love yourself.
It’s just a matter of monitoring how you actually talk to yourself. Are the demands you have on yourself reasonable? Are you kind to yourself when you don’t meet them?
I recently was listening to a podcast and the guy said- if you think you have it all together, all you have to do is look at your relationships with other people to gauge how true that is. Are your relationships going well? If not- then you probably need to do some work on your relationship with yourself.
If you find it hard To be compassionate and patient with others, how can you possibly find it in yourself to be those things for yourself? I think you can really be in denial about it for a long time.
It takes a lot of self-awareness and constant checking in to be sure your not acting out of your own self limiting beliefs.
The best “method” I’ve found for working on self love has been improving my self talk and using “The Work” by Byron Katie.
Two books that I found specifically helpful have been:
Tell me about a time you realized your own issues were causing problems for you in a relationship.