Been thinking a lot about one's worth lately, particularly worth as it relates to relationships. On any given run, this topic comes circling around in my head. Running does that to you, you know. Amazing, innovative and brilliant ideas flood my head and this is one of them.
There are relationships where someone might get too comfortable, so comfortable in fact, that they feel they get to define your worth to you, like some prescription. That is never, never good. But how do you know you're in one of those types of relationships, for sometimes, it's not that obvious? Well, keep reading.
I have had many relationships over the years, friendships and amorous ones, and none are as toxic as ones in which your worth is refined to you by a friend or partner. This might be done in a subtle way, like when your friend (or partner) glosses over things that matter to you, or, it may be done in a more direct manner, like when your friend or partner defines to you who "you are" as if it were fact. Nevertheless, worthiness is a real thing. People make major decisions on relationships based on these ideas of what they and you are worth.
Like the topic of worthiness, similar to topic of "level of intensity" in a relationship, is something we all navigate around when choosing friends or partners, yet both rarely do they get defined as the essential aspects that they are. Worthiness always comes into play in our relationship decision-making, whether we are aware of it or not. For example, if we have a tendency to be intimidated by someone who we consider, "together" and at the "top of their game", we might instead choose friends or partners whose default setting is constant dependency. Worthiness comes into play here because in order to have this relationship function the dependent/caretaker balance must be maintained just as it began for the relationship to continue. Meaning, the dysfunctional aspect of the relationship by which the relationship was founded on is the very lifeline that keeps it going. Quite opposite, when worthiness levels are more equal, instead of feeding off of the dependency, we thrive off of something else; we thrive from being surrounded by strong, independent people instead. Being surrounded by people who challenge us, vex us, and whom at times, may even infuriate us, is a sign that we see others as equal in worth to ourselves. I have recently learned that knowing which dynamic you operate is very helpful in determining your level of social-emotional health; dependency being on one end of the spectrum and allowance of dissent on the other.
What's the best way to know which type of relationship you are involved in? You know by testing it. For example, ask for re-hashing of the relationship rules, or ask for a serious conversation around an issue that truly troubles you, or disagree on an important issue to you personally, or strongly express a different opinion about an issue. People who see you as equal will want you to be who you are and want to find bridges to a middle ground, no matter how different you are. People who see you as equal will not shut you down at the smallest sign of dissent? I am not saying to "dissent" all the time, but something is seriously wrong in a relationship if its become commonplace that any one of the players cannot express discontent without the other defining it as something else or simply dismissing it. The main question therefore is, "Does this person take you seriously? yes? no? ". In my home 4 out of 5 days you walk into my house you will find my husband and I arguing about 2-3 hot topic issues. The next minute we move on never thinking twice about the others' ability to express discontent, disagreement or dissent.