The first 30 years of my life was spent in unhealthy relationships and I didn’t know they were unhealthy. In my thirties I started figuring out and experiencing healthy relationships. I had been surrounded by addicts and others who failed to provide nourishment (and love) in the way I needed.
The turning point for me was waking up, becoming aware. Awareness is key. Awareness is power. I really believe that anyone who is aware and in touch can focus on these 3 pillars of healthy relationships.
I created an acronym as my personal assessment tool.
S.A.C. Safety. Attention. Connectivity.
S is Safety: Whenever I’m relating to someone, I also focus on how safe or unsafe I’m feeling. What I want is to feel safe; safe to be and express myself freely in an environment where I’m unconditionally accepted without judgement. It’s unrealistic to always feel that way however, it wasn’t until recently where I noticed there are times I feel safe and times I don’t -- and it’s not always that I’m going to be judged and rejected, like I used be. Now that I am more aware I have a choice to open up or close down accordingly; I can move closer or pull back or even move away completely. Freely. Boy does that feel empowering!
A is Attention: What I craved all of my life and always lacked, or for whatever reason couldn’t receive, were relationships where the genuine attention was on me --and not as someone who could provide something for someone else. I am most drawn to people where I cross-pollinate my ideas, skills and talents, where I’m motivated and inspired in the creative process. Noticing the kind of attention I’m receiving and having a choice about a variety of ways of expressing myself is much better than acting from an inner under belly of unworthiness.
C is Connectivity: Words I like to use to describe connectivity are electricity, juice, flow. In my past relationships I was oblivious to the existence of connectivity. I liken connectivity to dancing - “How’d we do together?” How was the flow of our engagement, was I energized, uplifted, enthusiastic? Was there a back and forth? I have learned that there is such a thing as connectivity and when I focus upon how connected I’m feeling, I can assess whether there is more or less connectivity present. Higher or lower? Knowing the feeling of connectivity feels really good and moving towards feeling connected is a choice I am more aware of making. Being in relationships where I feel connected and where I want to open more feels so much more joyful as well.
There is always room to be and become more Self aware and in so doing, additional options become more readily available. S. A. C. Safety, Attention and Connectivity, the 3 pillars of healthy relationships.