Remember that time when you had a girls or guys night out and you started talking about your significant others and someone tells a story about how they went thru their boy/girl friend’s cell phone, felt their significant other didn’t care about their feelings, complained that they didn’t spend enough time together, or the spark was dying out? What if half the battle was unpacking your bags so you could stay a while longer in your relationship? You might be wondering what I mean, so let me explain. Relationships can be short lived or go on for ages and still have a lack of fulfillment. Often times when we don’t deal with our personal “baggage” be it from childhood or previous relationships we bring it to our next relationship. We find unconscious ways to recreate our childhood or situations from the past. Here are some suggestions for unpacking your bags:
- To Thy Own Self Be True – Being true to your needs and feelings is an important part of being in a healthy relationship. No one is a mind-reader (not anyone I’ve met anyways) so communicating what you need from your partner and how you’re feeling about things is critical. If you need to journal about them or write them out so when you share them they come across as clear.
- Figure Out Your Limiting Beliefs – Who were your relationship role models? What was your relationship like with your parents? How does this play a role in how your being in relationship with others? Let’s break this down; if you had a father who was present but emotionally constipated and you felt not good enough of his love, you would recreate this experience as an adult if not handled. You may end up with a significant other who is not emotionally available, thus, giving you those same feelings of not good enough.
- Step into Awareness and Action – Once you realize that you’re baggage hasn’t been unpacked you can decide to unpack it if you so choose. Learning to identify particular behaviors that get in the way of your relationship, identifying which feelings arise when certain events take place, looking at your thought patterns are just a few ways to start the awareness process. Now that you have awareness, you can take action to change these old behaviors and challenge your limiting beliefs. Seeking individual or couples counseling could be one action step.