Relationships Reflect What We Believe About ourselves
Our brains constantly filter information to find repeating patterns in order to make sense and handle the mass of information that is available to us at all times from all kinds of sources and stimulus. When it comes to relationships, the brain will do this pattern searching too and it tends to want to find only a few, easily recognizable patterns. If you are accustomed to being treated badly, unfairly or as a victim, your brain will search for that kind of behaviour. If you are familiar with being respected and admired, again, your brain will help you identify that kind of information.
Identify The Patterns
List all of your primary relationships. Beside each name write a one or two word description of how they treat you, or how you feel about yourself when you are around them. Is there an overall theme? Is there a ‘good’ group and a ‘bad’ group? From this step, you can get a sense of what it is you fundamentally believe about yourself. Somewhere along the line you agreed that you would be treated a certain way by certain people.
Clearly Define How You Want to Be Treated
If you can’t describe in detail what you want and feel how it feels, your definition is not clear enough. People can’t give you what you want if they don’t know what it is. You can’t ask for what you want if you don’t know what you want. Write it out. I want to be treated with respect, kindness and sincerity.
It Begins and Ends With You.
It helps to note that it is no one's responsibility to make us happy or to treat us well. Our happiness and what we expect is our responsibility. Always. Eleanor Roosevelt put it this way: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Begin to find ways to treat yourself the way you want others to treat you.
How can I show myself admiration, respect, kindness and sincerity? I look for ways to accept myself, give myself credit, allow my own feelings and wants and opinions.
Be Willing To Risk Growth and Change. When the treatment from others does not match your newly defined, preferred filter patterns, know that this is your work to do. You can continue on or you can make the necessary changes. In order to make changes, you will risk possible rejection. This may involve speaking out and standing up for yourself in ways you haven’t before. This may involve the ending of some relationships. It may even improve relationships! It will be scary at first, but it will feel great once you begin to see the transformation happen in and around you. You, in fact, do change the world around you. Every time you grow and develop into more of who you want to be, you positively influence the people around you. Let that be your motivation.