Last week, after hearing from a friend that she was writing a book on relationships, I decided to jump right into the subject and offer a few insights I’ve had over the years. I’m going to keep most of these short and sweet to give you lots of opportunity to think about my assertions before I hit you with another one. Here’s the one I hit you with last week: Anger is never ever appropriate if you want to have a quality relationship with anyone in your life!
What shouldn’t have surprised me was the responses I received. Everyone wanted to offer their opinion and I even received some angry responses. Isn’t that ironic? Anyway, please don’t be so quick to listen to see whether you agree with me or not and just consider these tidbits to be one man’s educated opinion.
Here’s my thought for this week: I don’t think anyone emerges from childhood unscathed. People speak to us in unloving ways, we are treated in unloving ways, we experience things we don’t understand or can’t rationalize, and we rarely get what we want, when and how we want it. I’m going to call all of these things “wounds” that need to be healed. But how do we know we have them so we can do the healing work? That’s where relationships come in.
Relationships are the vehicles that provide us the opportunity to identify and heal our wounds. How this works is that we unconsciously invite people into our lives who literally volunteer to play the role we assign them so that we can identify our unhealed issues. Now don’t misunderstand me and think that we have anything to do with this process. It’s all orchestrated from a place way beyond our consciousness.
I’ll give you some examples. Let’s say, like me, you didn’t feel loved as a child and decided you just weren’t lovable. Once that decision is made, it’s highly likely that you will enter into one relationship after another that leaves you feeling unlovable. That is exactly what happened to me.
Or let’s say, again like me, you were criticized as a child and decided you were not capable. It’s totally predictable you will find yourself in one situation after another where you question your ability, feel like a failure, and/or compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking. For the 18 years I practiced as a lawyer, I told myself every day: if my clients only knew how many smarter lawyers there are than me, I wouldn’t have a client.
All of these situations are perfect opportunities to identify the underlying unhealed belief. But if we don’t understand this, we end up blaming or accusing the other person of being unloving, critical, judgmental or whatever else you feel they are doing to you. When faced with these experiences, it’s hard to remember that they are just playing the role we have asked them to play for our benefit.
So do you want to have amazing relationships with the people in your life? Embrace what I have shared here. Take responsibility for every feeling you have. Recognize that everyone is your teacher. Bless them and thank them for playing the role they play. And get on with doing the work you need to do to heal your childhood wounds.