Archives For Relationship

Values

Welcome to my penultimate post from An A-Z for your life, discovering and revealing who you are today. There will be one more on ‘W’ and you’ll have to read the book for X,Y and Z.

Your values are the things in life that you hold dear: behavioural standards you hold for yourself and for others.

If honesty is a value then you don’t need to tolerate liars in your relationships.  Your most authentic response would be to let them know that you cannot be in a relationship with them because you have found out that they do not speak truthfully and you are unable to trust them.  Without trust the relationship becomes superficial and your time is too precious for that.  Maya Angelou observes that ‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage’.

Values are linked to right and wrong and moral codes of behaviour.  Sometimes we can figure out what we think and feel in conversation with others.  This relies on having quality relationships built on openness and trust, as discussed earlier. Where can you start?

Start by exploring yourself and maybe your unmet needs, those which you would love to have in your life but have not been able to attract.  It could be safety, trust, love and home.  This could then lead you to explore the values you hold dear.  My values are key to how I try to live my life.  It is about helping people to live the best and fullest life they can whether that is through careers advice, therapy, teaching or writing.  It is about healing our relationships and healing ourselves.  I am saddened by waste whether that is a wasted life, skills, resources or opportunities.  My values link to my belief that we are all created with unique gifts that we can offer to the world.  This book is my attempt to contribute.

What are your values and do these help you to make choices in your day-to-day life?  How do you respond when these are challenged?

I have come across so many clients who set unrealistic standards for themselves.  Are they your own values or ones that you have co-opted from other people?  It is important to find your own values to steer your life.

Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

If you would like to order ‘An A-Z for your life’ so you can work through it at your own pace then simply click on the book cover on the right or go direct to http://www.ana-zforyourlife.com and order your signed copy today!

If you are interested in my counselling services then check out www.envisioncounselling.co.uk and email me: shirley@envisioncounselling.co.uk

 

Relationships

Life is not all about seeking; we can relax and consider our relationships. Who is important to us and how would they know this?

I know it can feel embarrassing telling people that we care about them but we need to find our own way of conveying this to them. Imagine if they died and did not know how you felt about them. Similarly do you know the people in your life who really care about you? Regardless of how successful or rich we might become, life is enjoyed when we have people to celebrate our successes and empathise with our challenges. Good relationships are key to a fulfilling life.

As I get older this is something I have improved upon. I love to have intimate birthday parties where I invite close friends who are important to me. As time has gone on and life has presented its tragedies it is important to know that there are people who I can lean on and who could lean on me. This is not really about mutual support because different people offer different things to a relationship but it is about a sense of awareness, where we do the best we can to be good partners, friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. We can take responsibility for our part in our relationships. For Carl Jung ‘the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.’

Your way will probably be different from my way but it is important for you that you know how to do it for your circle of relations. It’s okay to be a little awkward and let people know how you feel about them rather than risk them thinking you do not care. This is not about buying friendships or performing affection for onlookers but about having an honest encounter with people in your life.

If this sounds too cosy having good relationships does not mean that everyone is always smiles and happiness. It is about being true with each other. So many people go through life without getting honest feedback because no one in their life cares enough (or is brave enough) to tell them when they are behaving inappropriately. If the first time you are given such feedback is at school or work then it has a public element to it that may make it more difficult to accept. Challenging feedback is probably best delivered in love and privately.

It is important to have people in our lives who can encourage us to grow, learn, deepen and be our best self. What are you doing to attract such people into your life and to be that friend to the people in your life? For that you need honesty, trust, care and courage. I have experienced this through my counselling training and my small church group as well as with longstanding individual friendships and peer groups. The truth is that no money in the world could buy quality relationships.

How do you communicate to let people know that you appreciate, value and respect them? Do you spend time nourishing your relationships or do you expect them to stay alive by themselves? Let me know your thoughts.

 

 mothersfathers

Like most things in life we learn about love and emotions in our early years.  Many psychologists and analysts have documented the role of the mother in this.  Our mother’s presence or not is critical to our early development.  It can affect our relationships with other women whether we are male or female.  But mothers are not solely responsible for child rearing, our fathers are important too.  It is about recognising the impact these early years have had on who we are now and what we might need to do to continue to develop and grow.  It seems silly to get into old age and still be blaming your parents for the bad start they gave you.  At some point it is up to us to heal our own wounds so that we can move on.  Parents often parent the way they were parented or they may become the exact opposite of their parents.

What sort of parenting did you have and how has it affected you?  If you are a parent, how has it influenced you?

Is there a quality, expectation, thought pattern or behaviour that you need to change because it is no longer helpful to your life even though it was essential in your family of origin?  Are you still trying to get the approval of your parents or siblings or are you now travelling on your own path and being true to who you are?  How does this early environment still affect what you believe you deserve and the subsequent choices you make?

If you feel there is something here to explore then you can arrange to see a therapist.  This is confidential and you do not need to tell anyone.  What would it be like if you could really become your best self?  The real you could be hiding underneath lots of ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots’.    You may discover that your whole life so far seems more like a dream than reality.  Do you need to find a new home, job, relationship or purpose?

This is about beginning to live the life that would make you happy not necessarily the one that impresses mum and dad.

love

The Bible says that God is love and sacrificed Jesus because he loved us so much.  William Shakespeare refers to music as the food of love in Twelfth Night.  Sigmund Freud identifies it in Eros as life’s energy force.  Others say love (and money) makes the world go around.  Hollywood tells us that we all want to fall in love, as many times as possible.  Some of us are in love with love.

There are probably as many views of love as there are people on the planet.  Great writing, music, art, film, dance and architecture have been inspired by love and serve as a monument to its expression.  Love is powerful.  Oprah Winfrey says that experiences presents us with an opportunity ‘to choose love over fear.’

Love is certainly part of human need, desire and longing.  Some of us are lucky enough to experience it at some point in our lives, and others are not.  Maybe loving others starts with loving ourselves.  In order to give and receive love we need to be able to trust ourselves and trust another.  Can we love if we know that our feelings will not be reciprocated?  Some people find it easy to love their children, family and friends; others do not.  I have heard parents say that they would be prepared to die for their children: real sacrificial love.

Love may be both about who and what we attach ourselves to. We may have been badly hurt by our earlier attempts to love and be loved.  Consequently we may find it easier to love power, status and material possessions.  We can find ourselves becoming addicted to that which we once loved, or we might assume we love something because we are unhealthily addicted to it.  Love is mysterious and can turn into hate.

Some powerful questions you might want to consider: Who or what do you love and how does that affect how you relate to them?  Does it feel like a healthy love or more of the obsessive kind?  Have you been hurt by loving and need to heal before you can love again?   Do you not love because you are afraid of exposing yourself to the pain of disappointment?  Are you missing out on beautiful emotional connections because you fear it will all go wrong?   Do your actions express what is in your heart?

There is no need to love everything or everyone but to be open to the possibility seems important to me. What do you think?