“Not everyone who’s in an unhealthy relationship actually knows they’re in one.” – Azul Terronez
After navigating an unhealthy, 15-year relationship, Ted Smith realized he was uniquely qualified to help others through their own romantic challenges. And to reach as many people as possible, he courageously chose to write his book, “Healthy Me, Happy We: Transforming Relationships With Yourself and Others.”
When Ted first started writing, he had a few ideas and concepts, but nothing concrete or certain — and that stirred up fear and doubt within him. Sharing details about his life with full transparency and honesty wasn’t going to be easy, especially when that meant putting his emotions and personal experiences out there for all to read.
Each step toward vulnerability takes courage, and in this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead,” Ted talks about his journey from codependency to security, and how the process of writing his book taught him even more about himself.
Sometimes, A Book Helps the Author First
A part of the Authors Who Lead book-writing journey involves hand-drawing a visual map. Using the right side of the brain allows creativity to flow — and this creative exercise brought up ideas and emotions inside of Ted that he didn’t even know were there.
In hindsight, Ted’s advice to his younger self would be to trust the writing process, know that challenges are inevitable, and to just keep going. He learned how to open his heart, let the creative juices flow and not overthink the journey.
Relationships Are Not Supposed To Be Hard
It wasn’t until Ted hit the lowest point in his life that he recognized he was in a codependent, unhappy relationship. Sometimes, our relationships slowly worsen over time and we don’t see it until it’s too late.
The unhappiness becomes our normal.
Through therapy and enjoying a healthy relationship, Ted discovered that his love life was not supposed to be hard. While it takes a reasonable amount of effort to work out conflicts, the relationship as a whole shouldn’t be dreaded or painful.
Cultivating a Healthy Relationship With Yourself
We need to love ourselves first before we can love others. Ted had convinced himself that flashes of happy moments in his relationship were all that he would ever get — because it’s all he ever knew.
Once he had distanced himself from that unhealthy relationship and started practicing self care, he experienced peaceful moments and true happiness like he’d never felt before. At first, loving ourselves can feel selfish, but how we relate to ourselves is a direct reflection of how we relate to others. There is a big difference between being selfish and self-loving.
As you take those first courageous steps in your own writing journey, remember these three takeaways from my discussion with Ted:
What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? What kind of happiness do you desire in your own life? Share in the comments below!
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that is calling you to be written, be courageous and start writing your book today!
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