Keep Your Self, Keep Your Lover
How do we do that?? How do we manage our relationships, give them all we’ve got and not allow ourselves to get lost in them? I can say that it is hardly easier in this day and age, then it was generations ago. For many, it is an ongoing challenge. Maybe I can assist you.
There is a saying, “You must love yourself before you can love another”. It has unfortunately become a cliché. However, if you can imagine this concept in a broader sense, and hold onto it as your core, you can draw truth and strength from it.
One of my main sources of income is as Marriage Officiant. Day in and day out I witness people ‘In Love’. They come to interview with me before the wedding day and I see them look into each other’s eyes and expound on the fact they can finish each other’s sentences and that they make each other whole and that in that other person they see their future fulfilled. It sounds so romantic and beautiful and in the moment it is exactly that.
Another main source of my income is as Life Coach and Counselor. With this hat on, I have so many clients tell me that without their significant other, they do not know who they are and this leaves them feeling lost and worthless which can turn into depression and resentment for their relationship.
What I know to be true is that most of the time, when we first meet another, we are being attracted to a person who is on their own. They are also being attracted to another that is on her/his own. However they are being, they are being single. They are pleasing themselves and doing what makes them happy. When we couple, we start to let ourselves blend into a couple instead of holding onto that which attracted that other person to us in the first place.
Perhaps we stop doing the hobbies that we enjoy. We stop doing our thing and instead join in whatever our ‘partner’ likes. We drop some friends and fall into the other as our full time person. To some extent, this is necessary for a healthy relationship. It’s when it goes too far that we lose ourselves. Yes, there are many other individual details that can also help us to lose ourselves. The point is that we do it and it is difficult to undo it.
They are a million self-help gurus and couple therapist that have and will continue to instruct us in this struggle. This is good. Yet, I would like to add to your toolbox a different approach. I’d like to get out of your head for the answers and more into your creative imagery. Intellectually it is hard to change habits. I say, relearn and remember who you were before your relationship. Take care of yourself as if there is no one that you rely upon. Let that person see the person that he/she was turned on by in the first place! Use your imagination to help you to do this.
Know that loving yourself is NOT JUST A GOOD FEELING ABOUT YOURSELF. Loving yourself is taking care of YOU first and foremost before you do anything. It means waking in the morning and doing what is right for you before your partner. It means filling yourself up with the kind of nurturing that only you can do. BraveHeart Womyn use the expression ‘overflow’ often when we speak of what we offer to another. Again, instead of giving you wordy instruction, I would like you to use your imagination.
Can you imagine a pot of gold overflowing?! Imagine you are that pot of gold. Filled to the brim with so much that it HAS TO OVERFLOW. Know that you are filling from the inside out so that there is a constant OVERFLOW! See the overflow spilling out to your family, your loved ones, your lover. Isn’t that delightful? Only you know what you need to feel the fullness of you. For some of us, it means exercise. For some of us it means joining back into the hobbies that fulfill us. For some it means dancing, or knitting, or hiking or whatever fills you up! Do you first. When making decisions, pause, take an Oxytocin Breath and fill you first before you make your choices. If it doesn’t please you first, re-think it.
Although this may sound simplistic, I argue that keeping it simple may be the key that unlocks the chains that do your relationship harm. Looking at that pot of gold from the outside, don’t you just want to go under the flow and have all that gold splash upon you?! Doesn’t that ‘look’ better than digging into a half empty pot of gold? Let your lover receive the overflow of your Self Love!