I have just realised that I have all these pictures, ideals and beliefs in my head about women in relationships and on how a woman should be in a relationship.
For so long I was unaware of these pictures as I have been single for ages and there has been no potential on the horizon, but recently that has changed… and so has my behaviour.
You see, when there was no potential relationship with a man, I was just being me… no one to impress, no neediness or anything, but as soon as I had a potential, these pictures started popping up all over the place. The hard thing was to realise that the pictures are not me; that I have taken them on so that I would fit in and belong.
These pictures look a bit like this, and for each woman they will be different, but here are some of mine:
- As a woman I should look a certain way, either sexy or feminine, for a man to like me and want to be in a relationship with me
- The house should be clean and tidy or else I am not a good woman
- The dinner should be perfect and everyone should enjoy it otherwise I am a failure as a woman
- I should be happy, fun and playful otherwise I am not a good woman
- I should be a good parent
- I should be smart
And the list will go on until bit by bit I get more and more honest about these pictures and beliefs that I have somehow had in my mind and thought were me, but aren’t really. At some point in my life, probably when I was very young, I must have felt that the real me would be rejected and I tried to fit a picture of what I thought I should be instead. When the picture gets rejected I think it‘s me and do not realise that it is just the picture or a false ideal.
I am starting to realise that from my role models, and from what I have seen on TV, in movies and in society, I have taken on these pictures of what it is to be, not only a woman, but also a women in relationship, as being me – but in fact it is not me at all.
The tricky part is that when I get caught in the trying to be the ‘picture’, in trying to look sexy, to have the house picture perfect clean and to make the perfect dinner, to have the perfect relationship, I have to leave who I am naturally and put myself under a lot of pressure to be who I am not. This pressure causes anxiety and stress and worse than that, it causes me to not be me.
In that moment, I contract or feel less and cannot for the life of me just relax and be me…
The other choice that I consider in that moment is to give up completely because it’s like I will never be able to reach the impossible standards I have set for myself as a woman – and I have only set the standards because of the pictures in my head.
I am not sure how it must feel for the man at the other end of this scenario – I am yet to discover that – but it must feel kind of strange meeting a woman and seeing her as herself but then the next time that you see her she is anxious and putting on a show. It’s no wonder guys can sometimes get cold feet in a relationship with a woman and run. Maybe it’s just that they feel the falseness of the picture and say no to that. Maybe they are not interested in the “made up version” and in fact the part they liked was the real one.
It has taken me years to acquire all these pictures of woman in relationship and how a woman ‘should’ be, act and behave in a relationship, so as much as I would like to discard them overnight, I realise that this is a work in progress and requires my honesty and awareness to slowly, one by one, become aware of each picture and decipher whether it’s me or a picture.
I may be attached to some pictures more than others and identified in them in some way, depending on how ingrained they are in me and that is okay, as it is all part of my process. Now my process is to unravel the what is not me, so that I can be me as a woman in relationship.
by Rosie Bason, Age 35, Massage therapist, Parent, Business owner, Goonellabah
Inspired by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine
It is so true that we have taken years to build up a collection of pictures about how we should be in all different situations in life and it is a work in progress to become aware of them, examine them and then choose to discard them. Recently I have been ill for several weeks and my picture of needing to get back to work as soon as possible and start being productive again made me force my body to go back to work before it was ready with predictable consequences and it was only when I was off again that I became willing to surrender to the healing on offer and ditch my pictures of what a good worker looks like.
We all have our issues that have been buried for life times so is it any wonder that we have to unravel slowly with an honest approach to eliminate all we are not in our essences.
When we find ourselves being caught up in our ideals of ‘should’ we can stop and ask ourselves ‘Do we want the other person to fit their ‘shoulds’ or to just be who they are?”
It’s worth letting go of all the pictures and all the effort and trying to be something we’re not, because when someone is in love with you, actually you, it’s such an incredible feeling.
