Newsletter, Issue 1
“I grew up thinking I was a ‘people person’. After all, I could talk to anyone, and people and their motivation fascinated me. So it was quite a shock to find myself in my late 20s, sitting in front of the fire in the house I’d just bought on my own, single and in tears, without the relationship or family I yearned for, without a really close friend to talk to, feeling alone and a failure at relationship in any shape or form.
I Didn’t Know How to Build Relationships
I’d been kidding myself that being extroverted, psychologically insightful and being able to talk to people equalled good relationships. The truth was that I didn’t know how to build real, sustainable relationship. Yes, I’d had boyfriends, and been with some for long periods, yet there was always a point where I didn’t seem to be able to go any further.
Friendships were similar, and those that went deeper tended to end suddenly and painfully. And at work I easily created strong connections with clients and contacts, yet then felt scared they’d ‘find me out’ and was not all they imagined, and was left with a level of awkwardness or avoidance in my relationships with them.
How could I have got so far through life without knowing how to build relationship?
Why was it so hard to be really close to another human being?
How had I failed at such a basic and natural skill?
Surely everyone else knew how to do this?
My pain forced me to face reality and I took the first steps of a long journey, starting with my relationship with myself. Whilst I now have a husband and son, genuine close friendships and am able to build and sustain relationships with individuals and couples in my work, I am still on that journey. Why?
• Relationships do not stand still, they change and grow;
• Our closest relationships trigger unresolved individual issues, bringing up emotion and old habits of behaviour;
• Our closest relationships have the capacity to resolve these individual issues and through this find the depth of connection and intimacy we desire.
The (Big) Secret
Through my individual and couples work, and friendships, I now realise I am not alone and that to some degree we all struggle with being in relationships. Yes, this is the (Big) Secret about Relationships. Most of us think that we should know how to be in a relationship – and that we are alone in not knowing how.
Few of us are shown how to be in healthy relationships as we grow up, and I believe bullying and conflict in the workplace and high divorce rates are a reflection of this lack of know-how, rather than an inability to actually be in and enjoy sustained relationships.
As with much in life, learning about building relationships starts with awareness of where you are now. So, I invite you over the next month to notice your relationship with yourself. After all, your relationships with others start with you; your own internal feelings, thoughts and dialogue.
- How do you listen to yourself, your needs and find ways to voice them?
- Do you know what helps you stay true to yourself and centred, and what feels awkward, takes you away and is disconnecting?
- How do you get back in relationship with yourself when you get lost in something or someone else?
Have a ‘self’ aware month.