If I were to ask you to name the single most important factor that you believe contributes to a rewarding and successful romantic relationship, you might well argue that empathy, communication, trust, or perhaps sex is the most essential.
While these, indeed, are critical components of successful relationships, they are not the most crucial.
So, what is?
Paradoxically, your relationship with your SELF is the single most important element in a meaningful relationship. It is, arguably, the most important relationship in your life and is the foundation of everything else.
I know first-hand from some of my clients that they were taught to consider the needs of others before their own. Sometimes, this even meant taking care of their parents’ needs, instead of the other way around.
While considering others’ needs before acknowledging your own may seem virtuous, it is, in fact, problematic.
The Importance Of Having a Great Relationship With Your SELF
Think about the following: When people get married, typically they make a formal contract to provide for their partner in all the important ways. However, what should also happen, but doesn’t, is that people should promise to take care of themselves to the best of their ability, in the same way they do for their partner.
Why is this necessary?
Your relationship with your partner is a direct reflection of the relationship you have with yourself.
It’s impossible to share with your partner a resource that you lack in yourself.
The simple truth is that a relationship can only be as good as both individuals in it. This means that a healthy partnership cannot exist until each individual develops self-awareness and self-love.
How To Develop Healthy Self- Love /Self-Care
Simply put, healthy self-care is any activity you do intentionally to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health.
The basics of self-love / self-care:
- Self-care needs to be something you actively plan, rather than something that just happens. It is an active choice.
- Be aware of what you do, why you do it, how it feels and what the outcomes are.
- A strong sense of self will sustain you during life’s challenges. Understand who you are at your core, what makes you tick, and what your attitudes and beliefs are.
- Know your emotions. Do you understand why you respond emotionally the way you do?
- Practice self-compassion. Become aware of the dialogue you have with yourself.
Loving your partner is only possible when you have invested in your own growth and self-care.
Self-love is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
A strong sense of self is the only way to achieve true intimacy with your partner.
Take good care of your SELF. Your partner needs you.
The primary focus of my counseling, with both individuals and couples, is first and foremost to help them to define their SELVES, so they can be in charge of their own lives.
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