Do you know “who you are”? Have you thought about how that affects your relationships?
You don’t have to follow us for very long to hear us talk about living from your core. This is the concept of being grounded in how you think about yourself, your sense of self-efficacy, and how you view the world around you. Your core incorporates your faith, your values, your perceived purpose and direction, and your hopes and dreams. It makes up the foundation of what you have to offer the world and provides the ability to speak your voice and live authentically.
Within communication, it is the filter through which you decide what you will say, how much you will say, and how vulnerable and honest you will be. Think about how this affects the communication within your marriage.
True Connection Starts by Being Real
If you are weak in your sense of self, fear keeps you from saying what you need to say. Rather than speak from a place of vulnerability and honesty, the tendency is to mimic your spouse or become who he or she says you are in order to keep the peace. You learn to hide your real feelings, stuff your real needs, and forget your real hopes and dreams, creating an impenetrable wall to real connection. In other words, you keep your spouse at arm’s length, unable to truly connect because you have not given them a real “you” to relate to.
You also spend a lot of energy trying to “read” them and stay a step ahead of his or her emotions. It feels safer to somehow try to manage their emotional state than to stand up for your own. However, the reality is that you can’t make them happy or fix their pain. You simply lose more of yourself by trying.
If you haven’t learned to live life from your core, you tend to constantly compare yourself to others, trying to measure up to their strength or goodness or beauty…or whatever. When you find that you can’t, you quickly end up in a pity pit with a bad attitude and a chip on your shoulder. Tolerance and grace become as fleeting as snow in Florida.
All this means is that, without a solid core sense of self, communication in your marriage will be shallow, full of fear, and manipulative.
You are a Unique Individual
You are your own person with your own thoughts, ideas, dreams, hopes, feelings, and perspectives. That is a powerful concept! You have your own unique footprint to leave in this life. Maybe you’ve never considered that before, but if you knew how to live from your core, life could be very different. You would see that vulnerability is actually a strength. You have nothing to hide, which means no fear of being “found out.” This also means there is no wall to keep your connection at bay. You know how to ask for what you need or desire to see happen and how to use boundaries to keep you from being pulled out of that core. You aren’t afraid to let your spouse be his or her own self. Your marriage has a much greater chance of becoming a joint effort of linking arms and doing life together, even as two very different people.
An Invitation to Discover Who You Are
Finding, creating, or knowing your core self begins with discovering the values, character qualities, and ways of relating that resonate with you. What do you love? How do you measure what is good, right, and true? Who do you admire? What makes your heart sing? Where do you find hope and joy? What kind of person do you want to present to the world? What are your gifts, talents, and passions? What’s your mission and purpose? What legacy do you want to leave?
These are all questions that can help you sort out “who you are.” I encourage you to journal about them, and see what unfolds as you write. Take note of what resonates with you, and what creates deep longing, and use that to inform your next steps. As you learn to walk in your core, watch to see how it affects your communication and connection in your marriage. Even if your spouse does not respond positively, you will still be living from a place of strength rather than a void. And, at the end of the day, that will change your entire perspective.