Accepting and appreciating ourselves for who we truly are helps us to let go of these pictures, ‘I have to leave who I am naturally and put myself under a lot of pressure to be who I am not. This pressure causes anxiety and stress and worse than that, it causes me to not be me.’
One picture of mine I can certainly vouch for is: ‘I ‘should’ be a good, hard and conscientious worker to prove my self worth’, a picture what feels like I have held for a long time however this picture is definitely not who I am. What I am becoming aware of is how we place the pictures onto others thinking it is them and who they are when in truth it could not be further from the truth. It makes sense to me that when we hold a picture within us we hold it not only for ourselves but we hold it for everyone.
This is very true what you share here Caroline, so many people can be imprisoned by these false pictures. Time to let these pictures go, ‘I must have felt that the real me would be rejected and I tried to fit a picture of what I thought I should be instead. When the picture gets rejected I think it‘s me and do not realise that it is just the picture or a false ideal.’
Is it my task as the woman to be the one responsible for keeping the so called harmony (peace) in the house so that the man (or others involved) doesn’t experience the turmoil that is there? I am realising there are still ‘relics’ left of this picture that are playing out, like trying to please others so they won’t have to bother to look at their own part of creating a disharmony. And it is not truly harmony, it is more that things can be swept under the carpet instead of delt with when they present themselves.
Yes when we choose to live more from our essence, we naturally are pulled up to strip off the layers on top (that are lies over our truth, not who we are). This can be an image, a role, an ideal or belief, an expectation, a thought etc..
Learning to see the difference between who we are by essence and what we are not, is a very freeing and loving journey. One that never ends. Until we are fully resurrected back to our Soul, our essential beingness.
It is a loving work in progress to unravel what we have taken on, let it go and live more of ourselves.
I find it interesting how there can be the real you and the you that is put out on show to avoid having the real you rejected. And I actually admire how complicated and actually very sophisticated this is, and I know that I have done this so many times too, and watch people I know do it too. That we as humans are aware that we can pick and choose how we are perceived, I reckon shows the signs of a vastly more grand intelligence that knows exactly all the rules of this earth and will bend and manipulate as it sees fit in order to give to itself exactly what it wants – i.e. comfort, security, issues, dilemmas, identification, distraction – whilst all the while knowing that the real and true you is still there, a you that is simple and pure and deeply uncomplicated.
Living life through pictures is rather bleak and empty, because the pictures cause so much stress and anxiety and are a distraction away from us just being and feeling ourselves. When we just relax into life and allow it to be how it is, and for us to be who we are, without trying to impress anyone else or convince them that we’re who we think they want us to be, we’re a lot more real, and so are our connections with others.
We do not know who we are, so we create pictures to fill that void, to make us be something that we are not and that has been projected to us. Connecting deeper within to who we truly are provides us with an understanding that we are indeed enough, just being, accepting and appreciating ourselves for who we truly are little by little blows all those pictures out of the water.
Letting go of pictures can only happen when we bring enough awareness to our lives and our choices to see what those pictures are, and why we created them in the first place. Building a connection to what we can feel, and learning to discern whether something feels great or not, is a first step towards letting go of those pictures. Life based on how we feel means that the pictures start to become redundant, because they just feel unimportant and irrelevant compared to the grandness, the space and stillness we can feel when we allow ourselves that freedom to let go.
I so loved reading this again today, as it has been a moment to appreciate how many of those pictures I’ve let go of and how much more me I now am. I had lots of pictures around being in a relationship but then once I was in one, I then had lots of pictures of being a woman in relationship in a family and then when I had kids, with a family. I can remember just turning myself inside out to impress my parents and in-laws when they would come over, having everything picture perfect and that I was being a great allrounder partner and mother. Exhausting with a capital E. The whole time they get this diluted form of us and miss out on actually being together.
It is so good to see and appreciate what we are no longer held in, as in all the pictures and roles that we try to fit rather than just being ourselves. Sure we have to be a mum, a partner, do the cleaning etc but those activities do not define us.
