You know that moment when you look into his/her eyes and something clicks and you just know, they are ‘the one’. Have you ever had that moment?
Well I’m sure more than one of you are nodding on the other side of this screen. Most of us have been in love and we know how painful it can be to lose that person so we do everything we can to keep them close. Unfortunately, sometimes we hold them too close and we end up losing ourselves in someone we have come to love.
Welcome to how not to lose yourself in someone you love.
I think that when something happens slowly enough, we are often going to miss the changes until we look back and see where we started, then we are surprised to find how many things have changed. Have you ever heard of boiling a frog?
Well, even if you have, I’m going to tell it to you anyways.
When you pick up a frog it will freak out and try to hop away in any way that it can, but the minute you set that frog into water you can see it start to calm down. Why does this happen? Because that’s most frog’s natural habitat. The frog will get accustomed to the water and it will be fine. Now if you put that water on a stove and slowly turn it to a boil, what do you think the frog is going to do? That frog is going to do nothing. Surprised? Let me explain why; the frog doesn’t try to get away because the temperature rises slowly enough that the frog adjusts to the temperature as it rises. And it will sit in that water until it boils and dies.
I know that might seem like a downer of a story, but the point is that as busy people we often do the same thing. I don’t mean that we sit until we boil and die, not exactly. We focus so much on what is happening right in front of our screens that we often don’t see the things that change every day. This includes our relationships with the ones that we love; from family, to close friends and significant others.
Today I am going to point out a few things; today I am going to show you how to draw the line between you and your partner so that you don’t get lost.
The first step is to know what you like.
Find your hobbies, your favorite things. Whether that is food, or books, or sports, or gardening; really it could be anything and all you have to do is identify that as your thing. This does not mean that you have to cut your partner or loved one out of joining in on that activity. But make sure that you don’t associate the fun you have doing that activity with them as the reason you are enjoying yourself. That sounds kind of confusing but what I mean is don’t think that you are having fun because that other person is there. Make sure you know why you like this activity, and with that you will be able to remember that it is a part of who you are and your identity.
The next step is finding the things that you like to do together.
Do those things together, not because the other person likes them but because you both enjoy it. Do these things to grow together and learn about the other person, don’t do it to make the other person happy while you are miserable about it. It’s all about finding a happy medium. Having favorite activities together will help both of you grow in whatever kind of relationship you have with that person.
A lot of times best friends have inside jokes or that one activity that they are known by other people for doing. Use this. Make something your relationship trademark, it can be an action, an activity, a saying; really the possibilities are endless! Enjoy your time with the other person and it can be so much better when you know where you stand on certain things. It’s good to be your own person, even better when you have something different to bring to the relationship.
The third step is learning to say no.
For me, this one can be pretty difficult because I am a people pleaser and I really don’t want to let anyone down. So, I just didn’t say no. With this mindset I was driving myself into exhaustion of both emotional and physical capacity. Running around to the ends of the earth for people you love is not a bad thing but there is such a thing as too much of it. Everyone has their limits and I stretched mine to the impossible limit. I was afraid to say no because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone, but at the end of the day the only person that I was disappointing was myself.
I had such high standards for myself that I didn’t realize until much later that people weren’t always expecting me to say yes for them, it was me. If I said no to someone, it wasn’t them that was let down, it was me. In order to change this, I had to learn how to say no. it was not an easy thing to do, and for all of you people pleasers, I can sympathize the feelings of wanting to go above and beyond for the ones that you love. But if you take it one step at a time, then you will be able to say no when you need to in no time!
The fourth step is being able to keep things to yourself.
This was also a hard thing for me to learn because when I kept things to myself I felt like I was lying to people, and if you know me then you know that I am the WORST liar on the planet. I cannot handle lying from myself or from others. So I would just open up and tell everything that I had to tell. This was a problem later because I found that I felt like I had showed my heart and soul to someone and all they did was tell me the bare minimum. But that actually wasn’t the case!
I was just sharing too much and it made me feel like they weren’t sharing the enough with me. But they were sharing the right amount and it was me who was sharing too much. I am pretty much an open book when it comes to almost anything and it took me some time to figure out that not everyone is like that. I had to learn that it’s okay to keep some things to myself and that it wasn’t lying and sometimes it was better to keep some things to myself.
This is a big step. This is growth, as a person, in a relationship and growth is what we do as people. We grow. Sometimes we grow apart, sometimes we grow together but my point is that finding the happy medium in each of your relationships is an important milestone, a huge goal! And it feels so good to get there.
The last step is depending on others.
I want to say first that there are definitely other things you can do to keep your identity in a relationship, but these are the ones that really struck a chord with me.
I know that this sort of contradicts the previous step but remember when I was talking about a happy medium, well this includes that. If you want to be in a relationship with someone then you have to depend on them, you have to trust them and that is the base of the relationship. Now you might be thinking, okay so you tell me to keep things to myself and now you’re saying to depend on them, make up your mind! But the thing is I don’t have to because both of these are true. What you have to do is find the happy medium.
There are two meanings when I say that you need to depend on others. The first meaning is that you need to trust the other person in the relationship, and the second one is that you need to depend on other people outside the relationship. If you focus all of your attention towards one person then it’s a slippery slope to losing yourself in the other person in the relationship. that is why you need to spend time with other people and why it’s important to have a circle of friends instead of just one.
There was a study done that showed that the more time people spent together the more they started to act like the other person, an extreme amount of time together led to wearing the same clothes be accident and finishing each other’s sentences and likes and dislikes even changing to similar things. So, depend on those that you trust but don’t depend on just one person, go to coffee with a different friend, or go to the movies, or do something new with someone you don’t always hang out with. Expanding your circle is better to helping you know your identity from others and that makes you more confident in who you are and that, my friends, is where you want to be in life.
Until next time,
If you want to read more from Violette, go through her blog posts here.