I once dated a good man for 12 years. I wanted marriage and he didn’t. I spent a lot of time asking myself why he didn’t love me enough to marry me. Until I realized that his inability to commit had less to do with me and more to do with the obligations he felt towards his family of origin. While it was still a hard pill to swallow, there was a lot of peace in knowing that it was his issue and not some deficiency in me.
If you’re in a relationship where the other person isn’t giving you what you want or just behaving badly, let go of taking it personally. Chances are it’s their issue and not yours. Doing so will not only make you happier, it will allow you to let go and move forward, so you can have the things you really want in life and love. Here are three tips for how to do it.
Cultivate radical self-love.
When you love yourself, it’s easier to detach from other people’s unwanted behavior and issues, because you know who you are and what you deserve. You know being imperfect, even if you do misstep, doesn’t make you unlovable or unworthy of what you want. You also know that you deserve to be treated with respect, which includes not taking the rap for other people’s stuff. When you’re grounded in radical self-love, you’re willing to accept responsibility for your part. There are lots of ways to cultivate radical self-love—by trusting your gut, listening to your own voice over all others, taking accountability for the role you play in your own life, to name a few. And doing the next step…
Replace limiting beliefs with more empowering versions.
Identifying limiting beliefs and replacing them with more empowering versions will help you see how other people’s actions have nothing to do with you. We all have limiting beliefs—negative ideas we believe to be true about ourselves or the world around us that limits us in some way. Since we get most of our subconscious beliefs in childhood to survive our family dynamic, they don’t always work for us when we’re adults. And yet, many of us hold them deep in our subconscious until we’re stuck, at which point we’ll do some much-needed self-examination. That was certainly the case for me. I had the limiting belief that no one would ever want to marry me. And sure enough, my boyfriend’s inability to commit confirmed it, even though it had nothing to do with me. In order for me to not take his actions personally, I had to create a more empowering belief—one that would serve me more positively: “The right person will be lucky to have me as their life partner and finding him is infinitely possible.” You need to do the same in order to detach from other people’s actions.
Resist the urge to do other people’s work.
Instead, stay focused on your own. We spend too much time dissecting other people’s motivation for their behavior. Rather than armchair diagnosing why someone won’t commit to marriage, put us first, see our point of view on an issue in relationship, or admit they’re sorry, stay focused on your own. After all, you can’t change someone else, but you can change yourself. Start by asking important questions in the mirror. Like, what am I getting from this situation by holding on and taking it personally? Is their behavior towards me confirming a limiting belief I need to change or get rid of? How can I let go of doing so? Use logic, and not emotion, to determine whether and what you’re accountable for… and what you’re not.
Once I let go of taking things personally in my relationship, I was finally able to see I wasn’t unlovable at all, just with the wrong guy. It was only when I stopped taking his actions as a referendum on me and shifted my focus was I ultimately able to find the love I wanted. Whatever your goal in love, you can use the same approach just as successfully.
Jill Sherer Murray’s TEDx talk “The Unstoppable Power of Letting Go” has been seen by more than 600,000 people worldwide and grows by the thousands each day. She is an award-winning journalist and communications leader and is founder of the lifestyle brand “Let Go For It®”, designed to help people let go for a better life. You can learn more about and connect with her at www.letgoforit.com, Jill Sherer Murray on LinkedIn, or @letgoforit on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.