Firstly let’s get clear on the term ‘relationship.’ We are connected to everyone and everything; in other words, we are in relationship with everything in existence. The world is a mirror, into which we look and experience ourselves experiencing.
Breaking this concept down, whoever comes into our lives is an expression of some aspect of ourselves and a link to growth and expansion. The key to healthier relationships with others is to get really clear on our own patterning.
The reason we are attracted to toxic or unhealthy situations is because they are in some way familiar, and feel comfortable (even while they also feel very wrong). The familiarity can be unconscious and subtle, so unless we can look honestly at the root of the pattern in ourselves, we’ll continue to draw in the same thing repeatedly.
We are energetic beings at heart, and pick up information from thousands of sources every day. All of these can be unconsciously added to the way we define ourselves in the world, until we realize this is the case, and work on remembering the core truth beneath.
Let’s look at a specific example. Abuse is startlingly common, and comes in many forms. It is often described as a cycle, and that speaks to the nature of unconscious, ingrained patterning. If you grow up in a household where the underlying message is that you are unworthy of love and respect, that is the only normal you know. The beliefs are deeply entrenched in your body, mind and spirit, and have become part of your own underlying belief system, even though they began as someone else’s.
Once the seeds have taken root, they grow freely, and become exacerbated by continued reflections of the truth of them. In other words, if you believe 100% that you are unworthy of love and respect, it becomes the basis for your way of being in the world. You will then draw to you reflections of that, which become evidence; your beliefs attract external support to prove to you the ‘truth’ of your beliefs.
The challenge is to consciously acknowledge that your beliefs are the attraction point. This is not to say your belief in your unworthiness is true. It’s the opposite – it is causing the experiences that compound your belief in it.
So how do you break free from the seemingly endless loop of belief-echoing experiences? You begin to change your story, one small step at a time. Everything begins with you. I’ll repeat that, because it’s vital; everything begins with you.
It takes courage to acknowledge your own accountability and responsibility when all you’ve experienced have been unhealthy relationships. I’ll break that down: taking responsibility does not mean claiming you are responsible in some way for having been abused. Being accountable does not entail excusing or claiming ownership of others’ bad behaviour. Personal responsibility and accountability are steps towards your empowerment and changing old patterning.
You can allow yourself to be accountable for not having set boundaries as clearly as you would have liked, or for compromising them to keep the peace; you can take responsibility for your beliefs and mindset going forward, knowing that once you know, you can choose differently. If your past relationships have resulted in outcomes you didn’t love, use them as fodder for growth. The common denominator in all of them has been you, and you are the only one you have the power to change.
In my own experience, I noticed a repetitive pattern of non-committal men in relationships. It wasn’t until I turned the lens on myself that I realised my own core beliefs of being unworthy of committing to were drawing to me that dynamic. It wasn’t an easy realization; actually it hurt like hell, and involved some deep grieving and healing. It was also one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. It began a process of accessing and facing the false beliefs so that I could re-wire my thought process to remember the real truth at my core, which is the same for all of us: pure, shiny, glorious Love.
It takes courage to examine your patterns and beliefs under the microscope of truth. You will find things that are not comfortable and you might find things that make you cringe. You will also find the beauty of you, underneath the layers of ‘stuff’ that’s been piled on from the outside, from family, institutions, experiences, you name it.
Once you find the beauty within you, make it the belief you build on. You’ll see changes in every aspect of your life.