Pressure and Expectation Around Relationships
Do you remember the line in the Jerry Mcguire movie where Tom Cruise’s character tells Dorothy “... you complete me ...”? I remember thinking, “run now girl, get away fast”, that might sound a little cruel, but think about it, this guy is obviously someone who can’t cope in the world on his own and needs to do a lot of work on himself, he figures if he just gets the girl, everything will be ok. Roll the tape forward and consider how Dorothy’s character gets time to work on herself whilst putting Jerry’s needs first; who do you think will end up feeling unfulfilled, unworthy and exhausted?
There is a lot of pressure and expectation around relationships; are you in one, do you want to be in one, are you trying to get out of one, are you starting out in the dating world after years of being part of a couple? No matter whether you are married, single, a partner, or dating, there is one question I want to ask you:
Do you have a good relationship with yourself?
What do I mean by this?
You know when someone unexpectedly visits you, you rush around tidying up, stuffing things in cupboards, under the sofa and firmly closing doors to hide the mess in case people think badly of you – well, some people believe that in order to be in a relationship this is exactly what they must do with aspects of themselves that they don’t like; they push back old behaviours, thoughts and habits, pretending that everything is neat and tidy in their emotional world, unfortunately the cracks start to show over time and you find yourself repeating the same old problems you had before, the “Why does this always happen to me?” scenario. Rather than hide these things away, why not look at them, figure out what needs to happen for them to permanently go away and leave you feeling more confident and open, more of a whole person rather than part of one who looks to someone else to make them whole.
So how do you do this? Recognising the need to work on yourself is a major step forward, think about who you have become, is this the plan you had for yourself? If not, what can you do to get back on track? Do you acknowledge that denial and burying your head in the sand won’t make things better? If you need to get help with this, then go ahead; sometimes we just need to hear out loud our doubts and fears in order to begin to make a change for the positive.
Most importantly, you need to believe that you are worth the effort; you were born a unique, special individual, allow yourself the time and space to become the person you always dreamed you could be, no-one else has the right to define who you are, the only thing that can stop you is you.
Written for February 2009 Darling Magazine, Wimbledon, SW20
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