It took me a long time to realize that being with the right person meant you could fully be yourself without having to hide in closets, do things in dark corners, and stuff everything behind closed doors. It also took me far too long to understand that relationships are about agreement, communication, mutual gratification, and being yourself without being judged constantly by your significant other.
One thing we need to remember when it comes to how we perceive the things that happen to us in life is that there are multiple sides to every story. There is our story, and how we believe things happened, the versions from the other people who experienced these things alongside us, and then there is what actually happened that those involved don't necessarily see through their own rose-colored glasses. By taking off those glasses in my life, I can now understand why my mom did the things she did, why my exes did the things they did, and why I reacted to certain things in life the way I did, from an outside view looking back in. When you're able to see your actions through other people's eyes, you will learn so much more about yourself.
What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me no more
Have you read The Four Agreements? If you haven't you should. There are some amazing lessons in this book that will change your life. These include being impeccable with your word, not taking anything personally, not making assumptions, and always doing your best. Why am I mentioning these? It's because these are some of the steps that can assist you in learning how to see beyond those tinted shades, beyond your own version of the story, and understand that none of us are perfect (perfection is an illusion).
Watch what you say
Let's start with being impeccable with your word when it comes to the people who have hurt your heart. You can complain about them, swear about them, and spread rumors (true or not), but does that really do anything to change the hurt you feel? By choosing your words wisely, you can help yourself heal. Instead of speaking negatively about those people, try to remember the positives and the lessons you learned from their bad behaviors. As in the Law of Attraction, putting negativity out there only draws in more negativity -- which means you're likely to draw in more relationships like those you're tired of being in.
So, turn those words into positives. Try, if you can, to remember the good times in your past relationships. Now, I am not saying to forget the bad, just don't focus fully on it. You want to attract new, positive people into your life that will help you feel like you're equally loved and cared for.
It's not just about you
Then, we have not taking anything personally, which is one that is sometimes hard to deal with. The way someone treats you has more to do with them than it does with you. My mom was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive. That abuse affected me for years after her death, even. Her words still haunt me -- as do the negative words of my first husband and a former friend. Some people like their misery and they try hard to bring people down with them -- don't let them have that control over you -- know that it is all about their own shadows.
Let me go off track a moment and talk about the importance of shadow work. By diving into the dark recesses of your psyche, you can learn to live a more balanced life. We are all dark and light, and knowing how to play well with your dark side can help you stay balanced and more positive. Start with a simple guided meditation on YouTube and go from there. Shadow work is painful -- it forces you to look at your traumas and your mistakes, but it's all for the greater good.
So, about things not being all about you -- understanding that people treat you based on their own issues and feelings can help you move past the negative garbage they may throw your way.
Stop assuming things
The next step in The Four Agreements is to not make assumptions. Don't assume the way someone is treating you has anything to do with you. Don't assume you know what is going on in their lives. Instead, ask. Ask what they meant, ask why they're doing what they're doing. Perhaps they'll be honest with you, maybe they won't, but it's better to get their word on it than to spend time making up stories in your own mind that likely aren't what's really going on.
Knowledge is the key to success and happiness, and knowing comes from asking rather than guessing. This is a simple lesson, really. If you can't be upfront with the people in your life and ask them what they mean about the things they do or say, it's time to work on your assertiveness! Being assertive is a survival tactic in and of itself -- assertive people come off as being confident and protective of themselves, and non-assertive folks can find that scary. The more assertive you are, the fewer wishy-washy people you'll attract into your life.
"Always do your best" is the final Agreement. There's no sacrifice in just being you and doing your thing. Relationships, romantic or otherwise, come with mistakes, arguments, and all sorts of problems -- and that's okay. It's okay as long as you're doing your best. Our best changes on a daily basis, and our best is not someone else's best -- it's not the same as your spouse's best or your best friend's best.
If your "people" don't see that you're doing your best, it's because their best may be different. First, talk about it. Set boundaries, even. Share what each of you sees as doing your best and then, if you can't accept each other's measurements of best, perhaps it's time to move on from this relationship. There is no reason to stay in a relationship that makes you feel bad, often or all the time. If you put your work in and things still don't work, it is okay to move on.