Many times when the word “love” is said or read, the first thought that we jump to is how we relate to another person. This is especially true when in a relationship or a marriage. A good deal of energy may be spent on tending to and cultivating the relationship with the partner. This energy is necessary for a healthy relationship. However, when it is at the expense of the energy you use for yourself, then there can be a certain challenges that you might face.
We all are ‘works in progress’ and this work needs to continue even when you are in a relationship. In fact, this work can enhance your relationship.
The relationship we have with ourselves has an impact on how we relate to others. You have a significant other but are you significant to yourself?
The concept of two halves coming together as a whole sounds poetic but is flawed in practice.
A partnership of two wholes is greater than two halves. You are whole even with flaws, issues, baggage and shortcomings. Love yourself in this moment. Use this love to fuel your core. Then the love that others pour into you becomes an accompaniment to and surplus for the love that you already have inside.
Generating love from the core may feel daunting. Here are a few exercises for your toolbox:
Honor who you are at this moment
Acceptance can be a powerful tool. The key is to hold space for change while enjoying who you are at this moment.
1. Find out the meaning of your name.
Does the meaning relate to you in any way? How does your name influence who you are in the day to day?
2. Create a love board.
Use pictures and words to represent the aspects of your being that you currently appreciate. Allow this board to grow throughout the year. As you discover new things about yourself, add them.
3. 7 Day/3 Week loving gaze of self.
Love one part of yourself for one week until you have a list of three characteristics with seven parts to the description. Find one thing that you like about yourself and allow it to grow each day for a week by nurturing it. It may be physical (ex. your eyes) or non-physical (ex. sense of humor) characteristic. Whatever you choose, be really specific and add a new part to the description each day. For example, if you like your eyes be really specific and add one part to the description each day; the shape, the color, your lashes, what they look like when you smile, etc.
Is there something that is keeping you from forgiving yourself? Forgiveness is critical to ensure your mental and emotional well being. If there is something for which you have not forgiven yourself, you must on your work on it.
Here are some exercises to follow to forgive yourself.
- Identify the things that you have not forgiven yourself.
- Write down what is impeding you from forgiving yourself
- Write an apology letter to yourself. In that write down what you think what your life will look like if you forgave yourself.
To express love to yourself, here are some exercises to practice-
- Write a love note to yourself. Mention that traits that you possess that you appreciate. No matter how trivial they are, write it down.
- If you loved a friend or partner, the things that you’d say to them to express love, say those things to yourself out loud.
You need to work on all the relationships you have, including the relationship that you have with yourself. If you keep working on the relationship that you have with yourself, you will keep growing. Pledge to take out atleast 5 minutes each day to maintain the relationship you have with yourself.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.