Most of us learned how to do relationship under circumstances that were less than ideal. Perhaps our parents weren't perfectly attuned to us, kids picked on us, we experienced sibling rivalry, or we had trouble in school. Like any good animal, we adapted and developed inauthenticities to cope. Those adaptations are likely still with you in your relationships, and are probably painful. Maybe you were picked on as a kid and learned to self-deprecate instead of feeling your insecurity. Maybe you felt alone as a child in your family and learned to carry the weight of the relationship all by yourself. Maybe you learned that if you told the truth, people didn't like you so now knowing what's true for you is a struggle. Maybe you learned that love usually involves loss, so you spend your relationships braced against the moment they'll end.
The imprints that get deeply embedded inside us about "how relationships are" or "how the world is" or "how men are" etc. cause us pain because they keep us from being able to be fully present and richly alive in the current moment, where we can relate authentically.
But being able to see them is the start to unwinding them so we can free ourselves to relate more deeply, richly, and authentically. It's tricky to see these things on our own because for the most part, they're unconscious. This is where good, loving support and feedback are immeasurably valuable. If you're part of a community of loving people all working through their stuff together, and who know how to offer reflection and feedback cleanly (by sharing their own experience of you, rather than telling you how you are), you can gather some that'll help you see yourself. Women's or men's groups are infinitely valuable for this. Ask questions like, "What was your experience when I was sharing about my relationship?" or "What's it like for you to be with me when I feel this way?" And then...listen. Really listen and take in the reflection. And, you can always work with a professional like me that'll help you see what you can't see so you can be more real in your relationships.
I hope this is helpful! Leave a comment below and tell me about a time when a relationship with someone helped you see yourself more clearly.