You can’t have a happy and healthy relationship with another person unless you have one with yourself first.
That’s just the plain truth.
If you dismiss this idea without taking an honest look at yourself first, it will usually turn out that one or both people will find themselves in therapy at some point down the line-feeling overly dependent and needy of the other person to fill an unknown void in their life. Or, it could be that you might secretly start to resent the other person because of their neediness and put distance between you, resentful that this wasn’t the bargain you signed up for. Of course, conversations about your expectations don’t ever happen -you just go undercover and become passive aggressively sarcastic and distant.
Having a relationship with yourself really means, experiencing an unwavering sense of your own value and worth. Not in a narcissistic way mind you-where you are the center of the universe and all important to everyone. Knowing that you are fine just the way you are. Even though you might want to make some changes here and there at times when you see behaviors you’ve adapted that don’t really suit you-you know at the CORE OF YOUR BEING, that you are precious and have a purpose for being here.
You deserve to be here on this planet because you are just like the rest of us and you put your pants on one leg at a time. You are lovable for who you are right now, not after you’ve made some changes, and from this place, you can go out into the world feeling strong, capable, excited to interact with others and having a lot to contribute in whatever way you choose. This world needs you! Desperately! And you would be robbing the world of your talents and your love if you held it back for just one day!
Another aspect of having a good relationship with yourself is having an understanding of what you will and won’t allow to happen with yourself in relationships with others. This is based on your own version of what you need to feel safe in the world. When I say safe, that is safe physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. The limits that you set with other people in relationship are what we call our boundaries. They keep us in check and appropriate in our own lives-and we end up feeling happy and at peace with ourselves in the world, instead of anxious, guilty, and resentful. Setting healthy boundaries is a sign that we care about and respect ourselves.
Our boundaries allow us to get our needs and wants met in a healthy way. We feel easy about asking for what we need from others because we know we deserve it to begin with and there are no secret or unverbalized rules in the relationship. We relate to others with healthy boundaries and we treat them in a respectful way according to theirs. If someone should act in an inappropriate way with us, i.e. shouting, blaming, or trying to shame or manipulate us, our boundaries once asserted will make sure that we communicate that it’s not OK to be treated in that manner. And if they want a relationship with us, they will need to make some changes, because what is ocurring is not acceptable to you.
Again, we feel a sense of self respect, and from that place find it easy to communicate our needs.
This article is the first of several I will be writing on this subject that many of my clients have frequent misunderstandings about-how to have a healthy relationship with yourself, while at the same time, feeling good about your relationship with others. People often feel that over time, they lose the ability to stand up for themselves (set boundaries) and as a result often shut down, or become highly anxious “walking on eggshells” around others. They no longer embody their own views in the world or the fullness and potential of who they are and what they deserve in life. They just don’t know themselves anymore.
Nothing good will come of this. As a matter of fact an awful lot that’s bad may ensue, for example, depression, anxiety, chemical, process or behavioral addictions, raging, physical illnesses and even eating disorders. In relationships, this dysfunction can also show us as avoidance, dishonesty and lying, and real problems being able to rely on other people-not trusting them.
When I work with people on getting to know themselves, afterwards they tell me that they finally feel free to be who they are. The difference in their energy is like night and day. They feel light, liberated and the best part….is joyful! If you would like to get back to this place of having a healthy sense of self, stay tuned for more of my articles; better yet, call me!
I would love to work with you. You deserve to share your greatness with the world. We’ve been waiting long enough!
Elisa Thomas MA LMFT (910) 446-3697