Are you ready for better relationships…with everyone?

Who’d have thought cleaning out old photos could lead to profound insights!

I came across photos of my graduation from 1993 (!) and shared them with an ex-boyfriend (now friend). He commented on how lovely I looked. And that I was such a funny, positive and confident young woman.

Shame I didn’t think that about myself!

My friend and I chatted further about our perspectives of each other back then, and how differently we saw ourselves.

So which version is true?

Theirs or mine?

What if they are both just perspectives and not true at all?

(I did warn you this was a profound moment 🙂 )

It got me thinking about the impact this could have had, not only on this relationship, but all relationships – intimate, family, friends, work colleagues etc.

20+ years ago I didn’t have the understanding or self-awareness that how I thought about myself would impact my behaviour and therefore how I was with those around me.

But it did.

And it will do.

Unless awareness is developed.

Unless insight and understanding are actively sought.

These perspectives of yours, and others, will guide all your relationships. Whether you want them too or not.

In the past nearly 14 years of working full time as a coach, I have spoken to thousands of people either in 1:1 coaching or in groups at workshops/talks, and I’ve not had one person yet tell me that the voice in their heads says pleasant, kind, supportive, encouraging words, all the time.

Usually it’s variants of…

  • I’m not good enough
  • I’m a failure
  • I’m worthless unless I…get it right, am perfect, have the right house/job/car/relationship/body etc.

Often when in a coaching conversation the person will also defend this way of thinking.

“You see Jules, I once did this/said that, and that’s why that thinking is true. I have to think about myself this way”

Or they tell me “it motivates me!”

But when asked if they would use that method to motivate a child or speak to a child that way because they once did this or said that, not one person has said that would be a good thing to do!

I get the illogical thinking though. Honestly, I do!

But surely, as long as we have learnt what we can from the things we did or said, we can move forward with that learning. Without the inner chastising.

Otherwise any interaction (aka relationship) with another human being, is based on how I think about myself in relation to that past event. And whoever I interact with will get the fallout from that.

Work colleagues.

Family.

Spouse/partner.

Friend.

Children.

Parent.

The saddening part about it, for me anyway, is that most of us are unaware we are doing it.

Now, I don’t know of a silver bullet, magic pill or that one book that will change it all over night. What I do know, is that when you take the time to self-reflect and learn about who you really are – which is NOT those voices – life is different.

Relationships are different. Not perfect (no idea what that is anyway), still a work in progress. But so much happier. Easier. Calmer. And certainly kinder!

And the relationship with myself? Again, still a work in progress but, so much friendlier and kinder. Which makes day to day life easier. When life throws a curve ball I have the self-assurance that I can deal with it, even if at first, I don’t know how. When the smaller challenges arise, I check in with what is needed and what I need. And take it one step at a time.

The abuse and criticism is much quieter, if there at all.

Can you imagine living that way? Well I have a challenge for you to guide you in that direction.

The challenge, if you choose to accept it.

  1. Find an old photo of yourself from at least ten years ago. (I’d suggest no younger than 13) and think about the perspective you had of yourself then. No judgements. Just hear the thoughts you had about yourself then.
  2. Then think about the behaviours that stemmed from that thinking. Again, NO judgements. How did you behave? What cover up did you do so that others would not know what you thought about yourself?
  3. And finally, think about how those behaviours impacted you and those around you. And you guessed it…NO JUDGEMENTS! What did you shy away from? Run from? Avoid? Defend?

20+ years ago, I know that the way I thought about myself caused defensive and escapist behaviours. And these were at the forefront of all my relationships. So I was edgy, waiting to defend. Poised, ready to ‘escape’ with an outburst, joke, food, alcohol or later drugs. I have no idea the full extent of the impact that had on others. But I can imagine. Judgement free!

These days curiosity pulls me forward to continue this journey of self-discovery. To spot the unkind, unhelpful thinking. Notice the behaviours they lead to and the impact on myself and others.

I am curious as to just how different relationships can be when I have a different perspective of myself.

And I wonder what it will be like for you too. Comment below and let me know.

*If you would like to explore any of the above in 1:1 coaching, then please contact me direct here

** If you’d like to work on your relationship with yourself, mum and/or daughter you can book your place HERE for the TLC experience.