Do love and relationships feel like a drug to you? When you have someone to be with, you feel fulfilled. You’d do anything to keep them happy, even sacrifice your own beliefs, integrity, peace to keep them around. Do you find yourself forgetting your hobbies, ambitions, friends? Are you cancelling solo trips, girls nights out, me time, because now you have someone more interesting to focus on?
One of the signature traits of a Goddess is her strong personal identity. She derives her happiness from her own intellectual, career, and personal pursuits, not from other people. She loves men and relationships, but doesn’t pour all her attention into them, rather she maintains a strong focus on her own interests. She is capable of maintaining her focus on herself, and if she finds herself in relationship or friendship drama, she knows how to disengage, step away, evaluate if the person is healthy, if he propels her forward or brings her down to make himself feel more secure.
A Goddess has healthy boundaries. Her favorite word is No. She makes no apologies for using the word. Contrary to popular myth, a Goddess is never a cold, heartless bitch, instead she is very warm, loving and kind towards people who have earned her respect, her time and her friendship. She has a strong filter on people she allows into her life because the life she has created is valuable and she is committed to cultivating healthy, positive relationships to thrive in, not ones to wallow in.
Because I say no very often, and turn people away from my door, I am often accused of being mean. I assure you I am not- the people in my life have truly earned their place in it, and once they are here, I shower them with love and healthy amounts of attention. I simply enforce my boundaries, so that drama never seeps in.
A lot of unhealthy people would like a piece of this. And if you are positive, self-reliant, self-aware, and cultivate a life that you love, you will find a lot of people knocking on your door. Does that mean you have to let them in? No, always ask who it is, and check their identity. I am very social, so I meet a lot of people everywhere I go. I also project a ton of positive energy, share it with everyone around me freely, and as a result many try to latch onto me. I am often aware of this, but like all people, sometimes I end up with a stalker, a follower, a beggar who just wants my time and energy.
People are attracted to those who have something they want. People are attracted to others who have a beautiful lifestyle. People want to be a part of other people’s lives when they don’t have one of their own. People are constantly seeking, when they should be finding what they want within. People are highly attracted to peace, your peacefulness and serenity looks so good to them, so they want to be in your presence. People who see in others what they can’t find in themselves will too quickly offer you their devotion, commitment and loyalty because they know that your presence gives them much more in return. But are these people healthy?
It took me decades to create the life I want. I didn’t do that by taking from others, demanding they share, stealing their peace. I might not have much in terms of assets, but I am rich in peace, happiness, energy, love, adventure, amazing friendships, I create beautiful experiences for myself and those I love. So, I am a magnet for people, both healthy and unhealthy ones.
I have a very strong identity. I built that by getting in touch with myself, accepting those traits people were insisting were flaws. I became okay with them, and learned how to let them shine, despite what everyone said. We all try to suppress our true nature to be more acceptable to others. But the price we pay for congeniality, is allowing others to test and cross our boundaries. People who are constantly looking to test boundaries to see where and how they will jump the fence tend to be very unhealthy. In fact there are psychiatric terms for that. They derive their identity from yours. They derive their peace and tranquility from yours. They see you as what you have to offer, rather than your soul. And naturally, they want to move in.
These are people who don’t have a strong identity of their own. And because they are looking toward their significant other to let them in so they can share his/her identity, they tend to destroy relationships. Without an identity of their own, they look very unappetizing to the other. There is nothing to look at, no personhood to interact with, no one to learn from, no depths to explore. All of these people are “nice guys” and “nice girls”. They are giving, sacrificing, catering, affectionate, devoted, loyal, but never to themselves, always to the other. They will rarely defend their own honor, but always defend the honor of the object of their desire. They rarely stick their neck out to protect and uphold their own beliefs, but when their loved one is outnumbered by critics, they will protect that person’s belief system. And so, they devote themselves to protecting their relationships with people who can give them an identity, a reason to be, or whatever they lack personally.
It is no wonder that their relationships often fail. While it may appear that they are giving too much, the truth is what they give is of no value at all. Of what value is their time, when they fill our time with mindless chatter, crossing boundaries, neediness, and merely their presence? I’d rather be alone. I value time of friends who think, debate, experience, explore, contribute to society. I value time from friends who have high energy, infectious laughter, strong personalities, unpopular opinions they can actually defend- they are the ones whose presence is highly appreciated.
If you find your self bouncing from relationship to relationship, chasing, people losing interest in you too quickly, it sure is tempting to believe popular media and declare that there is something wrong with people who are constantly moving, not answering phone calls, ignoring your texts. Those ideas only serve those who perceive themselves as victims of modern society. I assure you, there is nothing wrong with the world. People choose to be available to those whose company they prefer, and unavailable to those who bring nothing to their table. Rather than buy into that nonsense, why not embark on a journey of self-development? Yes, you can develop a healthy self-image and a personality of your own. It takes years of work on the self, and much devotion to the self, and is far more rewarding than begging people to give you a relationship.
