Do you notice how your different relationships make you feel? Most of us have a wide variety of connections, from passing acquaintances and work colleagues, to the special people who become integral parts of our lives.
I'm trying to become more attuned to how I feel about the different relationships I have in my life. In particular, where do I feel supported and valued, and where do I feel like an afterthought or a low priority?
This isn't about passing judgement on the people these relationships are with, it's more about noticing my own feelings that arise from them.
I try and adjust my language to say 'how I feel around ... ' rather than 'how ... makes me feel.' Other people don't inherently 'make' me feel anything, however much it might feel like it sometimes. We are each in charge of our own emotional responses, and this returns the power to us.
If I'm spending a lot of time around people where I don't feel important, it begins to have a negative effect on my mood, my self-worth, and my sense of peace and balance. This sounds so obvious, but is difficult to notice in the moment.
For me it shows up in situations like waiting hours for a message reply, or having plans cancelled at the last minute. Usually, if I feel upset about these things it's not because of the action itself, but because deep down it makes me feel forgotten, abandoned or unwanted. This sounds extreme but is a really common reaction for a lot of people - it's a trigger to a root insecurity.
Whilst there is value in identifying this root, there is also value in noticing the specific triggers which stir up big reactions. From this awareness I can then start to plan and adapt, either avoiding putting myself in these situations, or approaching them with a more resilient mindset. Not everyone is going to have the time and space for me in their life, and that's okay. Where the conflict and tension comes in is when my expectations don't match up with the reality.
I'm doing some writing prompts which involve splitting the page into two columns and quickly listing where I feel 'Valued/Not Valued'.
This can be a bit of a brutal and slightly painful exercise to do, but it really helps me to identify where I do and don't feel good.
Recognising relationships whereI feel undervalued can be sad, and sometimes it's a hard thing to accept that. Despite this, I think I would rather have the awareness of difficulty than continue blindly in an emotional context which is hurting me.
What I do with this new awareness is another question altogether, but either way I will try and respond gently rather than react impulsively.
Even if it creates anxiety, letting go often ends up opening space for new things.
If I stop giving my time and energy away in places where I don't feel nourished by what I get back, I can protect that energy and have higher reserves to give in abundance to things which do feel right, feel reciprocal and feel healthily balanced.
The scary part is the void I'm in until those new things arrive. This takes huge trust.
Let me know how this resonates with you and if you'd like to, share your thoughts in my linked Instagram post.