“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror.” ~Byron Katie
As I was listening to other women talking in my support group for battered women, I had a life changing moment.
I caught a glimpse of myself and where I was at in life. It was a defining moment that turned around how I felt about myself and changed the cycle of my relationship with men.
“I played a role in my abusive marriage; my ex-husband was treating me how I was treating myself.”
His anger and how he showed it belonged to him; we are never responsible for someone else’s behavior and how they treat us, ever. However, we are responsible for how we treat ourselves and how we allow others to treat us. At the time, I didn’t really love myself.
My confidence was non-existent. And I thought I deserved to be treated this way. I had a belief that life was meant to be suffered. I know, nuts!
So, as I was sitting there in the support group, I realized how I had given my power away to someone else and that I had to take responsibility for neglecting myself.
I didn’t put blame on myself to feel guilty. I owned up to my part in this whole situation. I looked in the mirror and got real honest so I could change this crazy pattern.
If I had stayed in the victim role, I would have continually attracted the same kind of guy, who in reality would just be reflecting back what I felt about myself.
Not at all what I wanted anymore, that was clear.
It was time to break the pattern, and break the pattern I did.
I started to really take care of my needs.
I gave myself the love that I was looking for, the attention I was craving, and permission to feel happy and have an awesome life.
It didn’t happen overnight, and it’s been quite the journey, but it amazes me that since I’ve raised the bar, the people that show up in my life are on a much higher level.
It’s a situation no one should be in. The first step is getting out and getting help. And know the cycle can be broken.
Breaking The Pattern of Unhealthy Relationships
1. Practice self-love.
I can’t say this enough. At the time the concept of self-love was foreign to me. Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life awakened me.
I was looking for love in outside places, wanting others to validate that yes, I could be loved. When I started giving myself what I was craving, I gained more confidence, got clearer on what I wanted, and started treating myself with respect.
Pay attention to your internal dialogue about yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror every day and say “I love you.” Believe it. Really embody how you want to feel right now.
2. Change your mindset.
There’s no going around it, what you think will become your reality.
We all picked up beliefs from well-intentioned people around us while growing up, and they form most of our internal dialogue. Some of these beliefs might serve us, but some might be quite detrimental.
Take an inventory of the top negative beliefs that you have on repeat in your mind. Then re-write these beliefs in a positive way and create a plan to act on them.
This is about more than just saying affirmations; it’s about being consistent, setting your intention, and taking action.
Example: Old belief: I’m not good enough, and I can’t be happy.
New belief: I am good enough, and happiness is my birthright.
After flipping your negative belief, say the new belief with emotion, and write it down and display it in places where you’ll see it regularly.
Next, visualize what being good enough means to you. How does it make you feel? Have a clear image.
Lastly, take action. How does a person who is good enough act? Act as that person now, and aim to do this consistently.
3. Look for the lesson in everything so that you can heal and move on.
We’ve all had experiences where the same thing keeps happening over and over with different people and situations. That’s a message that something needs to be done on our part.
Once the lesson is learned we can break the pattern.
4. Know what you want.
In a nutshell, don’t settle—period! What is it you want? What qualities are you looking for? How do you want to be treated? Want to know what the trick is to actually get it? Be all of those things. Others are mirrors to us.
5. Own it.
The best way to make any change is to take responsibility for where your life is right now, owning it so you can improve it on your terms. When we do this, we go from waiting for change to happen to starting with ourselves, because that’s where any real change can ever take place.
We’re back in the driver’s seat, creating our life, versus reacting to life situations.
I did attract lots of nice guys too, but I would break up with them or find them too boring. Now I see I wasn’t comfortable with someone treating me kindly and with respect. I wasn’t in the right state of mind to receive this kind of love because I couldn’t give it to myself.
Once you start giving it to yourself, you too will be able to receive it.
The most important relationship we’ll ever have is the one with ourselves. Making this a priority doesn’t take anything away but just adds more happiness and confidence to our lives.
Torn paper image via Shutterstock