Do you ever feel like you’ve been pushed aside, for the benefit of your partners’ interests or glory? Do you feel a clash of vision, synergy, and low emotional bank accounts in your closest relationship? Do you feel like you need to withdraw from a relationship in order to preserve yourself?
You are not alone!
When you came together with your partner did you have a vision of building a life together, based on moving toward a common goal? Maybe that goal was focused on your children, and close family, then work, and community? Or perhaps it was building a business together or harnessing a dream such as traveling the world together?
You crafted this vision together but now you feel like you are the only one still on the path.
This is not uncommon.
It is perhaps the number one downfall in complex relationships.
Often, relationships develop into an imbalanced power dynamic. Not evil world-dominating power. No, this is more insidious. At the outset, new partners often experience a beautiful synergy which makes them feel connected, understood, and affirmed. As life changes and morphs, that feeling often changes. External pressures of raising children, work demands, or other interests compete for attention and time. These pressures creep into the core of the relationship as we lose sight of where we were, where we were going, and how to get there. Sadly, if not “rebalanced” one or both of the partners can lose sight of who they are, not just where they are going. We can feel lost, alone, sidelined, and unloved.
If this is you, how do you get back on track?
Luckily, there are ways to regain the balance of power in a relationship.
First and foremost, you must follow your own north star: that light, twinkle, and passion at your core.
If it feels like the light within isn’t shining like it used to, this is your first step. If it is fading, you haven’t been giving it the space and time to flourish. You may feel drained, uninspired, tired, or confused. You may feel like a victim; like you are the only one carrying the “load” in life.
Step One: A recipe for scheduling time just for you:
- a pinch of journaling or writing your feelings in a way that gives insight into your energy level, passion and perspective;
- a teaspoon of quiet reflection, or spiritual practice. Repeating affirmative sayings/mantras or asking for spiritual guidance can be very helpful;
- a tablespoon of exercise, healthful body = healthful mind, particularly if the exercise is outside in nature. The key here is do what you love and do it often;
- a half cup each of encouragement and inspiration which could be reading inspirational books, setting up a weekly chat with your positive personal network (sans drama), or listening to podcasts;
- a cup of whatever brings you excitement and ignites your passion. Does reading travel blogs, biking, gardening, painting, do it for you? Whatever it is, make sure you set time aside for it. We all need a creative outlet.
If you want to be heard, seen or validated, you must first do this for yourself.
Your partnerships will never benefit from your subordinated roles. When you fully embrace your own potential, you connect to your north star and honor the light within. How do you reignite your passion for you? Develop your love of self. Respect your divine purpose. Without this, no partnership can thrive.
Step Two: Build a fortress around twinkle time.
- Schedule your personal time in a way that protects the previous activities in Step One, which will help you find your north star.
- Let everyone know you are not available FOR ANYTHING (no texts, calls, work, family demands).
- Write it into your calendar (right now, go ahead, do it now).
- Write it into the family calendar or your partners’ calendar (now please, the rest of this blog can wait).
- Create a space that supports your activity. Make sure this space is exactly what you need to get your pinch, teaspoon, etc.
- Build in a reward or incentive. Many writers buy special teas that they have only when they write. Each week a friend buys a bouquet of flowers and places them in her special place, a reminder to stop and smell the roses.
If you don’t build a fortress around your north star time, and protect it, someone will come and knock your north star out of the sky and you will have to work on your twinkle all over again. My biggest reason for not scheduling my special time was caring for my family: my children, who were homeschooled, my elderly parent with dementia, and my adult child with bipolar. This was, as I have learned, just an excuse not to work on developing my divine gifts. What I came to realize, through experience, is that I can’t fulfill the numerous roles I have successfully, without first being me. Being me takes time.
Step Three: Overcoming obstacles to being you (aka fulfilling your divine purpose).
- Every day of your life you are given an opportunity to move forward in your personal growth. Every day you wake up, before you step out of bed, remind yourself you will do one thing on your twinkle list to move you forward and schedule it into your day (yes, now please. If today is almost over, start your schedule for tomorrow).
- It is never too late to start. You will face multiple obstacles during your lifetime. How you handle your obstacles is what makes you who you are. Make choices that redefine your obstacles as lessons on the path to building your own power, your divine purpose. Make a choice today to use your obstacles as a pathway to power.
- Write down your most significant obstacle. Brainstorm a list of how to overcome that obstacle in a way that gives you back your power. You may find building your business takes too much of your day and you are depleted at the end of the evening. What are some actions you can take now that will create more time for your divine purpose? Write them down. Determine which one(s) are most practical to employ.
- Set time aside to employ the most practical solution to your obstacle. (schedule that time now)
- Reach out to supports and networks. A business person may connect with other entrepreneurs to learn ways they overcame a similar obstacle. Or they may delegate, or decide the obstacle can be challenged by managing it differently during the day. A parent may find an answer in their network: swapping kid care, arranging play dates or offering to drive friends’ children to shared activities can free up self time. A caregiver may arrange for a neighbor to come play cards or watch tv with an elderly parent, in return offering help with something which can be easily provided on a regular basis.
Once you’ve employed these steps to regaining your power, you will find a clear pathway through your obstacles. You have made empowering choices. Your vision of building a life together with your partner, based on moving toward a common goal, can be revisited from a position of empowerment. Be aware, that original shared vision you scripted together at the beginning of your relationship may have shifted.
You will find a path forward to resolving the power dynamic in your close relationships and make room for yourself. Remember, this space will not be held if you don’t honor it first and foremost.
What do you do if your need for space is challenged, ignored, or seen as threat? Stay on track. Let them know how important this time is for you. Their desire to influence your time is not your problem. That is for your partner to resolve.
Your feelings of being lost and unloved will be eclipsed by the strength of your north star, your divine purpose.
Your challenge in this lifetime is to be the best version of you. Without time to cook up a recipe to unveil divine purpose, your north star will fade and your authentic power will be weakened. Make the choice today. Right now. Take out your schedule and make time for you because you are loved and deserving. You are more important than all the obstacles and challenges you face. They are merely signposts and lessons for you to exercise your divine power. Take the first step now.
Further reading: 7 easy steps to tame your hectic life: make time to breathe!
Further reading: Follow your North Star, Martha Beck, 2005. *Also available in audiobook.