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How to Stay True To Yourself

Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors

How to Stay True To Yourself

4 Parts to Establishing Healthy Relationship Beliefs
Nancy Levin
Nancy Levin More by this author
Jul 26, 2018 at 10:45 AM

Wherever you are in your relationship story—Life is infinitely dramatic.

My hope is that the process in my book, The New Relationship Blueprint, will help you avoid a similar fate.

I was born into a mourning family, a grieving family.

When I was two years old, my six-year-old brother died of pneumonia. He had been born mentally incapacitated, so he had problems right from the beginning.

Then, four years after my brother came along—and with nine months of swimming around in my mother’s neuroses and fear—I entered a world in which both of my parents were focused on helping my brother survive.

Understandably, he had to be their number-one priority.

I understood that my brother’s wants and needs were far more important than mine. I knew I’d better not have any wants and needs of my own. I believed I’d better become self-sufficient and independent . . . fast!

My parents loved me. My mother has told me in recent years that she was afraid to become attached to me for the first few months in case I suffered from the same condition as my brother.

When my brother died, I concluded that being imperfect—being broken in any way—equals death.

Thus began my quest for perfection and what I call my “Superwoman complex.”

This is my “origin story,” which imprinted on my psyche and set the course of my life . . . and my future relationships. It also caused me to unconsciously create survival strategies

Perfectionism was one of them.

So there I was, growing up, trying with all my might to be perfect. Perfection equaled outward praise, so I tracked for things others would see and notice—grades, perfect attendance, and a clean bedroom. (I was a kid, after all.)

Joy and fun never won anybody a gold star, so they got coded as frivolous and irresponsible.

That was my map of life from childhood onward, and it’s the map I was using the day I met the man who would become my husband.

I attracted the person whose core wounds were a perfect match for my own.

Our core wounds are the deepest, most profound sources of pain inside of us.

They stem from our origin story, and we usually attract someone who “activates” those wounds.

One of my core wounds is that if I’m not perfect, I’ll die.

Another core wound, formed around the same story, is that no one will ever take care of me.

As I said, I became tenaciously independent. Not because I wanted to, but because I felt I had no choice.

My ex, of course, was just the opposite. 

He had a profound need to be taken care of, a pattern forged in childhood when he didn’t get the loving care he and every child needs and deserves.

I could’ve learned the lessons from my marriage much sooner if I’d only had the awareness at that time. 

Instead, I tried hard to be perfect in my marriage.

Louise Hay once told me that I deserved an Academy Award for my portrayal of the “perfect wife.”

Still, no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t perfect enough in my husband’s eyes. The more he demanded, the more I demanded of myself—making my own wants and needs irrelevant, just as I had when I was a child.

My brand of perfection had always meant trying to “fix” everybody around me. If I was perfect, maybe I could heal his pain.

Then we’d both feel safe.

In striving for that false image of perfection, though, I sacrificed my true self.

If I’d had the self-worth and awareness I needed at that time, I’d have realized that I was trying to climb an unclimbable mountain.

I’ve now learned that when you don’t express your truth directly, it always comes out sideways.

Only once I saw how my own beliefs were the cause of my pain could I move into a healthier way of being. 

Unfortunately, that meant a contentious divorce. 

Give yourself the gifts of awareness, acceptance of the truth, self-forgiveness, and self-love help soften the blow.

Let’s do some exercises: 

Part 1 - Childhood Memory Collection 

1. Close your eyes, and take several breaths. Relax each part of your body, starting with

your feet. Then, gradually move up your legs, hips, belly, chest, back, arms, neck, and head until you feel fully relaxed. Don’t work too hard at this. Just ask your body to relax. As you continue, it will relax more and more.

2. When you’re ready, with your eyes closed picture or feel yourself in the home you lived in when you were four years old. Allow yourself to smell the scents, hear the sounds, and feel the air. Once you feel anchored in the experience of your childhood, ask yourself the question:

“What’s my earliest memory?”

Then, wait for something to come into your mind. It might be a word, a picture, or a full scene. Don’t worry if you don’t visualize anything. You might simply have a sense or feeling of some kind.

Allow for whatever comes forward. Just wait a few seconds each time to allow impressions to form in whatever way they want.

3. Now take another deep breath and drop down into an even deeper relaxed state. Ask yourself: “What’s my first memory about relationships?” Allow any pictures or feelings to come to you.

4. Spend as much time as you like with your memories. Then open your eyes and come back to the present moment. Take time to write down what you saw or felt so that you don’t forget.

Please take notes even if you’re sure you’ll remember. You’ll be glad you did!

5. If the memories cause any unpleasant feelings, first and foremost be kind to yourself. With any self-inquiry, you’re waking up parts of yourself that have been dormant.

In the work we’re doing, you’re going to stop pushing those parts aside and consciously move into the fullness of who you are.

Be present with your emotions.

Cry if you need to cry, punch that pillow, talk to a friend, and/or write in your journal.

Acknowledging your feelings can begin to transform their energy and ease their intensity.

Part 2 - Writing Your Origin Story 

Now that we’ve jogged your memory with the meditation, write down the events of your own origin story—your version of the one I shared at the beginning of the chapter.

To the best of your ability, write down the key moments or experiences you remember about your childhood, the ones that may have been formative.

You don’t have to know yet what beliefs you formed as a result of what happened.

Your origin story has been directing your relationship history, much like the director of a movie. The beliefs you created during those formative years draw toward you the people, relationships, and situations that reinforce those beliefs.

Part 3 – Discovering Your Beliefs as A Result of Your Origin Story

Ask yourself the following questions – this is a lengthy journaling session, so give yourself 30 minutes or more to work with the questions.

  1. What are the earliest messages you remember receiving about love and relationships as a result of what you heard or observed?
  2. If you had both parents at home, what was their relationship like? How did they relate to each other? Were they affectionate and expressive with each other? Were they affectionate and expressive with you?
  3. If you had only one parent, what did you come to believe about relationships as a result of the absence of the other parent?
  4. What kinds of relationships did you see in your family and community? What were the relationships like between grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, or teachers? What were the dynamics between the adults you observed? Were they contentious, harmonious, unemotional, loving, or confusing?
  5. What unconscious promises did you make to yourself about relationships?

 As you can see, our origin stories give us important clues about the lens through which we view the world.

 Part 4 – Creating New Beliefs

Next, let’s create new beliefs that feel empowering and positive. You can choose the opposite belief to the one your holding. Play around and try one or two different options before choosing the new belief you like best. Make a commitment to your new, more empowering beliefs.

Here's one of the big lessons: Each of us is the common denominator in all our relationships, and we’ll always draw others to us who will activate our deepest emotional issues.

This is true in work, friendship, and family life, and it goes doubly if we’re talking about intimate relationships.

As you learn in the pages of my book, The New Relationship Blueprint, consistent harmony usually means there’s a lot of churning going on under the surface.

This is a choice point. Take my hand, and let’s get started.

About Author
Nancy Levin
Nancy Levin is the bestselling author of Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth, Jump … And Your Life Will Appear and Writing For My Life. She’s a Master Integrative Coach and the creator of the Jump C Continue reading