I have been dating for a while and some of my personal values and beliefs of what constitutes a healthy relationship have been changing. Partially because I’m a firm believer that we create the meaning of a healthy relationship based on our personal desires, wants, needs and heck our own happiness. I also recognize that my understanding of a healthy relationship is heavily formulated by society and my upbringing in a southern, conservative, Christian home.
At this time in my life, I am very much at this crossroad of recognizing that in choosing my own happiness that it will be counter to what my family, close friends, and even society would deem as such.
I have to decide whether or not I will stay close to the familiar or go with this uncharted new territory that has brought me so much joy.
I have also come to recognize that people close to me asking questions doesn’t mean that they are against the current path I am choosing in life, or even viewing it has inherently “wrong”. Instead, I’m coming to understand that these questions are simply a function of them being unfamiliar with various forms that romantic relationships can take on. Importantly, they just want to exercise their care for me and make sure that I have thought through the decision that I’m about to make.
Life isn’t black and white and neither does the configuration of a relationship have to be.
I’m slowly making peace with that as a trailblazer in my professional journey that I am about to do the same in my personal life.
I’ve decided that I have done enough for the sake of others’ happiness at this juncture in my life. I’m deciding to choose my own happiness.
Are you too struggling with making a decision in your life that may be counter to what society and/or family/friends may deem socially acceptable? If so, here are some strategies on how to work through this process.
Accept that it is a process.
During the exploration phase, it is okay to be unsure about things. This uncertainty is often heavily influenced by ideas that we hold or at least thought that we held, coming into direct conflict with what we would currently like to do.
Get clear about what you really want.
We spend time thinking about what we should want instead of what we really want. For instance, in wanting a committed relationship we are often conditioned to believe that we should want that in the form of marriage. Is that what you really want? Trust me it’s okay to admit that the answer may be or is definitely “No”.
Do some research.
What are alternative choices to getting what you truly want and desire? In discovering these alternatives you may recognize that a different situation or choice fits better for what you desire.
Find an unbiased person that will help you do the work.
The best person is a therapist or life coach because that person doesn’t have the same types of investment in your happiness as people more closely connected to you may have. Thus, they are able to provide an unbiased, nonjudgemental space that allows you to fully do the work needed to make the best decision for your life.
Recognize that the exploration process never fully ends as you likely continue to refine your wants, desires, and needs over time.
Do not ever apologize and/or feel sorry for yourself because you are a continual work in progress. Instead, own that ish. Make sure to communicate any changes that may occur in wants, desires and needs to those that are most impacted (such as your romantic partner, friend or family member).
Continuing to evolve into a better version of yourself takes work and the reality is that you may lose some people along the way. Know that I see and hear you in your struggle and I’m more than happy to help.
Like this post? Check out 4 Real Facts about Relationships.