What would you say is your most difficult relationship?
Is it your relationship with your work colleagues, the relationship with your partner? The self help and personal development world quite often tries to tackle the labyrinth that is our relationships.
It is not often that it is discussed in terms of the relationship you have with yourself. Possibly the most difficult relationship you will face throughout your life.
Your relationship with yourself however, may be the most important thing you can develop. In this post, Kerry takes us through some of her own struggles and successes.
By far the most difficult relationship I have ever had, is the one I have with myself. During my 37 years, I have gone from timid child to moody teen, from promiscuous abuser of alcohol and drugs to perfectionist Stepford wife and mother. I have spent my whole life trying to figure out who I really am.
The catalyst for my lifetime of self-esteem issues was my parent’s divorce. In my 11-year-old brain, it was my fault and that my favourite person in the world, my Dad, had left us. Of course he didn’t leave me, he left my Mum, but seeing him with another woman meant that his love for me was now going to somebody else. I wasn’t good enough.
This coincided with starting secondary school where I was easily overwhelmed by personalities stronger than mine. And the fact that I was stick thin, had a turn in my eye and a thick fringe that covered half my face meant that I wasn’t all that popular with the opposite sex. To say that I didn’t enjoy school would be an understatement, but I made it through relatively unscathed.
It was around this time that my life took a turn for the better. Discovering alcohol, and later drugs, solved my self-esteem problem and my wearing of skimpy outfits and promiscuity meant that attracting men wasn’t a problem either.
I can’t say that I enjoyed this period of my life, in fact I mostly hated myself, but I convinced myself that I was happy.
Marrying at 25 put paid to my promiscuity and my partying ways (thank God) and it was then that I, trying to erase the mistakes of my past, turned into Suzy homemaker. My house always immaculate, hours spent cooking food from scratch, obsessively exercising, judgmental of anybody who didn’t fit in with my way of thinking. Daily Facebook updates of my perfect life showed everybody just how great I was.
When my daughter came along just before I turned 32, my need to be perfect got worse, so much so that I rushed from one milestone to the next never really appreciating this little miracle that we had created and ruining what should have been the most special time of my life. My anxiety at anything bad happening to my daughter (or to me) almost took over my whole life. I just couldn’t relax.
After a disastrous year (yes year) of potty training my daughter, I knew that I needed to change. I discovered meditation, took up yoga, switched to a more plant based, natural diet and relaxed my attitude to life in general.
Rather than having to control and fix everything, I tried to go with the flow.
When I felt judgemental or had the need to try to fix things that were beyond my control, I took a step back and looked at where these feelings stemmed from.
It was then that things started to change for the better. Although I still get stressed, I still feel judgmental from time to time and I still feel the odd pang of guilt when I mess up, I am learning to accept and live with my delicious imperfections.
I’m a work in progress after all.
We all are.
I will never be perfect and my goal is to learn to be OK with that.