Cal came to me fifteen years into his relationship, in a place he called desperate. Cal’s wife had expressed her discontent in their relationship and told him she was considering leaving. He was doing everything he could to figure out what he could do to make her stay, nothing seemed to be working. He wasn’t performing well at work because his mind was never where he was, it was always on his wife and the life they had built together, a life that included children that he adored but couldn’t even give his attention.
It is not at all uncommon for couples to wake up at some point in their marriage wondering how they got here. Though together, they have lived separate lives for so long that the gap between them seems too deep to unite. Many times one is ready to let go while the other is desperately trying to pull them in.
Most of us are looking outside of ourselves to feel love. We are attempting to get someone else to feel differently, act differently, think differently so that we can feel better, feel loved. We find ourselves desperately doing things in an effort to get people to love us, it’s people-pleasing and it doesn’t work.
So what is the solution to creating your dream relationship?
Stop looking to others to fill up your emotional cup, it’s time to build your own love fountain. You can’t fall in love and expect the love to last unless you first do the work of loving yourself. I often tell people considering marriage that it takes two whole people to come together and become one, then I ask them if they feel complete and whole.
The first thing people will often tell me is that they do love themselves, but after asking a few questions we discover the truth. You can’t feel whole if you don’t first have a loving relationship with yourself.
Secondly, I want to ask you who your original “love” connection role models were, you don’t have to look too hard. If you were raised by your birth parents, it would be them. Maybe you don’t remember your original instructors, that’s significant to helping you understand how you connect with your partner now.
Definition of relationship:
Let’s look at what many people think relationships are: what other people think of us. We work hard to prove ourselves as someone worthy of being in a relationship with, often maintaining a certain distance just in case the other person decides to change their mind about us. With this definition, we find ourselves never fully committing to the relationship and, listen closely; we treat our relationship with ourselves the same.
Let me give you a better definition of relationship, a definition that will completely set you free. My definition of relationship is your thoughts about someone else. That’s it. No performance on your part necessary, you show up as you and decide what you want to think about your connection with the other person. What this means is you also have to let the other person decide what they think of you. In your love relationship you cannot change how your partner thinks, feels and acts towards you, all you can do is work on your side of the relationship.
Now, take my definition of relationship and apply it to yourself. What are your thoughts about you?
What does loving yourself mean?
I have a question I like to ask myself on the regular: if I was in relationship with myself, would I love me? How do I speak to myself? How to I treat my body? Who do I allow in my life? Do I set boundaries to protect myself?
Let’s look at a few examples of what loving yourself could look like:
- You speak positively to yourself, like someone you are in love with.
- Honoring your commitments to yourself. You trust yourself by doing what you tell yourself you’re going to do. You work on your important relationships. You follow through on things you committed to doing even though you might feel uncomfortable taking action. You question all current beliefs and re-commit to the ones that serve you, changing those that don’t serve you (not lovable, not valuable, not worthy). You know that other people can’t hurt or reject you – only you can do that.
- You feel and process your emotions, taking full responsibility for how you feel and not for how others feel, you build your self-confidence.
- You tell the truth by expressing your opinion and not people-pleasing.
- You value your own opinion and your feelings.
- You commit to loving yourself no matter what and don’t put love aside to beat yourself up or feel shame and guilt.
- Let go of the need to be right.
- Allowing others to be themselves without needing to change or control them.
- Letting go of perfectionist characteristics.
So how do you start implementing this work of learning how to love yourself?
Step one is to make and commit to the decision that you will do the work to learn how to love yourself.
Then you consciously re-commit to your work hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, etc – you make it a lifetime commitment that you continually decide on.
Step two is creating awareness
You begin to notice what you do, notice what you are feeling, notice what thought is creating how you feel and you start to understand what it is you are doing and why. Learn how to become aware of how you are feeling in your body – this is the indicator of whether you are thinking something powerful or limiting. You will begin by becoming aware after self-defeating actions as you do the work of noticing and correcting. Then you will begin to notice it while you are doing it. Lastly, you will see it coming and be able to change course, eventually, it will just be what you do – love yourself unconditionally.
Step three is creating balance
When you notice yourself being negative dig into the why, why are you beating yourself up? Then see if you can replace it with something more positive, a ladder thought – also learning how to recognize and give yourself credit when you treat yourself positively. Try doing my free Relationship Abundance course and put yourself in as your partner.
Step four is to create an affirmation practice
I highly recommend the use of affirmations which is the work of creating new thoughts that you believe about yourself and repeating them. Record yourself saying them and then listen to your voice speaking them. The process is all laid out in my free Abundant Love mini-course. My form of affirmations IS NOT the process of attempting to believe something you don’t believe, and it works!
Wondering about Cal and his marriage? Cal has found that when he stays out of his wife’s head and really works on honoring himself and telling the truth, his relationship starts to come together. Yep, it’s true and it works.
As you do this work you will start to notice your partner change. You will no longer be expecting them to act a certain way so you can feel good because you are learning how to make yourself happy. When you know how to make yourself happy then when you come together with your lover you can just let them be themselves and all you have to do is show up to love them!
Are you struggling in your love relationship? I would love to help you fall back in love with the one you love. My Awaken(TheTrue)You program is for strong women like you, and a few pretty cool guys, who want to stop hurting in their most intimate relationship. Together we work from the inside out, meaning I teach you how to have a healthy, loving relationship with yourself so you can show up and simply love your partner. Let’s reignite your love relationship today, book your consultation call today!