The US Factor
We all know Lauryn Hill’s infamous song- The Ex Factor, right? It’s a classic and one of my favorites. She eloquently serenades us and begins by singing:
It could all be so simple But you'd rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle And we both end up with scars Tell me, who I have to be To get some reciprocity No one loves you more than me And no one ever will
Now, who can relate to this right here? I know I can, for multiple reasons. Personally, I have experienced immense heartache from relationships and have always found myself turning to this song for comfort and realignment. If we really break this down…It really all could be so simple, but why is it so hard sometimes in relationships? It does feel like a battle and often times, we end up with scars. It’s so true. Those scars are memories of the past. As we grow and evolve through relationships, we have to think about what it takes to keep the relationship going, the reciprocity, but also remaining true to yourself and that’s where the lines blur at times. We end up getting upset at the relationship because we are feeling pulled apart in many directions, being spread emotionally thin, we are torn because we no longer know who we are anymore. We lose ourselves. Our identity. Then we become emotionally reactive, that’s when heavy words are exchanged, and then where does that leave you? In a fight with your partner and even yourself. It’s like a battle within our own selves.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but sometimes it ends up this way. We must think about ourselves in the relationship but also about the other person.
It’s the US Factor.
There are a few questions we have to ask ourselves and check-in throughout the relationship:
Who am in this relationship?
Do I love the person I am?
How do I want to show up in the relationship?
What is the way I show my love?
How am I evolving into the person I want to become?
Do I feel valued?
Am I supported?
These questions are important to ask yourself because you must make yourself a priority in the relationship. This is important. It is also especially important to be there for your significant other, but you have to give to yourself in order to give to your partner. I say this time and time again. With that being said, those questions are important for BOTH partners to ask themselves. As you evolve and grow in the relationship, you need to consistently check in to ensure you both are reaching each other. In looking at the US Factor, some questions include:
What does it mean to be in a relationship?
What does it mean to give to a relationship?
How do you show up in the relationship?
What is the language you speak in your relationship (love language)?
What does flexibility look like?
How can you be flexible?
How do you communicate?
Are you taking care of yourself?
How do you feel when you are with me?
How do we want this relationship to look like?
Now, when it comes to expressing how you feel in a relationship, this is where conflict usually arises. It happens, there is nothing wrong with that, but it is how you come back from it. A way to self-express is by making “I statements.” These are statements that solely reflect how you feel in the relationship without placing blame on anyone:
I feel hurt.
I am experiencing a disconnect.
I question who I am in this relationship.
I want us to heal.
I would like to share with you how I am feeling?
I want to make time for us.
I take responsibility.
I would like more of _____.
I need space.
These are some ideas to shift your focus on how to address your partner when you are going through things, you feel like you want to talk but don’t know what to say, or even if you feel disconnected. By expressing it as such, you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable as well as leaving room and space for your partner to hear from YOU. And what YOU are going through. This then will invite a conversation about you BOTH.
Relationships are a force. There is so much push and pull. It becomes so challenging to face. You have chosen this relationship, and you also choose how to show up in the relationship. How are you going to do that? Showing up looks very different- mentally, emotionally, and physically. With everyone’s needs being different, you have to ask yourself what you need and then in turn ask your partner how they can give. And vice versa. Checking in on each other is also very important because it shows that you are aware of what they have going on and the way you play a role in their life.
I hope you can take this and realize that in a relationship it is about US…not solely about ME or YOU. Nurturing your SELF is what is going to make the US thrive and make the relationship form into who you and your partner want to be, not the other way around. Take time to be flexible and reach out to your partner, expressing your needs, and speaking your truth. It’s about the togetherness force. And when Lauryn Hill says, “no one loves you more than me” think about saying that to yourself sometimes. If someone wants to be in your life, they will make the time and effort to be in your life, show up for you, respect you, be flexible, and honor the unique aspects of yourself. Don’t forget that.
I leave you with this, a small selection from a letter I wrote to someone from my past. I went into the archives of my writings to share this with you all:
“And when it comes to an us factor, it’s being flexible with your person and their thoughts and behaviors and actions and life. It’s being flexible and kind with yourself. It’s giving yourself room and maneuverability and the relationship as well. It may be uncomfortable at first, but eventually and through growth, it’s about finding that rhythm together. Individual and togetherness.”
As always, do what feels right for you and follow your meltuition.
Follow Dr. Mel on Instagram @meltuition