What To Do When You Feel Like You've Lost Yourself In Your Relationship

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How To Be Yourself & Have Dignity When You Feel Lost In A Relationship
Self

It probably happens to all of us at some time in our lives. You're in a relationship and notice yourself feeling that you’ve lost the thread of who you are.

You’ve lost track of how to be yourself and may have difficulty saying what you believe.

By relationship, it doesn't just mean a romantic one. It could be your relationship with your lover, but it could also be with your job, your family, your community, your friends, etc.

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Sometimes the feeling is temporary, and sometimes it is the basis of the entire relationship. It can be a small nagging feeling, or you can suffer daily with the sense that you've "lost yourself."

You may believe you are less important than your partner or allow yourself to be treated in ways that you don't like. You may doubt your worth.

In the broad spectrum of emotions, there is one that stems directly from the idea of worthiness. That emotion is dignity.

A person experiencing dignity believes he or she is worthy, and believing you are worthy generates dignity. In having dignity, you believe you are valuable, legitimate, have something to offer.

That you are equal in importance to others, and that you have the right to make choices about your life. Dignity allows you to take a stand for yourself and your beliefs. It allows you to set personal boundaries.

“OK, great," you might say, “but how do I do that?” It can be challenging, but it is possible to shift how you see yourself and the world in powerful and profound ways.

To do that, it takes ardent and consistent practice with support from others. This is one reason community is so important in your life, and why when it's missing, it can be a part of feeling lost.

Combining aspects of the body, language, and emotions together produce a faster, more powerful, and long-lasting change in your way of being. These parts reinforce each other.

Looking at the language component of "being lost," you might find yourself with mental chatter saying things like "Why don't I stand up for myself?" or “I have no idea who I am anymore,” or “I wish I knew who to believe."

Physically, you might find yourself collapsing your chest or shrinking your height by slumping, and emotionally you might be experiencing confusion, anxiety, uncertainty, or other emotions at the same time.

What would it look like to have different self-talk and physical shape? You have to embody dignity.

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Embodying dignity is also essential if you want to strengthen it.

Planting both feet solidly, lengthening your spine, standing erectly with your shoulders straight-across, and head balanced squarely on your shoulders will begin to generate the body of dignity. Your breath should be regular and full. Imagine yourself sitting or standing like a king or queen; strong but not rigid.

Now put a big smile on your face, raise both arms above your head and shout: “I am worthy, and I decide." I know it sounds crazy, but try it.

What you will find is that your body will automatically react in very positive ways to your declaration. You are embracing your current state, rather than running away from or suppressing it. This celebration allows room for other emotions to emerge, namely fun, joy, and dignity.

When you embody and think in a way that elevates dignity, you experience calmness and strength. You feel more confident and self-assured. Others also notice something different about us. They tend to listen to you more closely and consider your opinions more strongly. You do not need to tell them you are feeling dignity; it is just the reaction they will often have.

Strengthening dignity has another benefit. It gives you access to indignation. That is the emotion that shows up when you believe someone is crossing the boundaries you have set, and you stop them. Perhaps, they speak to you in a way you find disrespectful. It is not necessary to get angry when you have indignation to help you protect yourself.

Strengthening dignity can help you clarify what you believe and what you do and don't want. It gives you a foundation for making decisions and taking responsibility for yourself.

It can have wonderful benefits; however, when you begin to work toward more dignity, it will change the dynamic of relationships. Your partner will probably notice the change. He or she may like and support it, or may not. They may find it attractive, or they may find it threatening. Because of this, you encourage you to move slowly.

Dignity is empowering, but it does not guarantee people will like you more. In some situations, you may find you regain yourself but lose connection with someone who knew you and was comfortable with you as you were.

One final aspect of dignity that makes it a unique emotion is that it is inherent in dignity to extend dignity to others. A person with a strong sense of dignity will treat others respectfully and as worthy because that is part of how dignity works.

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Dan Newby is the founder of School Of Emotions and author of several well-received books on emotional literacy. He works with individuals and organizations globally to elevate their emotional awareness and competence. You can reach him on his e-mail.

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Curtis Watkins is a master somatic coach and works internationally with individuals and corporations. You can reach him on his e-mail.