No one actively goes out to hurt themselves but so many of us do it all the time. I do it, I’m pretty sure if you clicked on to read this post, that you do it too. It’s all too easy to hurt ourselves when we think that others are going to behave the way we do.

In the words of Vivian in Pretty Women “big mistake, huge!” We have to learn to stop expecting ourselves from others. If we can raise our self awareness enough about this, we can truly start to understand why we get hurt and how to put an end to it once and for all.

Have you ever noticed that you repeat the same pattern of behaviour with a particular person in your life? Let’s use a friend for the first example. You have a friend, you love them, you love spending time with them but every now and then, you’re hurt by them. Now I’m not talking purposeful hurt, I’m talking about the kind of hurt that happens when you’ve left them and you’re not buzzing from your time with them. You want to talk about something that’s bothering you but they end up talking about themselves or ignoring your needs. You’re then hurt. You think, “I never do that to you” “I always listen to you and your problems, why can’t you do it for me?” This is because, they can’t. There’s nothing wrong with your friend (unless there is but that’s a whole other blog post) what’s wrong in this scenario is that you expect YOU from your friend. And that’s unrealistic.

We do this often in all of our relationships, for instance at work, if we work at a certain level, we expect everyone else to work the way we do and when they don’t, we feel demotivated, or even sometimes like we’ve been taken for a ride. If we feel this way often enough, we’ll leave jobs in the hope that the next company will provide more employees like yourself but it never happens and then we end up thinking we’re the problem. Which we kind of are but for workable reasons.

We do this with partners, I like the washing up done every night, I like to wake up to a clean kitchen but since I’ve been married, this rarely happens. I thought that my husband would see that I do the washing up each night and that he too would want to do it but no, never happens unless I lose my s$%!. I’m expecting him to be like me. Not going to happen.

When we’re dating, let’s say you’ve met someone on an app. You’ve been pretty upfront about yourself and what you want and you’ve automatically expected the other person to have done the same. You date, you’re still being true to yourself, you still assume the other person is too but actually, they may not be. They may well be being true to themselves but it’s not the same as the way you do. So it doesn’t work out. You keep dating like this, same result happens. Even with your established partner, you keep expecting them to do things the way you do, think the way you do, see the mess, the empty fridge but they just don’t. You decide the relationship isn’t working. Divorce papers.

Ok, I know those examples sound a bit extreme but add a few years to each of the same experiences and they start to become very real. So how can we change this? The simple answer is ‘mindset’. But how can you affect your mindset and know that you’re still being authentic to yourself? That you are not always the one compromising, that you are not the problem? Well, you are the problem – and I mean that in the nicest way possible. Like an addict, if you can admit to yourself that you behave a certain way and the results that you get in your life don’t make you happy, then changing your mindset is only going to give you the results that you actually want.

If you know that someone in your life never picks up the phone, never arranges dates, never listens to your needs, then stop and take take stock. It’s like inventory. do a little stock check of the people in your life that you feel disappointed by and list the pros and cons of the relationship. This list is just for you. For you to objectively review your relationships and see what you get from who. What you may find is that you want to get something from a specific person but they can’t always deliver exactly what you need at a particular time, but perhaps someone else in your life does. So use your people for the right things. And I don’t mean use as in be a user. I mean turn to the people who can give you what you need. It’s like if you want to buy a pair of Bose headphones, you know you can get them at John Lewis, you can trust the store, you get a good refund policy and warranty and you’ll get great customer service but if you go to the Bose shop, you know that you’ll get a more educational/ informed experience because you’ll learn more about the headphones as it’s their brand and their product. Neither choice is wrong, it’s just the difference between what you need from whom in this instance. FYI I make no money from those plugs lol.

I hope that analogy is clear though. If we were in a coaching relationship, I would dig a lot deeper for example through NLP presuppositions to help you up-level your self awareness. A presupposition is – in very simple terms – what we assume about a situation/action/person. It is not fact. There are 16 presuppositions but for this example, I would first consider these few: 1. Respect the other persons’ model of the world, 2. The meaning of the communication is not simply what you intend but also the response you get and 3. People respond to their experience not to reality itself. A NLP practitioner will use these presuppositions to both understand the client better and also to help them navigate their challenges. The coachee will learn a much deeper level of self awareness this way which can have a profound affect on their mindset and behaviour. I’m nerdy about NLP so could go on but it’s difficult to without the two-way dialogue.

For now though, just be careful with expectations. Remember to evaluate who you are as a person and what you bring to the table. Understand that what you do is not the same as what someone else will do. If you can get your head around that and really make an active effort to see this in your relationships, you WILL start feeling a lot more confident in yourself and your relationships, knowing that they cannot hurt you. Most of the time, with anything, we hurt ourselves. We do this because we haven’t raised our self awareness enough to know the difference between a pattern of behaviour that may come from a long-standing limiting belief or if we actually truly believe it.

This work takes some getting used to, self reflection can be tough but the rewards are so worth it. And if you do this work, you will have more control over not only your own behaviour but also you’ll be able to choose who deserves to be in your life and with how much you give to them.


Self Care 101 Podcast Puja K McClymont NLP Life Coach

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