Yes why is it that we see things and get stuck in yet another picture of “its just the way it is”. It is only that way because we have accepted that! Each moment is a new beginning and up to us to change if we feel to.
I love this Rosie and I can relate to it, I know that when someone has shown that they love me I can have pictures come in of how I then think I need to be, but in this I change and the person no longer gets the ‘me’ they fell in love with. It is an experience to open up and allow another to see all of you.
Yes it sure is and so lovely when we are open to that and see the all of them and accept it without needing to change anything to suit yet another picture.
I can so relate to this, I recently met a man and we decided to go on a date. I then went in on myself trying to fit what I thought would be the picture he would want. I realised that this was a form of protection and a way for me to avoid going deeper and opening up to what was on offer in the relationship.
I have been looking at this too, how we can get caught up in over there and fitting in but it is all just to avoid going deeper within. Why do I avoid that….? hmm thats a good question. Its as if I am exploring going places I haven’t been before, allowing more of the delicate woman out and it scares me just because it is unknown and I have lived so long in protection.
As we unravel what is not us it is so lovely to reconnect to the depths of who we are and build a loving relationship with ourselves and with this we are in a much stronger position to take all of us into all our relationships.
Absolutely and it also supports us in instances where we do go off track or take a detour as we then have a foundation to return to.
A great conversation to open up Rosie, as I am sure many of us have experienced doing this; my hand is up. I say ‘doing’ because this is precisely what we choose to go into whilst negating our innately gorgeous quality of being, in order to ‘live up’ or ‘measure up ‘ to something that we think will garner attention, acceptance or approval. We are more than enough and the more we develop a loving relationship with our ‘enoughness’ that more we confidently meet others and share this gorgeous quality of our being.
We really are more than enough and we need to appreciate this more and more because if we don’t own it, live it and appreciate ourselves how can we expect anyone else to.
Much of what you shared is in fact so familiar to many. Being yourself in a relationship not being run over with set ups, ideals and beliefs and expectations, is not our current reality. Yet I have been presented by The Way of The Livingness that there is no reason why we should allow it to let ideals, beliefs, expectations and set ups run us, if we choose a more free and open-hearted way of living. Hence, we can cure by our care-full living.
Yes, creating pictures in our relationships does feel like a trap and the crazy thing is one we set for ourselves and others to fall into. So, by discarding the pictures in our relationships and of how things need to be frees us up to be who we are and this allows others to be who they are too.
I find when I create pictures around relationships and how I think we should be, it feels like I am setting things up to fail and it is like an excuse to not go deeper in my relationships. For example, I create a picture in my head for someone I am in relationship with, expecting them to fit into it, and the crazy thing is this person has no idea what the picture in my head looks like, which means it is almost impossible to meet. And, when my picture is not met, I then feel deeply hurt and I immediately go into protection, shutdown and blame. As a result the other person feels rejected and hurt. So, do you get the picture of how damaging it is to create or hold onto pictures in a relationship? It sounds like I am writing a script for a soap opera but I have been living with many, many different types of pictures in my head and have allowed them to affect my relationships for a long time. So, learning to be in a relationship without pictures is something new for me and I am definitely open to it, as it supports me to be in true relationship based on love, instead of one that is governed by pictures that harms us all.
Awesome blog Rosie. I have been in a relationship for 16 years and I recently realised how much pictures and expectations are affecting my relationship and how they also impact all my other relationships. It is great to nominate them and get to the root of why I have held onto them for so long. Sometimes I think I have let go of one but find it reoccurs again. I now see this as an opportunity to ask myself why I am holding onto it. What is the reason behind this and what is it really showing me?
I absolutely know what you are talking about, thinking I was totally fine with relationships for as long as I was single and then noticing a whole lot coming up when I started looking outside again. The thing I learned is that it does not mean we are wrong when we have it coming up or that we are making the wrong steps, it just means it is an area in life where we still can learn a lot and grow from so we can be steady and our self there too.
