DR CRYSTAL BENJAMIN
As an individual and couples therapist, I have the privilege of working with successful women. These women have thriving careers but struggle with navigating intimate relationships.. For many women there is a struggle to balancing family life – which includes spending time with one’s family of origin, their individual life, then there is the need to maintain a self-care routine.
Some days you may nail it, other days you may feel guilty for not accomplishing everything on your to-do list. Honestly, the sweet days and the rough days are all part of the journey; every woman experiences this. Having a problem-free life or relationship is not the goal, the goal is for us to accept that the human experience is made up of a range of experiences and that these experiences aren’t always pleasant. Accepting the fact that unpleasant experiences are part of life and managing relationships, are the catalyst to growth and help us avoid self-inflicted suffering.
As you strive to foster relationships with others, the process starts with you. Self-discovery helps to keep you grounded, helps you make difficult decisions, and allows you to cultivate the mindset that helps you navigate tough emotions. All of those qualities mentioned above are needed for successful relationships. So are you ready to learn practical tips on how your self-discovery journey could springboard into maintaining healthy relationships?
Dear friend, check out my tips below:
Who are you?
Friends, let’s be honest, we sometimes struggle with having an identity outside of our relationships and career. Imagine me walking up to you and asking you “who are you?”, what would your first response be? Maybe your response would be: wife, mother, daughter, or maybe you will say public servant, businesswoman, lawyer, physician. Or you won’t be able to answer the question. If you need guidance with answering this question try using this template: I (insert your name) (insert the values or activities that bring you the most joy). For example, I would usually say, "I am Crystal. I’m witty, approachable, and fun-loving." Try it.
What do you value? Our values serve as the compass we use to navigate difficult decisions. All of us have values that we hold near and dear to us. I’ve observed that if we are not aware of those values, life might seem confusing. Additionally, if we are aware of our values, but we are not living in alignment with those values, we may experience frustration, anxiety, and/or sadness. Not sure what your core values are? Try journaling every day for the next five days, just write about the things that are on your mind. On the 6th day, review all your journal entries and underline all the recurring themes. You may notice that the things you think about or talk about (or intentionally not talk about) make up your core values.
Many of the battles we face in this life take place in our minds. Life is ten per cent what happens to us and 90 per cent of our response to what happens. Your mindset may fit into one of two categories: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset focuses on our problems, and your inability to complete something. For example, a person with a fixed mindset may say: “I cannot afford that, I am broke” or “I don’t have the time” or “ I cannot get that done, I have too much going on in my life”.
However, people with a growth mindset focus on finding solutions. They are aware that problems exist, but they will work on finding solutions to those problems. For example, someone with a growth mindset may say: “This item is outside of my budget right now, but if I save for a few months it is within reach” or “This opportunity is in alignment with my goals, though I cannot pursue it right now, I can make adjustments in my schedule to accommodate this opportunity within the next six months”. There is good news, your mind can be trained with practice, prayer and the right people in your environment.
Being mindful of your environment is a crucial aspect of self-discovery and by extension managing relationships. Take stock of the social media pages you follow, the content you consume, the people you associate with, the foods that you eat, all of these things make up your environment, and can influence how you show up for yourself and your relationships. For example, if you watch shows that promote toxic relationships, have friends in toxic relationships, or have been exposed to toxic relationships within your family growing up, you are likely to think that only toxic relationships exist.
It might be difficult to express gratitude during a pandemic, and that is very understandable. As we explore the dangers involved in this pandemic, I want to encourage you to also seek after the opportunities – even if it’s just one opportunity. Whatever your situation and circumstance, there is something that we can be grateful for. Gratitude forces us to live in the present as we enjoy what we have. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you have prayed endlessly for a particular situation and then when the situation is before you, you aren't able to enjoy it? Have you prayed for a job, a relationship etc only to experience misery when you are placed in the situation? Some of us can get caught up in wanting more, more, more but never mastered the art of enjoying what is right in front of us. Disclaimer: if you are truly struggling to find at least one thing you are grateful for, or if you think your life and situation is hopeless. I suggest that you contact a mental health professional immediately.
It is my hope that you can use the tips above as you facilitate healthy, reciprocal and meaningful relationships. May you have the wisdom to identify relationships that add more stress than it adds value, and the courage to end relationships that you do not feel safe in. Managing your career and relationships essentially starts with you. You cannot pour from an empty cup, you will burn out if you give more than you receive and your body will fail you if you allow chronic relationship stress to go unaddressed.
If you find the resources I’ve shared above helpful, you can check out my book: Self-Discovery Workbook: A step by step guide to clarity in your life, business and relationships. In the workbook, I shared various tools and resources that you (and your loved ones) can use as you progress through the self-discovery journey. Keeping in mind that at each stage of life, it’s important for us to reflect and be made keenly aware of who we are and how each stage affects us and vice versa.
Dr Crystal Benjamin is an individual and couples therapist at Enriched Life Limited. She provides counselling and coaching services to individuals, couples, and organisations. To learn more about her services, you can access a free consultation.
Email address – email@example.com
Phone number – (868) 761 – 9006
Website – www.enrichedlifeltd.com