Self-Love and Romantic Relationships
Happy Tuesday, Love Bugs! I hope everyone had a fabulous Labor Day Weekend and have started off the work week on a good note. Long weekends are great, but never seem long enough, right? Well, at least we are somewhat refreshed and ready to take on a new topic in our self-love journey.
The beauty of finding the love within yourself, is that you then gain perspective and a clear vision of the love in others. Before learning to love myself, I struggled to see all the gifts, talents, beauty and to appreciate my imperfections. As my perspective changed, so did my ability to see those beautiful things in others. Reading Don Miguel Ruiz' 'The Four Agreements' and 'The Mastery of Love' helped me very much in this area. I learned to appreciate the imperfections in my husband, see his true worth, highlight his strengths and find understanding in his weaknesses. This is a tough thing to do when one is broken, and has been broken for so long.
I was fortunate to have met my husband, Mark, when I was 17 years old at a Christian youth group meeting, We have been witnesses to one another in our growth from teenagers to young adults, to husband & wife and now parents. It's pretty amazing that we can still look at eachother and see those two young kids, that were shy yet eager to get to know one another. We were both scared of what could happen, but also foolishly optimistic of the future. Fatherless daughters are a tough breed to love. We come with a whole BUCKET full of issues: feelings of abandonment, unworthiness, struggle to connect with a man in a non-sexual manner, anger, resentment, unhealthy dependency on men to fulfill all the promises that Daddy never did. My husband was a fatherless son so he had his own set of issues: anger, resentment, feelings of abandonment, unworthiness, and a downplayed opinion on the importance of Fathers in general. We had to work through our issues, and learn to find the common place where we could grow past our feelings. That common place came in the form of becoming 'parents' ourselves. Becoming parents gave us the platform, desire, and opportunity to BE BETTER for our kids, and work through the areas in our hearts that were broken. We decided we were going to 'change the game' for them, so that they could live the childhoods we always wanted.
Learning to love ourselves, our bodies, and having compassion for ourselves, then allows the same energy to be directed toward our partners. In romantic relationships, expecting the other person to be the 'fix it' guru is not only unfair, but also painfully selfish as our significant others are also having to deal with their own sense of brokenness. It takes courage to love ourselves through all of our downfalls, and that same courage is required in our love of our imperfect spouses:
"Once you accept yourself just the way you are, the next step is to accept your partner. If you decide to be with a person, don't try to change anything about her. Just like your dog or your cat, let her be who she is. She has the right to be who she is; she has a right to be free. When you inhibit your partner's freedom, you inhibit your own because you have to be there to see what your partner is doing or not doing. And if you love yourself so much, you are never going to give up your personal freedom. Can you see the possibilities a relationship offers? Explore the possibilities. Be yourself, Find a person who matches with you. Take the risk, but be honest."
-Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love
We make such a common mistake in thinking we can change someone, or fix another person. When we take the time to love and change ourselves, fix our broken places and appreciate the beauty that we already are - that light is then shed on those around us. Less judgment. Less conflict. Less anger. Less disappointment. More acceptance. More appreciation. More peace. More Love. Your relationship will see the benefit of your self-love, and create a space for your partner to love themselves as they are as well. Now THAT, is a beautiful place to let your connection grow. In this step of our journey,
I challenge you NOT to point out all your partner's short-comings, but instead look at them as their own unique traits. Maybe they don't clean the house exactly like you do, does it make it wrong? No, it's just different. Instead, be thankful that they even considered you enough to help pickup after the kids while you washed the dishes. Understand that their perspectives and their abilities are not exactly like yours. Loving someone doesn't provide a telekinetic ability to read your mind and figure out exactly what you need and want all of the time. This week, just say thank you. Acknowledge and appreciate their efforts. Compliment their unique gifts. This will not only bring love and light to your marriage, but your home, your children and the harmony under your roof.
May your relationships be fruitful.
Have a great week, love bugs.