One positive consequence of having a strong identity is that you become a magnet for people and a magnet for amazing opportunities. There are so many people in my life, that now I have to filter them out, and I am offered so many work and social opportunities that I often get overwhelmed and sidetracked if I am not diligent about saying No. Wouldn’t you rather be in this situation, than constantly knocking on other people’s doors?
So, how to develop a strong identity? You were born with one, you just decided to be a good girl, make nice with everyone, keep your mouth shut to spare other people their feelings, suppressed your emotions to appear congenial, allowed friends to cross your boundaries so they would feel welcome, said yes to lovers so they wouldn’t leave you, and learned that to keep a man you must make him happy. Understand that if you are making other people feel happy, and are accepting responsibility for making them like you, you are sacrificing your identity for their sake. That always ends badly.
How do you get in touch with your true self? How to remember who you were before you gave yourself away? Remember yourself as a little girl? What did you want, what were your demands, what were you fighting for? I was always fighting for my own freedom from suffocating and controlling parents, I was fighting for my sister because she was always afraid to fight for herself, I was fighting my dad who was always trying to train me to be more congenial, I was beating up all the boys in the street because they were picking on the smaller kids, I was fighting, I was fighting, I was fighting. You see, I was born a fighter, but I squashed that.
I was always super logical, and excellent at debate. I won every high school and college debate and oratory contest that ever was. As a child I could out-argue my bully father every time. I was more logical and had better reasoning skills as a child than he ever did as an adult, and he possessed a law degree. Eventually I learned to stay quiet, because at a certain age I began to infuriate him. His rage became uncontrollable and he would threaten my mother, if I did not shut up. So, I gave up my super-logical mind and arguments to keep peace in the family. I remember a college boyfriend asked me why I play chess, and why can’t I look more like a girl? Why is your hair always messy, and why are you running for president of the debate team? Why don’t you join a sorority like the other girls? I don’t blame other people for persuading me to suppress my opinions and my arguments to be more congenial. That was my own fault, but that is how I learned to tone down my true self. I gave that away of my own free will, as do most women. We love to blame society and men, but we are the ones making that decision.
Years later, I married and had to learn to get along in a marriage. I gave up my job multiple times so that he could take a better one in another city. I gave up my opinion of his abusive parents so they can feel more welcome in our home. After 12 years of marriage, I realized I gave up everything. I was a zero in every department of my life and had to figure out a way to find myself. It was a daunting task, but that’s why I am telling you that it can be done.
With zero self, you have no identity, no personality, nothing to give, you can only take. To healthy people, relationships with codependents feel like a burden. They ask for time, they demand attention, they sulk, they are convinced they are giving too much but, what they are giving isn’t wanted- what codependents are giving is empty. People leave, they stop texting, it’s not their fault, they have to preserve their own energy. They have to preserve their own self because unhealthy codependents feed off their time, attention, and identity.
Finding myself involved a ton of introspection- much more than most people are comfortable with. It involved testing myself and my limits in crazy relationships, crashing over and over again, to learn to enforce my own boundaries.
People who lack their own identity destroy their own relationships. They blame the other person for disconnecting, for not trying hard enough, for not giving them what they want, for not sharing his/her life. Without an identity they suck the life and identity out of the other person, they live off their life force. They offer their time, but their time is empty. They offer their devotion, but their devotion is a drain. They offer their loyalty which quickly becomes a burden. When there is nothing left to give them, their lovers disappear. Often, they have to be peeled off the other person, because the more the runner wants to be free, the more the chaser needs them to live.
We all know that neither running nor chasing is healthy. The runners need stronger boundaries, and have to learn how to spot unhealthy partners, say No more often, and not enter those relationships. The chasers need to stop using their “nice guy”, “nice girl” persona to gain sympathy when they want and need more than others are willing to give them. They have to learn that chasing is desperation, pure and simple. What they chase will always run away.
People who have a strong identity are highly attractive to us all. They don’t have to be flashy, nor glamorous, instead they can often be nerdy, intellectual, artsy, highly creative or non-creative at all, they have focus, interests, opinions, charisma, something to stand for, strong reasons to be. They attract attention, followers, devotees, friends, business, criticism, lovers, haters so, to remain sane they absolutely must defend their boundaries.
If you think you might lack an identity, your best bet is to invest in yourself. Find a qualified therapist, learn how to create your own energy, spend time alone, develop interests and hobbies that mean something only to you. Learn to shift your focus away from other people and keep it on your self. Learn to stop leaning on others, seeking counseling from friends, using others as your crutch, instead, answer your own prayers, solve your own problems, become your own best companion. The more you practice, the more others will appreciate you. Everyone loves the company of people who derive happiness from their own life.