I just got off the phone to one of my closest friends...I managed to blurt out all the things that were going wrong in my life and how out of alignment I felt. I don’t like being negative but sometimes you have to get the story out. Maybe I need to learn that it’s all just a story that I’m telling myself. This also happened the day before with a friend, I felt like I could say anything I wanted and the guidance and open hearted, honest response that was returned to me was extremely valuable. There are a few relationships I have where I feel like I can tell my friend absolutely anything and there reaction will be honest and open and nothing else matters. These people, hold space for me to be who I am with no judgement and unconditional love. Do you have these people in your life? Can you relate?
On the other hand I feel struggle with many relationships and wonder how to build a deeper connection with someone I want to feel closer to and have a deeper more meaningful friendship or relationship with. This has also happened to me recently. I feel like I can’t be my authentic self because I’m wanting something to be a certain way, I’m wanting to please someone or wanting them to think well of me rather than being true to myself, my values and beliefs and trusting that if I do that, the right people, friendships and relationships will show up for me.
I know I’m not the only one experiencing this type of battle and my friend encouraged me to write this piece to share with others what I’m experiencing and how I’m working through it. This feels a little out of my comfort zone, but if my experience can help even one person it’s been worth it.
So why is this happening and what's getting in my way?
Fear of history repeating.
I would consider myself a risk taker with many areas of my life. I'm often keen to meet new people and create a more meaningful and deeper connections, finding out more about them. But sometimes things don’t turn out how I expect, I may not like certain things they say, sometimes things people have said seriously impacted me and made me recline into my shell. These connections may have been met with unease, misalignment or just 2 people on completely different paths. Certain occasions become ingrained in my mind. I think if I take this risk again, the same uncomfortable feelings and thoughts will arise and the past will come back to bite me.
The stories I tell myself
Whether I like it or not, I create my reality through the thoughts I think. The same goes for you. Most of the time I live on autopilot, its not always easy to take charge of our thoughts and I just accept whats coming up. I create stories around situations, for example if this event happens it must mean...*insert* negative story I create potentially based on past events. I'm making up a story about something that is not real, I’m replaying it so much in my mind that it seems real.
Judgment of others
Making judgements is something that comes naturally to everyone. In fact Id say it’s necessary to move through life. I need to make a judgement on how I perceive something in my life so that I can make a decision or a choice. When this judgment is based on story creating and not actual facts is when I get into trouble. This basically then spirals into a negative cycle of make believe.
As much as I know what I see on social media is only about 5% of people's lives and the 5% they want to share with us, somehow I still see it at someone's reality. Without being conscious around this topic I have been lead down the path of comparison to someone's positive mood or branding, or simply how much fun they are having on their 2 week holiday. I see photos and status updates but this is in most cases not a direct reflection of what's going on in that person's life and mind.
Text and messages
With the rise of technology most of us lean towards this form of communication. The problem here is that communicating only in words removes tone, emotion, expression, body language, mood and so much more. Experts suggest that only 7% of the message will come through in words. I’m not sure I believe its that low but I do think it is a small percentage of communication as a whole. There is so much that I don't pick up when people communicate with me in this way.
So I’m wondering what I need to do to bust through these areas that are getting in my way to communicate more effectively. Not every time am I setting out to create a deeper more meaningful relationship, in most cases I just want to ensure the right message comes through. This will either help me lean into a deeper friendship or move past this idea with grace, ease and still value my worth rather than struggling, wondering and story making about what it all means.
So what am I doing about all this to move forward you ask?
Good question because it’s not always easy to implement these steps to every relationship you foster. This is my plan to move forward.
- Approach situations differently that I have in the past. Questioning myself to ask how can I do this in a more effective way.
- Becoming conscious around my thoughts and asking myself if they are based on factual evidence or stories I’m making up in my mind.
- Similar to above, am I making a judgement or comparison on something that is just not true?
- Understanding that there is more behind the words and if I truly want to know more I’ll need to have a conversation over phone, video or in person.
- I’m trying to help the other person understand where I’m coming from and what I want. By standing in my own worth and showing them the way I see things could be and how I would like them to be, what I value in them and what I value in me.
- Taking one step at a time, building this muscle one connection, one conversation at a time.
- Leaning into the risks with more caution and not simply avoiding it because it’s hard.
This seems like the best way to move forward to communicate with others with more ease. But also in a way where I can own my authentic truths and stand within my beliefs and what I deserve.
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