Letting others bring their best selves to the table…
How do you let others be their authentic selves when it may or may not affect you?
So, for example; hubby comes in gruff, bad day at work.
And upon his entry into the house, he makes you feel under-valued; whether that be that he grunts hello at you, or ignores your news or doesn’t ask how your day was etc. It is clear that he’s not in a great mood and he’s making no effort to not take it out on you.
That’s when your boundaries and your feelings kicks in right.
You feel a certain way about how he is treating you and you’re allowed to feel your feelings and you are also allowed to make it clear to him that the way he is treating you is not acceptable; because you are also allowed to be your authentic self too.
But if we are all on the authenticity train…
Then, shouldn’t hubby also feel safe to be himself with you? Warts and all? To let his feelings come to the fore without there being recriminations? Isn’t that what being a loving partner, friend, mother etc means? Being a space-holder for someone to feel safe being themselves with you.
What’s the trick? Empathy? Emotional Regulation?
Let’s work through it…
Same scenario… gruff welcome when hubby gets home from a bad day at work.
You are authentic to how you feel about it – you don’t accept poor behaviour from people when you did nothing to deserve it.
However, in this scenario, what’s different is that you are living your best life (you’re eating right, keeping hydrated, exercising, you have your own friends, you feel empowered in the work you are doing, you sleep enough and you love yourself) and so…
you are able to take a step back and not get embroiled in the actions of this person because you know it has nothing to do with you; and as such, you are happy to be the space-holder they need to work through their issues without taking them on at all!
You are together enough in yourself that you can give them whatever it is they need – whether that be space in it’s truest sense or whether that be that you hear them out, validate them and give them true empathy or a different perspective, or maybe just hugs.
We’ve all been there.
We all know what it is to have a crappy day and mistakenly take it out on someone we love because we just aren’t in the right headspace at the time. We didn’t listen to our inner voice.
In some ways, this is an example of... hmmm… what’s the opposite of co-dependant?
Interdependency requires both people to be able to operate autonomously.
In healthy relationships, couples feel closely attached and intertwined, but still capable of making their own decisions. Both individuals are able to express their own feelings and desires, and to listen to their partner with respect and support.
People in interdependent relationships retain a good sense of self and purpose. They want but don’t need the other. They do not rely on the other for their own self-worth.
So how do you let others be their best selves? Live unapologetically authentically?
You need to be somewhat autonomous in yourself, get to know you better, focus on your own needs so that when situations arise, where you start to fall victim to your partners moods, you have an outside life that gives you joy and you are less likely to be affected.
This isn’t only relevant in intimate relationships, but also friendships, familyships and so on.
The best part is that if someone feels they can bring their true self to the table and trust that you will be ok with it, you wont judge them or berate them or need anything from them; and if they feel you are genuinely empathetic to their situation or moods, then you will find that your relationship improves ten-fold.