There’s always a chance it’s going to happen. Something will fall apart. A relationship will implode. Someone you thought you could trust will do something that will leave you reeling with shock and betrayal.
It’s very easy to turn this back on yourself. To beat yourself up, and ask yourself how you could have not seen it coming. You’ll compare yourself to others who seem to flow through life effortlessly. If you’ve been doing lots of work on yourself, you might start asking yourself what it’s all for. What’s the point in putting so much effort into growth and improving yourself if nothing ever changes?
Something like this happened to me recently. A difficult, non-romantic relationship which I hoped had been resolved (although I was taking it one day at a time) went off the way it always had done before, in spite of all the promises that everything would change. I do feel sad and disappointed. But it’s nothing like the devastation I used to feel every time this happened before. Because I’ve made my peace with the knowledge that this isn’t about me. Before, I would have beaten myself up and blamed myself for the situation going the way it did. I would have been plunged into the old fog where reality was completely turned on it’s head, where up was down, black was white, left was right. I would have felt like all the changes I’d made had come to nothing.
But now I know that’s not the case. I can’t control how other people respond to me, all I can control is my own response to them. I can’t stop someone from behaving in a toxic way. But I can refuse to allow myself to be manipulated, by holding onto my own reality and getting drawn into someone else’s story.
The following steps will help you to not take it personally when a relationship goes wrong, especially when you thought things were improving.
1: Release control. When you improve yourself, you do it unconditionally. That means sometimes people around you won’t like it when you interact with them in a new, more empowered way. And that’s ok. How they choose to respond (choose being the operative word) is completely up to them, and really none of your business. You don’t need their permission to make positive changes to yourself.
2: Realise they’re probably not even responding to you. People are often stuck in their own scripts and stories. Lots of times, they’re not even responding to you at all, they’re responding to a story about you that they’ve created in their minds. They’ve decided you’re ‘this kind of person’, even if it has nothing to do with reality. As a silly example, I once knew someone who saw me as a Goth. When I asked them why they thought this, they told me it was because I dressed in black all the time. I was standing in front of them, wearing a pink skirt and a white top. I actually didn’t even own any black clothes, so they had never seen me dressed in black. But because this person created a story that I was a Goth, the fact that I looked nothing like she described me was completely ignored. Realise that the story they’ve created has nothing to do with you in reality. It only exists inside their head.
3: Remember that you have everything you need already within you. If you feel you need to get someone to respond to you in a certain way so you can feel loved, then it’s going to trigger you when you feel them withdraw their love from you. It will probably trigger beliefs you have that you’ll never be loved. But when you shift your perspective, and remember that you already have all the love you’ll ever need within you, that you have an unlimited supply of love that you always have access to, then you won’t buy into any old beliefs when someone behaves in a less than loving way. You are no longer trying to get something from outside of you, that you already have within you.
4: Remember that their behavior might not have anything to do with you. If they have been acting strangely, it could be for any number of reasons. For example, if you have been urging a friend to meet up for the past month and they keep putting it off or making excuses then it’s easy to believe they’re avoiding you. But remember that your friend has a whole life outside of her relationship with you. Maybe she’s stressed because of work, or maybe she’s having problems in her marriage. How many times in the past have you been worried that someone’s been ‘off’ with you, only to find out that it had nothing to do with you at all? The solution in a situation like this is to simply ask if everything is ok. If on the rare chance, the problem is with you, you can then work together to resolve it. If the problem is something else, then you can offer your friend your support.
When you get to this place of not taking things personally, your relationships will be much smoother. You’ll feel less guarded, not waiting for the other shoe to drop. You’ll also feel more comfortable opening up and allowing new relationships into your life, knowing that no matter what happens, you will always be loved and valued, and that you hold the key to that, no-one else.