Martha Beck has suggested a strategy for determining what and who is good for you. She calls it shackles on and off. Namely, you should watch your bodies reactions on something that you know is good for you – this is shackles off and then something you know is bad for you – this is your shackles on feeling.
I find this strategy quite appealing, as I have always found decision-making excruciating. As I have gone through the list of people in my life using this strategy, however I have gotten some pretty weird results. Namely, several people, especially those from my old life in my homecountry, made me feel yucky inside. When I started going through this list of people, I discovered that many of them demanded that I take on some kind of role. Several of these people were quick to criticize me and I did not really feel free with them, but rather keen on observing every step of mine.
The people that made me feel good inside, had something in common as well. I felt accepted by them. Yes, they had several flaws and annoying qualities, but I felt that I did not need to hide things from them. Somehow they were willing to see me the way I was and did not need to control the aspects of my personality that they did not like. Surprisingly, some people in the ‘good’ list were people I really looked up to and found in much better place with their life than I was. However, still I felt that these people accepted me and even liked me. This, at least as a first reaction, seems weird because successful and self-confident people are the one’s I have always imagined to look down on me. However, it seems that it is more likely that someone who does not feel good about themselves in fact puts you down, tries to control you and in general finds you flawed.
So from now on, I am going to put this quality to the forefront in my relationships. People should value and accept me the way I am. I should not feel as if I need pursue them or be a certain way in order to be accepted. This might seem like a no-brainer for a lot of people, but for me, I have always assumed that I am inferior. I have always felt that I have to ‘pay’ to people for them to like and want to communicate with me. I am finally moving to the phase where I am starting to decide whether I want to communicate with them.