To bring about real change in your relationships, you have to have a clear understanding of who you are and how you relate to the world around you, this process is counter intuitive because you have to learn to accept yourself unconditionally, before beginning the process of change. This is because in any relationship you find yourself in, you are the only variable which you can control.
Life is about relationships, from friendships, work, to our more intimate relationships, it is easy to recognize flaws in others and how these flaws have played a role in the failures we have experienced in our relationships. In most cases where people readily point out the flaws in others they are usually accurate, unfortunately pointing out the flaws in others when it comes to evaluating our flawed relationships is really a small part of the equation.
Let’s say you have experienced a string of poor work experiences, and you have one horror story after another to tell about supervisors and coworkers from hell, it would then become a fair question for someone to ask you how it was you came to routinely find yourself in those bad situations? If you were cognizant enough to realize that these were bad work places then it stands to reason that you should have been cognizant enough to recognize that you were not fit to work at these places before applying for the job.
Perhaps it is you, pertaining to how you relate to the world around you and those to whom you are drawn to? Regardless, if you have found yourself in a string of bad relationships it is long overdue for you to recognize and accept your personal flaws.
When it comes to how we see ourselves, some people have a blindspot. This blindspot results from our innateness as social animals to fit in and belong with the larger group. So if you happen to have been raised in an environment where getting in line with everyone else was the expectation, the idea of who you are, is probably significantly different from who you really are. In today’s world, mass media plays a very influential role in getting others to embrace identities that don’t fit with who they really are. This is done by exemplifying certain types of people in a positive and flattering light, while barely mentioning others.
If you are a chronic consumer of media, and you want to see yourself in a positive light, if stands to reason that you will come to mold your identity after those being modeled. The problem with this is that you would be focused on trying to address problems that don’t pertain to you, which only creates more problems for you.
So how do you learn about yourself? Well, on a personality level you can take a personality test like this one, or this one. Secondly, regardless of the outcome of any personality test, learn to present yourself as you are to others around. Specifically, practice being brutally honest with yourself and others at all times. Being brutally honest doesn’t mean that you tell everyone about your private affairs, but it means that you should become more cognizant of the narratives you tell yourself and others in an effort to blend in.
Our subconscious always knows the truth, and this truth about who we really are is always nagging at us at a times. This is why when people are trying to run from who they really are, they make up these false narratives, regarding their past and present in an effort to impress others.
Ultimately, by getting to know yourself and accept yourself, you will find yourself successfully addressing the right problems in your life.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach.