A lot of my friends had chased me recently as I haven't published an article for almost a month. To follow-up on my articles about self-sabotage I wanted to change the focus from our own behavior towards our self to how people treat us. The later is as important as the former. And I believe one can only recognise if someone is treating them wrongly if they are treating themselves rightly.
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash
What are your values?
First thing first, let's be dead transparent about this: your inner world is a reflection of your outer world. If you don't like yourself, respect yourself, show compassion to yourself, you cannot expect people to give you what you don't give yourself.
You will meet people who will treat you just like your treat yourself. Don't resent those people because they are messengers, here to show you what you do to your own self in the secret of your mind. Where no one can see, no one can hear and no one can speak up to correct your behavior.
Something that really helped me with adjusting my inner world is identifying my values. My values form the structure of my identity, they can evolve and are not set in stone but consciously being aware of them helps me understand how important their role is in my life.
Since I have worked on my values, identified them and hierarchized them I feel more solid. It feels like the structure on which I am building myself are stronger and more reliable. Trying to describe myself before I did this exercise I would be more like a sponge. More likely to absorb opinions and accept certain behaviors. I was thinking less about it than I am now. Here is an illustration that I particularly appreciate because it describes how I was.
Knowing what my values are also helped to determine my own value and distinguish between the values that I learned from my parents, my country, or whatever else and what really matters to me. My value is not people's opinion about me, it is not how much I earn for a living or what is my corporate title, it is not whether I am single or not, it is not what car I drive or how big is my home, it is not how often and how far I travel either. It is not how athletic or "beautiful" I am either. It is not how many books I read per year. And these are not part of my life goals either but I grew up thinking they were both goals and criteria that could describe my value as an individual. Probably because there is an expectations from our society that we achieve "success".
It is important that you know your values, so you can define what "success" means to you and not live by a definition that is not yours. From there you can then define how you assess your own value.
The questions I asked myself when defining my values were: If I was the only person able to have an opinion about my behavior, how would I live my life? Would I live my life differently if I knew I had the unconditional love of the people around me?
Ultimately the exercise is to make a list of all the things that are important to you and then only pick 3 of them.
"Knowing your values is like defining the walls to the house where you identity lives"
How important is it to find your tribe?
People laugh when I refer to my family, my friends and the people who surround me as my "Tribe".
Tribe (noun): a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.
I refer to them as my Tribe because we do share social, spiritual, blood ties and some other kind of ties and we do have a leader: Love.
It takes Attention, Patience and Practice, to develop self-love but for many of us it comes naturally to love thy neighbour. Mainly because most religions teaches us to do so. Thankfully, this behavior attracts (among other probably not so amazing) amazing people in our lives. People who will helps us learn self-love before we can do it for our selves.
I am from a family of 5 children. 1 dad. 3 moms. 2 divorces. What is called a nuclear family. I think the choice of words here, for whoever invented this expression is on point. It is difficult, to say the least, for both parents and children to manage these situations. My parents always taught me to be kind, be patient, to share, etc, even if my siblings were not returning the favor. Well, I am grateful for this because, it was the little bean of love they planted inside me and which grew beyond my wildest dreams.
On the other hand, this behavior led me into a misunderstanding. I thought I had to be nice even when people where not. I thought being a "good" person was about turning the other cheek. This misunderstanding led into abusive situation. It took me while and some amazing friends to change my mind set, build new habits, learn to say no, learn to understand when someone crosses my boundaries and how to push them back into their place.
I want to talk about one of my closest friends. I think she was one of the first person I met within whom I noticed self-love behavior. When I was facing a situation, I used to think "What would E. do?". This simple question helped me walk through my divorce, my issues with my body, saying "no" and many other situations that I had to learn how to manage. I met more people like her who were showing strength in so many different ways that I would ask myself the same question, using the name of another friend. Slowly, I was building a new behavior, I was learning new habits, I was becoming me.
My friends, their love, their respect, taught me that what is important in any relationship is the quality of the space we create between one another. Having E. walk into my life and seeing how she interacted with her friends, her partner, I could see that something was not sitting quite right with me in my own relationships.
I learned that what I was admiring in E's behavior were qualities that I had inside me but was not using by fear of losing the people around me. But how much do the people around me loved me, if I had no space to be myself?
Today, I have such a strong tribe around me. People who will support me and hold a mirror in front of me when I need to face the truth about a situation, about my own behavior. People who are fighting by my side when I need them to. People for whom I will fight by their side if they need me to. People who do no project their fears and worry upon me.
"Camaraderie, communion, family, friendship, love... We're lost without connection. It's quite terrible to be alone"
Maniac - Netflix
The importance of self-healing in building a relationship
It is our own responsibility to heal any wound we have and to protect ourselves from being injured again. Sometimes, we will realise that someone who we once called a sister, a friend, a parents, even though we love them to bits do not help us to become. They trigger pain, suffering and pushes us away from healing. It is our responsibility to protect ourselves and stop interacting with them. Maybe we can go back to them once we are stronger, maybe this relationship was just not meant to be.
Do not blame people for the power you give them. Forgive yourself for the power you gave to the wrong people and move on. Remember my article about overcoming hurt where I also talk about the 4 agreements. Those 4 rules by which you can live your life and who have the potential to heal and help you overcome pain.
Remember Will's video about fault and responsibility (available in My Mental Health Toolbox).
And last but not least: Create joy! Hang out with your tribe and make memories! Give yourself love by not only having a bath with a Lush bomb but also hanging out with the people who recharges your batteries, who makes your heart happy.
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Sawubonasana is a space where you can be yourself, recognized and loved just the way you are. Sawubona means "I see you and by seeing you I bring you into being", Asana means posture, way of living. I've chosen this name for my website because I want to live a life where I see you, I acknowledge your existence and love your uniqueness. In this space you can love yourself, lick your wounds and heal them with love and compassion. You can book a coaching session with me by clicking here.