Our relationship with relationships
Our world is built on the relationships we have with others. Good, or bad, active or passive. Connection or lack of connection.
From birth, the relationships we develop determine who we are. As a personality, how we receive and perceive information, what become our dominant needs and what our stories are about life.
The patterns passed on to us by our caregivers become our own patterns for the rest of our lives, unless we take time to recognise and release the ones that don’t serve us.
As we determine our own relationships as adults - deciding our own friends and partners, we build a framework of people who can love, support and let us flourish. Or if we’re not careful, we can let in people who judge, criticise and bring us down.
Either way, these relationships have a huge impact on who we are and how we behave.
So it is essential that we build the best kind of relationships, so that we can build out best lives. I’ll have some french bread for that cheesiness, thank you.
What do we seek from others?
We can look to our relationships for verification, for a source of fun, for fulfillment, to make us feel loved. The more we turn externally and look for these things from our relationships, the more pressure we put on those relationships.
This is where the cracks start to show. The friend who always leans on you for relationship support then disappears the moment that all is going well. The partner who can’t fill your entire weekend with plans and special moments.
Other people have their own stuff going on. Sometimes they have nothing or little to give others, including you. If you are constantly searching for verification and fulfilment from others, you are inevitably going to end up disappointed.
On the flip side, if we sense people are always searching for verification or fulfilment from us, that relationship becomes draining and not particularly fun. Not someone we want to answer the phone to.
So what is the secret fix?
Fix your relationship with yourself first.
Give yourself the fulfillment you need. Speak to yourself how you would like others to speak to you. Love yourself like you want others to love you. Support yourself like you want to be held and supported by others.
When you do this, your world changes. You are fulfilling your own needs. You are changing your own stories. You become capable of boosting your own emotions and solving your own problems.
Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t seek a hug from a supportive friend, or look to your partner for some fun dates. But these relationships become the cherry on the top of the cupcake that you made yourself. It would still taste delicious and doesn’t NEED the cherry, but hey, everything looks better with a cherry on top.
How will this help my relationships?
Look at it this way. You’re feeling tired, upset and angry. You’re had a rubbish day but haven’t yet been able to take a moment to recognise that and work through your emotions.
Your partner comes home, dumps their bag in the hall, ignores the dishes in the sink and proceeds to go upstairs and have a shower, after just a quick hello.
You become even more upset and angry. You needed them to ask about your day. You needed them to sit and listen and offer support. You sit there stewing on this for twenty minutes. When they come downstairs, freshly showered and blissfully unaware that anything is wrong and ask you what’s for dinner, you ERUPT.
How dare they dump their bag in the hall, how dare they not care about your feelings, how dare they assume YOU have the energy to make dinner.
From their perspective, they’ve acted just how they do several times a week, when it’s never normally an issue. They had a tough day too, needed a few moments downtime and took a shower to refresh themselves. Your behaviour seems completely unjustified and unfair. Their reaction - to get on the defensive.
And then you have a full blown argument that could have repercussions for days.
Now imagine this alternative:
You get back from work. You realise that you’re tired, upset and angry and take a few moments to reflect why. That project that got delayed, the colleague who didn’t support you as you wanted and the important email you missed.
You allow yourself to acknowledge it was a shitty day and ask yourself what you need. You decide that a relaxing bath whilst reading Kat Winny’s blog posts will help (obviously). You message your partner to let them know.
They come home, decompress on the sofa for a while, then come up to see how you’re doing. You’re feeling relaxed and soothed, the blog posts have revolutionised your thinking and you appreciate that tomorrow is a new day and not all is lost.
Together, you decide you’re both tired so will get a take-out for dinner. You have a quiet dinner, a gentle chat to decompress further and head up to bed for an early night.
Yes, it really can be that simple.
When we have no expectations from others, we cannot feel frustrated. If they are only there to add to our lives, they cannot take away. When we have baked our own mouthwatering cupcake of a life, the cherry on top is not needed but appreciated.
This appreciation and love is the basis for a solid relationship.
What about if you're dating?
Fulfilling your own needs first is essential if you are dating. In long term relationships, your partner is there as a means of support and will expect you to lean on them. This is not what any healthy relationship candidate looks for in a first date.
If you are dating, the expectation/frustration pattern can be hugely magnified. If you’re super excited about your first date for months, and they message you two hours before saying they have to cancel, you can feel so frustrated you completely blow up on them, accusing them of disrespect for your time and block them for ever more.
They, already annoyed that they have to work late/care for their sickly grandfather/rescue a small kitten, feel this is completely unjustified and immediately write you off as someone they want in their future life.
If however, you had let yourself feel disappointed, taken yourself off for your own date night or met some friends down the gym, you would have been able to send a “no worries” message and really have meant it.
Date rescheduled for next week, and a great relationship has the opportunity to bloom.
When we set expectations from others, particularly those we don’t even know that well, we are doomed for disappointment.
Feeling fulfilled and looking after your needs allows you to appreciate that others have their own stuff going on too and that you both need to look after your own interests.
So what should you do?
Start looking at how you treat yourself:
How do you talk to yourself?
Do you let yourself feel emotions and allow them to pass through?
How do you look after yourself?
What are your needs and how are you meeting these?
What expectations can you take away from others and starting fulfilling yourself?
Not sure how to do this yourself?
There is no way I could have got through the dating process and ended up in the relationship I am in now without the support of some amazing mentors and coaches.
I thrive helping others assess where the cracks in an existing relationship come from, or what the blocks are stopping them getting to the relationship they want to be in. Getting an outside perspective, and unlocking what is going on inside is essential for you to have deeply fulfilling, cherry-on-the-top relationships.
You can work with me:
"Kat was a massive help to me when I was going through a tough time, especially with new relationships. I was getting anxious and upset all the time but didn't really know why. Kat really understood how I was feeling and was able to identify where the negative feelings were coming from. With Kat's support, I felt more relaxed, happy in myself and ready to deal with all the things I'd previously been so worried about. She was just great" Laura, Lawyer, London
1. Understand your own needs first
2. Seek to fulfil these needs yourself first
3. Set expectations for yourself, not others
4. Allow those cherry-on-the-top relationships to blossom