Pictures have been my worst nightmare. I’ve been chasing the dream since I can remember. It has been my biggest distraction to daydream about love and how that would look compared to being intimate, caring and super tender loving with myself. Pictures do not bring a whole body experience as it so foolishly suggests.
There is nothing quite as lovely as being able to be yourself with someone, and that includes being amazing (without a single picture in sight).
At the moment I am just discovering how I change and all the pictures I have about being in a relationship. There are certain things that I just hadn’t seen before, its not that they weren’t there but it was an area that I had shut down my expression in and now as I re-open myself to relationships there is much that is coming out for me to see and be aware of.
There are things that are always there but we are just not aware at the time… but awareness or not… they are there all the same..
I can relate to what you have shared here Rosie. When I was single I was more at ease in myself and didn’t think about relationships, there was more contentment and settlement. Then when I went into a relationship I didn’t hold this and could feel all the pictures that came in, particularly when the relationship ended. That was then when I went into wanting something from outside of me more and feeling unsettled. It was here that I had become affected by and taken on pictures of how I needed to be as a woman.
Then it all becomes one big fat lie that we try to maintain. Crazy.
Yes its not a pleasant surprise when you realise that you haven’t been dating who you think you have because you have been dating a bunch of pictures and a false front.
It sure is a trap of our own making and I have found that as I discard one, I often will come up with a replacement but with more and more awareness and willingness to really look at it all.. its getting better and I am allowing myself to just be be me and love and appreciate me.
It is indeed a clever setup which can take years to unravel but once the attachment and the hold of the pictures have gone there is a level of acceptance about ourselves that was not there before, and there is an ease to being ourselves without worrying what others might think of us. This alone shows how retarding the ideals and beliefs are.
I discovered just yesterday that in my picture of being a woman and being an adult, I have to be serious… and in actual fact I am naturally quite playful and I often supress that part of me and even a part of my sexiness. got to let that out more often!
When we get preoccupied and caught up in the polarities of the I am good or I am bad game we all too often forget to simply be ourselves.
It is that forever search of trying to be more because we don’t appreciate that we are already enough just by being who we are. It is exhausting. The striving outside rather that the accepting and appreciating within.
Women are so influenced by images and we are totally bombarded with them via the media, magazines the internet and even our relationships. The more women value their inner-self, how they feel, what they like and how they do life – they will be less inclined to look outside for satisfaction or confirmation from outer images.
I am sure men have a whole collection of pictures too!
Yes as women we might blame men to have to high expectations of us but I think it is indeed mostly us that put these massive expectations on ourselves. Getting honest about this is really courageous and I love how you are tenderly exposing them one by one, really honouring who you are and not blaming yourself for taking them on in the first place.
The pictures and or beliefs that we have laced through our lives are purely there to halt us from the true beauty and intimacy of who we are. I love relationships because they allow us to see reflections and or patterns that we may not see ourselves but are seen and felt by our partners, which enables us to learn and grow together and uncover the true person within and release the well used images of protection. When we are honest we start to uncover our most intimate parts of ourselves to others and it is from here we allow ourselves to be transparent and that is truly amazing.
We grow up learning to respond to the world of images, pictures, ideals and beliefs that we are surrounded by, to attain a sense of worth or belonging, to fit in, or even to seek to define who we are as woman, a mother, a child, or successful, strong, sexy or whatever it may be. But as you have shared Rosie, none of this offers us a true reflection of who we are, or truly allows us to know and explore how to live in connection to a quality that is innate in us all, our essence, which is what truly defines everything that we already are.
All of these ideals and believes of what it means to be a women will just serve to set us up for failure, especially as they are often unrealistic and based on getting everything perfect.
True, but reality is so many women are caught up in them.
Say good bye to shoulds and avoid complication at all costs. This really changes things!