So often we see posts on social media encouraging us to drop the loser, ditch the people who don't better our lives, be independent, rely on ourselves. During a zombie scroll through Instagram these might seem like empowering messages. But are we taking responsibility for our own side of the street?
Relationships take two participating parties. Both members of any relationship have to show up equally for the relationship to work and progress. This is true for any type of relationship: family, friend, romantic partner, etc. By participating, I mean participating. We can't show up to one birthday party and then expect a lifelong friendship. We can't only comment on or like photos on social media and then wonder why we weren't invited to that camping trip. Friendships and relationships take work. They require us to be vulnerable, open, caring, empathetic. Sometimes they cause us to feel hurt or anger. How we show up during these times will reflect on the quality of our relationships.
Sometimes, we really do need to end a toxic relationship or one that is causing significant pain and we have differences that we can't resolve. We have to balance the value of the relationship with our hope the conflict will resolve. Sometimes, however, we need to take a look at ourselves to see if we have room to grow and improve to better our relationships.
So, how do you know if you're the problem?
Think about what you value in a friend/partner/etc:
How does this person show up in your life?
What about when you're down, do they call when you're upset?
Do you feel safe with them?
What are the characteristics and behaviors of a good friend?
How do you know if someone is a good friend/partner?
Do these people expand your world?
Do they make you want to be a better person or grow in certain areas of your life?
Now, look at yourself. How many of those values, characteristics and behaviors do you exhibit in your relationships? Are there some relationships where you can show up better than in others?
There were probably some areas for growth. That's a good thing. It means that you were being honest with yourself. It means that you can recognize that you aren't perfect (you aren't expected to be) and have the courage to admit that to yourself. We all start somewhere on the journey to more meaningful relationships. By looking inward, we can grow and take responsibility for our own behavior, thoughts and feelings. We can cause change in our lives and have more meaningful relationships.