By Nicolle

Know thyself, said the great philosopher Socrates. While that evocation seems trite and menial, to actually pursue such an idea is a great undertaking. As you begin to peel back the layers of yourself, you may find hidden motivations, dirty secrets and shameful mistakes.

I’ve recently realized that my psyche wages an internal war anytime I’m in a relationship. It won’t last, I whisper unconsciously to myself. You can’t keep him. You’re not quite good enough. Remember what happened last time? You’ve seen who he dated before. You know you’ll never measure up.

And so it goes. That voice forces me to analyze every inflection, every tone, every short remark, every glance, every move until I’ve literally given myself a stomachache.

Now, some of that, as I’ve mentioned before, is just a personality trait, one that I’m learning to accept. But the vengeful attack that coerces my thoughts into repetitive formations is more than a natural tendency to think things through. It’s a deliberate attempt at self-sabotage.

I begin to believe those lies whispered to me and I feel strangled. I outwardly act as if nothing is wrong but inside, I’m slowly killing myself.

A good friend of mine recently gave me sound advice. “You’re never going to have it all figured out,” she said. “No matter how many books you read, no matter how many times you try. So, know yourself and stop trying to figure it all out.”

The trick is to balance understanding the baggage and wounds and scars and hurts I bring to a relationship while still living presently.

If I spend all my time trying to be self-actualized, I’ll miss out on what’s actually going on in my relationship. But if I ignore my past experiences and how they impact my actions, I’ll never move past those self-imposed attacks.

An open, willing spirit, I’m learning, is much more valuable than any attempt at self-protection. Once I’m aware that I’m unconsciously feeding myself lies about my worth based on who I am (or am not) dating, what he thinks of me or what’s happened in my past relationships, I can begin to enter my internal battle. I can actively combat whatever line my psyche uses on me next – and I can win.

Note: This is the last Unhooked and Unsettled post that will appear on Reactionary Century, but check out UnhookedandUnsettled.Wordpress.Com to keep following along every Tuesday.