Last week, we discussed two lies that can sabotage a relationship. Believing the lies that you need someone else to complete you is a fairy-tale misconception. Until you have established a sense of self-worth and independent wholeness, true love will likely be on hold.
What can you do to become whole on your own, and how do you discover your inner self-worth? Every person’s journey is unique. Undoubtedly, this journey will be tested by your determination – but it can be done! Today, we want to share four steps that will take you far along your path to becoming independently whole. Let’s dive in!
Step One: Heal Your Hurts
Past relational pain, no matter how big or small, should be acknowledged and not buried. Repressed feelings, especially painful ones, have a high rate of resurrection. That’s why the place to begin your journey towards wholeness is where it hurts. It’s important to dig deep into your past and recount your stories of pain. Whatever your situation is, this step is crucial. It can often be a process that is difficult, but is worth the price.
By exploring your past and acknowledging areas you were hurt, you are protecting yourself from repeating the pain of your past relationships. Every relationships gives you another chance to resolve issues you didn’t get squared away in a previous one. When you take the time to explore your personal pain, you set the foundation for wholeness and genuine relationships in your future.
Step Two: Take Off Your Mask
Each of us has a natural desire to be known. However, we often restrain ourselves and stifle our vulnerability out of fear. We are afraid of being seen as too emotional, too assertive, too this or that. In short, people are afraid of rejection. The result of this? We wear a mask. We put up our guards and pretend to be something we aren’t. We confirm to society and hide our true thoughts and aspirations.
Wavering between the impulse to reveal ourselves or protect ourselves is our way of guarding against rejection. If we wear our masks long enough, we will never be whole. When what you do and what you say do not match the person you are inside you develop a fragmented self. Consuming yourself with the impression you are making on others is unhealthy.
Have the courage to drop your guard and remove your mask. Be real. Start asking yourself the question: What am I feeling? Not, What should I be feeling? Don’t consume yourself with how others perceive you.
Step Three: Sit in the Driver’s Seat
It’s easy to be passive – to move through life simply reacting to outside forces. When it comes to achieving wholeness, we often want something to happen to us automatically. The problem is, you don’t “catch” self-worth from reading a book, seeing a therapist, or attending a seminar. Although those things can be healthy for you, a sense of self-worth comes from hard work.
Wholeness is forged from your efforts and you will never achieve this as a passenger. You need to climb into your own driver’s seat and take responsibility for your direction and your destiny. By taking this responsibility, you will determine the types of relationships you build.
To start, write a personal statement and a small set of meaningful goals. This will act as your roadmap to being the person you were meant to be. Humans have an attraction for instant gratification, but be prepared that this will take time. If you are going to meet your goals, you will need to delay your impulse for immediate gratification. Stick to your path and you will eventually get there. You will carve your own road to your destiny.
Step Four: Rely on God
Surprisingly, this final step in one that many fail to take. You won’t maximize your potential for healthy relationships until you learn to rely on God – not another person – to meet your needs. At the core of each of us is a compulsion for completion so strong that no single human can consistently fulfill it.
There will be times of glorious moments, intimacy and belonging that you share with others that will make you feel complete. But those times will not be consistent, only God will be.
Even the most loving human relationships can never consistently quench your deepest needs for feeling significant. This is a desire that no human can meet. While our earthly relationships can let us down from time to time, a relationship with God can be counted on to genuinely and fully meet our deepest desires.
Once you internalize this truth, you will discover the ultimate cure for your compulsion for completion. You can start by healing your hurts, discarding your mask, and taking ownership of your destiny. But ultimately, only God’s love can make you whole.
For more on this topic, check out our new edition of Real Relationships.
It’s easy to rely on others to make you feel whole. Have you struggled with this? We would love to hear your story!