Our inner strength is what can get us through both the good and the bad times in life, pulling on it during periods of heartbreak can feel near impossible, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
It is only natural to want to find a partner in life, someone to share our journey with, to build something with and to create lasting memories. Many will find their lifelong love in their early years and it will just work. Just as many will think they have, and for one reason or another, it does not work out.
Often there are those relationships, that despite not being the best for us, linger in our minds and our lives for a long time after they have ended. There is that dangerous period where we feel enough time has passed for us to try the friend’s thing. I’m sure many of you reading this can attest to this not always being the best move. There is also that period of time where the relationship lingers in our minds for a while after it has ended. Late nights going over old scenarios again and again, it can be exhausting and there comes a time where we say enough is enough.
Often I hear a line that goes something like this, “I don’t understand, I keep picking the wrong guy or girl”, or, “There must be something wrong with me, this same thing keeps happening with everyone I meet”.
A friend of mine recommended someone to go and talk to when I was having these issues and within about 10 minutes of being there, they said something to me which near stopped me in my tracks, and that I have never forgotten.
“You know what is going on? Your safety buttons are being pushed. We look for people to replace what is not happening in our lives”.
At first I was a little taken back by these words, but I had a feeling around where she was going with this. Often it is quite confronting when we are served up a teaspoon of truth. And where failed relationships are concerned, it can often feel like a cement truck of truth has just been unloaded on top of us.
I tell people this story when they come to me for advice, and I am now writing about it for your benefit.
When we think back to an ex, there can often be a duality in our thinking. Sometimes, for all of the things that irritate us about them, these things were what we were drawn to in the beginning.
Someone who’s flirtatious ways, obsession with their appearance, and smooth way with words can be the things that piss us off the most when we are with them. But it is also these things that can hook our attention in the first place, and arouse our curiosity about them.
Many people that come to me about relationships are, at first, not aware of this. Many people are almost conditioned into accepting the fact that they themselves must be the problem, and that they need to make a change in order to accommodate their partners less than desirable ways.
I say no to that.
While there are people who possess narcissistic traits more so than others, and some people are more manipulative than others and so on and so fourth. I believe that any one person at any time can be guilty of such traits; perhaps only for a short time, but no one person is ever perfect. It is important to try and remain as objective as you can when you find yourself in this post relationship and failed dating zone.
The difference however between the career narcissist or manipulator, or the perhaps casual or part time narcissist or manipulator, is the awareness of the behaviours, and that it is not a positive one and there is a willingness to change.
Where it is you that finds yourself craving a change in the partners that you are picking based on them exhibiting the same patterns as those who have come before them, it is not that you need to change your ways by any stretch, but rather recognise at an earlier stage when someone you are attracted to is pushing on your safety button.
For the purposes of this article, I am going to coin the term expression, the safety button theory.
Let’s take a look at what is involved after you become aware of the safety button theory:
Be objective in your thinking
For anyone who has been in a relationship that has left you broken after it has ended, it is important to be as objective as you can in your thinking about the exact behaviours or perhaps actions that led you to leaving. What is just as important next, is to try to be as kind to yourself as possible. Sure, there are going to be moments where your emotions get the better of you, but allow this to happen and know that you are not going to be hurting forever.
This is all a part of the process, trust it and allow it to do what it must.
Identify where or when you felt a change
Once you have identified this, you can then start to work back to exactly when you felt a change in either the way they made you feel, or perhaps the way they began to act towards you. Or perhaps something shifted in you, you grew, you matured, something inside of you just changed, think objectively about this once again and do your best to analyse what the change was.
This here is the process to uncovering at what point your safety button started being pushed, and where you were perhaps compromising your own morals or values in order to keep the peace. This is where you will begin to uncover your power and inner strength that has got you this far in life, so one could say it will continue carry you into the future.
This process can initially be quite tough. Sometimes in life we are well aware of when we are allowing others to walk all over us, but perhaps allow it to continue because we think it is the right thing to do. Where your feelings are concerned, and where someone is blatantly abusing them, there is no need to play nice.
Stand your ground.
You won’t get it right the first time
I feel like at this point I should tell you that you are not going to get this right the first time. And that if you are recently out of a relationship and going through that fabulous time of putting your heart back out on the line, it could take one or two more let downs to learn where your boundaries are.
Again, this is the process unfolding as it should.
Have faith in it and allow it to do its thing.
Often we humans can feel the need to intervene in life’s natural processes and can end up doing more harm than good. Where taking back your power and drawing on your inner strength is concerned, you want this process to go as smoothly as possible.
Don’t get defeated
Don’t let this process defeat you. There is an opportunity for growth in every situation in life, and where learning more about your own boundaries is concerned, it is so vital for your wellbeing in its entirety.
Accept that this process is going to be challenging for you at first, but trust that you have the strength to get through it. We often underestimate ourselves and forget the adversity we face in life, and how we get past it. It is quite easy to talk about how we once got through hard times when everything is going well in our lives, but if we cast our minds back to just how hard it was, we should be always grateful and extremely proud of our resilience and ability to navigate our way out of the dark.
Bringing it all together
When I first became aware of the safety button theory and began to think about it with relevance in my own life, I decided to come up with my own way of working out how I could best see it.
I am a visual person, and so, I visualised there being almost like a gate in front of me, that I would keep closed for a period of time until I was ready to open it. Where I felt someone was perhaps being a bit forceful on it, I took this as my queue to start thinking about if my safety button was being pushed.
By no means was I ‘installing’ this gate as a way of closing off my heart for good, but more so as an added security feature for my own wellbeing. Some would say that perhaps I became and have become too guarded. To that I say keep talking, I’m the only one who has to live my life everyday, no one else.
Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one.
With these words here today I am saying to you that you should not feel guilty for establishing boundaries, you should feel proud. There are going to be many that will tell you that you should let people in. To that I say that it is not that you will completely shut people out as a result of recognising when your safety button has been pressed, but you will make better decisions on how you will handle this situation when it arises.
You will become a master of your craft and at letting only the best people into your life.
You are the gatekeeper to your existence, no one else, and for all those who will say that you are being too guarded, there will come a time when someone comes along who won’t even come near your safety button, they will just be a perfect fit. And this will be as a result of you determining exactly what you don’t want and won’t allow. By being firm on what we don’t want or won’t allow into our lives, allows us to know exactly what we do want, and in this moment, all of the heartache will have been worth it.