Let me ask you something: What’s it like to be in a relationship with you?
At first glance you might think it’s pretty easy. You’re kind, thoughtful, and generous. You have a great sense of humor and people seem to enjoy being around you. You’re a good listener and easy to get along with. Maybe can be a little high maintenance or dramatic or reactive sometimes. But even still, generally speaking, being in a relationship with you is an ok deal… right?
Before we can really answer that, we gotta look at this from another angle. I’m asking ‘what’s it like to be in a relationship with you’ from a couple layers deeper than where we usually consider this question from.
What Does the Voice In Your Head Tell You About Yourself?
Let’s start here: you know the internal dialogue you have humming in the background about yourself? It’s often pretty quiet and you may not even notice it most of the time but it’ll show up loud and proud when you:
- Putting yourself
- Try something new
- Fail at something
- Think about sharing vulnerable feelings (maybe you never do this because the voice is so loud??)
It’s the voice in your head that has a judgment about you. It might sound something like:
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not worthy
- I’m stupid
- There’s something wrong with me
- I’m a fuck up
- I’m an idiot
- I don’t matter
- I’m not loveable
- I can’t
You know the voice I’m talking about now? Ok cool.
How Does Your Little Voice Make You Think and Behave?
Now, can you get that the voice in your head creates a context for how you view life? And can you also get that it has an impact on the way you behave? For example:
Someone who has an “I’m not good enough” voice (or context for life) will spend time (unconsciously) looking for proof that it’s true while at the same time avoiding finding the proof. Someone with this inner voice might spend time trying to prove their value by overachieving or the opposite of that and never try anything because the grip the context has on them is so powerful.
Or maybe they do something completely different, but you get the point right? The voice in your head will impact how you see the world and in turn how you show up in life.
Consider, That’s Actually What It’s Like To Be In A Relationship With You.
The way you behave because of that internal voice is what people deal with in their relationship with you.
Let me give you a personal example. My inner voice likes to remind me on the regular that I don’t matter. When I’m not being responsible for context, I unconsciously view the things happening around me through that filter:
- If you don’t call or text me back it’s because you forgot because I don’t matter.
- If I have an idea or opinion about something I won’t express it because it doesn’t matter because I don’t matter.
- If you do something that hurts my feelings or upsets me I won’t say anything, instead I’ll withdraw because you don’t really care because I don’t matter anyway.
- If you make plans with me I always double check because if I don’t you’ll have forgotten about the plans and me because I don’t matter.
- I always change the topic back to you, even if you’ve directly asked me something about me and my life, because you can’t actually be interested in what I have to say because I don’t matter.
- If you tell me you love me or I’m important to you, I won’t believe you because you couldn’t really, because I don’t matter therefore I can’t matter to you.
Can you get what that’s like to be in a relationship with? There’s a lot of assumptions and taking things personally for me. Then me reacting to those assumptions and things I’ve taken personally. And then you engaging with those reactions instead of with me. It’s not fun!
It shows up everywhere!
It even shows up in things like when I order meal; if what comes to the table isn’t what I ordered, I don’t say anything because it doesn’t really matter because I don’t matter.
You’ll even hear me say: “It’s fine, it doesn’t matter.” about all kinds of things.
One time I was at a friends grand opening of a real estate development project and I was considering buying one of the units. I wanted to take a brochure but felt bad because I knew they must have been expensive to make. My friend literally said to me: “Heather you matter enough to take a damn brochure.”
My context shows up everywhere if I’m not responsible.
And We All Have A Version Of It.
Until you discover what your version of it is and how it shows up in your life, that’s what the world is interfacing with when they engage with you.
If your voice tells you “I’m an idiot”, one of your behaviours might be to never follow through or complete things. That’s what people are in a relationship with.
If your voice tells you “I can’t”, one of your behaviours might be to never try anything or take initiative for anything – always looking for someone else to tell you what to do. That’s what people are in a relationship with.
If your voice tells you “I’m not good enough” one of your behaviours might be to always have to be the best at everything, which includes always being right and always being better than everyone else. That’s what it’s like to be in a relationship with you.
Are you getting the idea?
And hopefully you can see it’s all bullshit anyway.
Of course I matter! I matter to my family. I matter to my friends. I matter to my colleagues and clients. I matter to people I don’t even know about! Of course I matter.
And so do you.
And you’re good enough!
And you’re smart enough!
And gosh darn it, people like you!
It’s taken me a long time to be able to see my “I don’t matter” context in the moment and take a different action. It’s hard work. It requires focus and vigilance to be responsible for something as pervasive as this. Sometimes I still miss it in the moment and have to go back and clean up any impact I had when I was stuck in my BS story.
And it’s worth it.
When you realize that it’s not just affecting you, it’s affecting your spouse and your kids – what are your kids learning from you because of your context for living?!?! – you can see it’s worth dealing with.
So let me ask you again, what’s it like to be in a relationship with you?