I’ve noticed there tend to be two types of people in regards to the way I feel when I’m around them: those who make me feel contracted, self-conscious, worried that who you are is somehow flawed or not enough? And then there are other folks that make me feel relaxed, expanded, closer to the best version of yourself; natural, free and enough!
It seems like it would be relatively simple: spend time with people who are encouraging and thoughtful and leave as little room in your life as possible for those who do the opposite.
Yet I find, time and time again, people CHOOSE to enter into relationships with people who – in the end – make them feel badly about themselves. I did it repeatedly, and I have some suggestions for how to snap out of it!
Here’s a story to illustrate my point: one of my students recently started dating again. Her self-care practice is stronger than ever. She knows who she is, what she wants and 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.
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 on the surface, which she has found all too often actually makes her feel bad about herself in the long run. 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. And forgets all that, as though she’s got temporary amnesia.
My student was confronted with just such a perfect example recently when she told me about two men she was attracted to and interested in:
One she had known casually over some years, the other she met randomly (although at the time she believed their meeting was serendipitous.) 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 a relationship, nor did he call when he said he would.
Sometimes we’ve just got to 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. Or that you don’t always, every second of the day, love or like who you are, so therefore it would be unrealistic to think that you would feel in love with yourself in this person’s presence every moment you are with them. Also true.
However, why would you choose to put yourself in that situation if you knew how it would make you feel. In other words, if you want to “work on your issues” why not deal with your childhood wounds or mom/dad material head-on? You don’t have to find a mate that rings your bells.
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 don’t get discouraged! 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!
About the Author
Maryanne Comaroto is an internationally known relationship expert, talk show host and author. Her weekly live radio talk show reaches millions of listeners in the U.S. and around the world. Maryanne’s philosophy is “Great relationships begin within!”