Redefining my relationships: Feeling freed
I am redefining what my relationships are.
Relationships with my family and friends, and my relationship with myself.
After being caught up in rather manipulative and dependent relationships throughout my life, I think it’s time I looked at the new ones that aren’t that way. And why they aren’t.
I admit the new ones feel weird, sometimes uncomfortable, and I’m not always sure where I stand in them. I’m so used to people latching onto me and dumping their problems on my shoulders that any other kind of love seems foreign.
I think that’s a good thing because I believe that means I’m making progress. I’m attracting different kinds of relationships into my life.
The relationships right now aren’t manipulative. The new ones, and even the old ones, are different.
And I’ve been thinking about how they’re different.
They are not needy, or demanding, or disrespectful or manipulative.
When the person tells me something, it’s honest, genuine, not layered in versions of the truth. They don’t try to reel me in with fancy words or ungenuine sentiment that goes nowhere.
I’m not used to that. I’m so used to being managed for other people’s benefit or agenda that spending time with people who are themselves is, well, very new.
At first I felt, well, a bit forgotten. Or maybe not important. But then I thought about it some more and took some time to see how the new relationships were making me feel, and I realized I actually felt lighter, relieved and freed.
And then something started to change inside of me. Some inner awakening was happening.
My behaviour changed. I no longer felt that I needed to “earn” people’s love by buying them gifts or anticipating their needs or sending them regular texts. I would be about to do one of those things and it wouldn’t feel right. And then I’d hear this voice inside me saying, “I don’t have to do this. I don’t even want to do this, so I won’t.” And I didn’t.
I also didn’t feel that I had to be available whenever people wanted to spend time with me. Instead I started putting my priorities, my wants first.
That was very hard!
I did it, but I felt very conflicted at first. I expected to be punished for my “selfishness” like I was in my previous relationships.
But you know what? I wasn’t. In fact it was quite the contrary. The people understood and totally respected that I have my things that are important to me. In other words that I’m a separate person from them with my own needs and wants.
And I suddenly realized how huge that is.
I believe that because I decided I would accept no more abuse in my life, my whole way of being has changed. And because I am different, the people in my life are different too.
It’s like a pebble thrown into a lake, and the ripples it makes out and out around it. Ever expanding.
I know this is something I am still digesting within myself. That sometimes I still feel selfish and that I will be punished, but that is waning with time and experience.
And as I continue to put my decisions first, I am finding it easier and easier to understand other people who do the same.
And I no longer feel selfish for wanting what I want or needing what I need.
And for me, that is the biggest breakthrough of all!
From the series, Because I’m a woman and because I can! by Jacqueline Snider, writer and editor
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