Do you orbit around yourself or do you orbit around your partner? Or do you orbit around another figure in your life?
Consider these signs, which may indicate you’re circling around someone else:
You frequently ask permission to engage in your own activities, work, or play.
You feel guilty when you want to take time for yourself and your own priorities.
Your moods shift in response to your partner’s moods.
You’re constantly tracking his or her state of mind and heart. At any sign of distress, you feel the tension and a need to fix or change his or her state.
You’re always flexible and adaptable, putting aside your own plans to go along with your partner’s flow.
You’re afraid to rock the boat.
You’re always longing for his or her approval.
You can never quite feel comfortable in the moment because your energy is not fully grounded within yourself.
Does any of these signs resonate with you?
A healthy relationship, of course, requires conscious compromises, tradeoffs, and sometimes sacrifices.
The circling I’m speaking about refers to an unfulfilling pattern in which you constantly trade your own wishes, preferences, and desires for another person’s.
How does orbiting start?
Orbiting can occur at a subtle, even unconscious level.
Although it’s meant to bring peace and happiness, it more likely brings you unease because your energy is always focused on the other person, almost in a state of apprehension. Thus, you rarely feel good in your own skin.
According to psychologists like Laurence Heller, Ph.D, this type of behavior often comes from a childhood of insecurity, fear, or disconnection, in which you constantly tracked your parents’ moods and tried to adapt yourself to their liking.
Or you may have acted in a rebellious fashion, which can be another cry for connection.
In either case, you may have been attempting to gain love, validation, and security or trying to avoid anger or abandonment.
This patterning runs deeply and can be challenging to see or to change.
The problem with orbiting around someone else
You might be wondering, “What’s the problem with orbiting around someone else?” Consider the following.
You could live your whole life and never be true to yourself or reach for your biggest dreams. That will likely bring many regrets if your relationship ends.
After all, you circle around your partner in order to keep the relationship together, don’t you? It may be a shock if you’re suddenly left on your own and have no idea who you truly are.
On an everyday level, tension accumulates in your body, mind, and heart from all the vigilance. This could run you down in the long run — emotionally and even physically because it keeps your nervous system on alert.
Then there’s the remorse you’re likely to feel at the end of your life when you realize you weren’t true to yourself.
Start circling around you
To counteract orbiting around someone else, the first step is to feel safe and secure within yourself.
If you don’t feel confident that you can handle whatever arises, including the departure of your partner, you’ll be forever inclined to circle around another.
Whenever you notice one of the above signs, take a breath and check in with yourself.
Are you feeling safe?
Are you feeling secure?
What can you do to soothe and reassure yourself?
While there’s no instantaneous cure for the habit of circling around another, starting working with the following steps to reconnect with yourself and live the life you truly want.
Love and respect yourself
Learn about self-love and begin to incorporate self-love practices into your day. For example, you could use “I am” affirmations.
“I am” affirmations are short, positive statements you can repeat to reverse false unconscious or semi-conscious beliefs you hold about your most essential self. A few examples of “I am” affirmations:
I am worthy.
I am perfect as I am.
I am smart.
I am lovable.
Check-in with your own energies and wishes for each day.
Make it a practice to start each day by asking what you would like to do. Scribble a few notes and then go for it. At the end of the day, come back to your notes and see if you were able to act on your own wishes.
Share your intentions for the day.
Instead of waiting to hear your partner’s plans, take the first step and share your plans for the day. Sure, be willing to compromise, but also know what’s important to you.
Learn to gracefully say “no.”
You don’t have to do everything your partner does, do you? Engaging in different activities, friendships, and hobbies can enrich your relationship.
Take a break, on your own.
Often, it can be hard to distinguish what you really want if you’re so enmeshed with another. Take some time on your own to get in touch with your own wishes, your own flow, and your own pace. It could be one day, a weekend, or a week. Or even more. Take whatever time you need, but do so consciously with love.
Orbiting can take other forms like circling around your children, a parent, or a spiritual figure. Orbiting around another is not the same as giving a healthy level of attention to the people in your life.
Clearly, young children need you full-on and aging parents may need you as a caregiver.
But even when you take on these roles, you still need to connect with and care for yourself or you’ll just burn out. In fact, you can only give freely when you’re centered in your true self.
Allowing your identity to be defined by someone else, only sets you up for a fall. If you find you’re orbiting around someone else, begin to take some of the steps outlined above, and slowly reclaim yourself and this precious gift of your life.
Are you orbiting around someone else? Or have you in the past? I would love to hear your reflections.