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Redesigning Our Relationships Through Self-Change

Daniela Scheier

Redesigning Our Relationships Through Self-Change

The Colors of the Rainbow - a spiritual guide for women - states that our relationships reflect ourselves. They mirror our attitudes and behavior patterns; they model either unhealthy dependency, neediness and insecurity, or sound interdependence, self- appreciation and self-love. Countless books debate the phenomenon of 'smart' women choosing unrewarding relationships. Others consider women as victims of their bad choices. A lack of self-acceptance and self-trust is the cause of wrong choices; these deficiencies lie at the root of dysfunctional relationships.

Self-defeating decisions originate from unbalanced, non-loving relationships with the self. As self-change and positive self-perception are possible, we are not victims of our hurtful choosing. Mahatma Gandhi proclaims: "Be the change you want to see in the world." A change of self will alter our relationships and determine our choices. Learning to love and trust ourselves is the foundation of a self-aware approach towards our partners. Accepting self-responsibility for our thoughts, our actions, and our well being enables us to set firm boundaries. When we respect our needs and reflect on the meaning of our lives, we affirm that we are in charge of our decisions and our lives. With growing self-respect, we are reducing our tolerance level for pain. Abusive behavior only finds ground when we feel lost, unworthy and alone. Self-change brings awareness. We feel alive, self-reliant, in constant company of 'the friend within'. Positive growth leaves no space for self-defeat or abusive relationships. Relationships have to enrich our lives. When they bring chaos into our existence, they are neither rewarding, nor nurturing.

Self-awareness and positive self-valuation foster healthy choices. They help us to evaluate situations objectively. Being more self-aware, we are less desperate. We are less likely to interact with 'unhealthy' characters. We view people and their actions for what they are, instead of what we wish them to be. Old excuses, such as "it is our fault", when our partners break our trust or act irresponsibly, no longer hold true. On our journey toward self-growth, we learn that we are lovable. We learn that relationships are a healthy give and take. We give and, in turn, we deserve respect and appreciation. We learn that we cannot change others, but we have the power to change ourselves. We will no longer get into relationships with unhealthy partners, hoping that we can change them with our love and care. It does not work!

Self-change and self-love teach us that companionships are not sources of hurt. Life is not a continuous struggle! It is not something that happens to us. We can choose: nurturing and loving or abusive and defeating. Self-trust and the connection with our inner self grant us the wisdom to know the difference. Self-awareness and the trust in a positive universal power affirm that we are not victims. We own our power; we treasure ourselves; we make wise decisions. We no longer allow people and outer situations to dictate our lives. Based on the principle of self-acceptance, we become the creators of our own lives and our relationships. Positive change and healthy growth enable us to love and respect ourselves more.

As a result, we choose healthy partners and learn to set our boundaries. Redesigning our relationships with our partners and friends is based on redesigning our relationship with ourselves first: from self-defeating to self-loving - from self-denying to self-affirming. The exclamation "God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change" proclaims "accept that we cannot change others". The statement "God grant me the courage to change the things I can" tells us "we have the power to choose to begin, stay in, or end a relationship with others". With courage, we can change ourselves, our self-perception, our self-reliance. We are responsible to grow towards loving ourselves. The rationale supporting this is that women who establish a balanced and self-fostering relationship with their inner selves choose healthy and rewarding relationships.

2001 by Daniela E. Schreier

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