Overstanding Self Love in a Romantic Relationship
Why is it so easy to lose yourself in a relationship? It’s because in a relationship, you are sharing your self with someone else.
If you give and give and give of yourself, but don’t take the time to make sure that you are fulfilled, sooner or later you will wonder what happened to you. You will wonder who you even are. This is why you must always, and I mean ALWAYS, practice self love.
Self Love is wonderful. You owe it to yourself to have your own back, all the time. However, when you get into a relationship it can be much harder to focus on loving yourself, because you are also focusing on your partner.
Today we’re gonna talk about:
-Why self love is important and what it actually is
-How relationships take over our lives
-What a healthy relationship looks like
-How to balance love and self
Self Love—THE BUZZ WORD
Self love is such a trendy term, right? I’m about sick of it, honestly. It’s been said so much, shoved down our throats so hard, that we can’t even comprehend what it is.
Well I’m gonna tell you what you haven’t been told about self love:
When you decide to love yourself, you will encounter it’s opposite, self loathing. It’s YOUR RESPONSE to this encounter that will determine the strength of your self love.Nia Venus
Yeah, I said it. Billy Bragg states, “a virtue untested is no virtue at all.“ So if your self love hasn’t been tested, how do you know you really have it?
Let me ask you this…has anyone ever made you feel less than? Have you ever felt like you didn’t have any or enough self love? Have you ever dealt with low self esteem, or accepted abuse in a relationship ?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, then your self love HAS BEEN TESTED.
I remember my first test of self-love. It was when I had my first crush in middle school. I had been crushing on this guy for a while, then one day I finally found out he didn’t feel the same way about me.
I was crushed. Ironic, right? I was crushed as a result of crushing on someone. But if you think about what a crush is, it implies you believe this person outside of you is somehow of greater importance than you. That is not self love. This is not to say you can’t admire someone, but if you are placing that person above yourself, then you are by default saying you are less than.
Most people learn this lesson at some point in their lives. Some people learn it sooner, some later, but we learn it. The lesson is that not everyone will love you or like you.
BUT—you can’t allow this reality to stop you from loving you. If you do, then you’ve failed and they’ve won. They’ve made you doubt your own self.
I want to be clear. Self love is not selfish. Selfishness is when you can ONLY see and appreciate yourself. Self love is about being able to appreciate yourself—and others.Nia Venus
Self love is when you truly embrace your entire being, inside and out. That means when you feel like crap, you still love yourself. When your breath stinks, you love yourself. When you have a bad attitude, you love yourself. When everyone is cheering you on, you love yourself. When no one is paying you any attention whatsoever, you STILL love yourself.
Now why is it sometimes hard to do this once we get tangled up with a boo thang?
It’s because we don’t know, or we never knew why we got into a relationship to begin with.
SO WHY ARE YOU IN A RELATIONSHIP?
I mean, really think about it. Why are you in the relationship you’re in? Are you in it to fulfill a void? Feel special? Waste time? Do what your parents said? Create children just for the hell of it?
It’s imperative that you know why you’re getting into a relationship with a person. If you’re already in a relationship, it’s still important to know why. I mean, it’s a big deal. You’ll be constantly exchanging not only physical, but emotional and spiritual energy with this person. You’re inviting this person into your entire world, sis.
If you don’t know why you’re in the relationship you’re in, you can do one of two things:
- End it now
- Decide right now why you’re in it
So yeah, If you don’t want to end your relationship, go sit somewhere and figure out why you’re in a relationship. And make sure it’s not to fulfill some low level desire such as sex or money. Because if this is the case, then you better be ready to move on to someone else quick, fast, and in a hurry because those two desires are volatile as hell!
Here are a few good reasons to be in a relationship:
- To develop character
- Mutual support
- Personal Growth
- Emotional Growth
- To develop a legacy(ie children, etc.)
- To have fun
Alright so we know why we need self love, and we know why we’re in a relationship. Now let’s get into HOW relationships can make us lose who we are.
How Relationships Take Over our Lives
You know that girlfriend you have…every time she’s in a relationship you never see her ass. She stops coming out for drinks because she’s busy laid up with this week’s bae…you know her.
Relationships can consume you. I’ve only been married for two years but I’ve been off and on with the same man, my now husband, for almost a decade. I know what the takeover looks and feels like.
This is why it happens. It’s simple. You lost yourself because:
YOU FELL INTO AN ILLUSION OR A DESIRE and FORGOT the overarching purpose or direction of the relationship.
Any meaningful relationship takes time. That’s a given. However, this time should be spent bringing you closer to yourself, not further away. If your partner makes you feel like less of yourself, then you may have messed up somewhere. Unless that’s what you wanted. But I bet it’s not.
Whenever you feel like you’re losing yourself in your relationship, you must take a step back and remember who you are and why you are choosing to be in a relationship.
What a Healthy Relationship Looks Like
A healthy relationship has balance. Both parties, you and your man, both put in energy, and both get energy out. If the relationship feels like this isn’t happening, if you ever feel like you’re putting in more, then you need to initiate a conversation about that, and if you can’t come to new terms based on your needs, then you need to fall back for a while to see if things balance back out. If you are putting in less energy, I’m sure your partner will let you know. Hopefully it doesn’t come down to him cheating or breaking up with you, but it does manifest that way sometimes.
Relationships are meant to challenge us. We are imperfect beings as humans. We can all stand to grow and learn about the shadow parts of ourselves. Oftentimes, your partner is reflecting something back to you, about you. The problem comes when we see our partner as the enemy, when really they are just showing us a part of ourselves that needs to get back into balance.
The ideal relationship would be one that is not codependent, but interdependent. Interdependent means instead of losing yourself in your partner, you are yourself alongside your partner. Again, It’s about balance. You are staying true to yourself while relating to another, instead of molding yourself to become what you believe the other person wants.
So in order to manifest a healthy relationship in your life, you must first and foremost be true to who you are, so that your partner is seeing what actually is, instead of a facade. Imagine thinking you’re getting in a relationship with a sexy baller, just to learn later that he’s flat broke with zero ambition. Quite the let down, aye?
How to Balance Love and Self
So how do we tie it all together?
How can you stay true to yourself while you are in a relationship with another? Let’s explore a few ways below:
- KNOW THYSELF: You knew this one was coming. You have to know who you are in order to balance yourself with another. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself floating around, lost. Looking for someone outside of you, such as your partner, to tell you who you are.
- KNOW YOUR MAN: After you know yourself, you should be getting to know your man. Keep in mind, people change and evolve. Personally, I grow and change on a daily basis. What does this mean? This means you need to be paying attention to who your man actually is. Figure out what makes him mad, what makes him happy, what’s important to him? How does it compare to what’s important to you? Where can you guys find common ground to relate on? How can you combine yourselves together like a beautiful piece of art? That brings us to our next point.
- DANCE TOGETHER: What do I mean? Imagine a couple salsa dancing. Visualize the two bodies tearing that dance floor up. The woman is swaying her hips in her red dress and heels, sassing around. The man is in his expensive suit, holding her and catching her when she spins and twirls. What’s happening here? Each person knows his or her role. The man isn’t trying to sass around like the woman, and the woman isn’t trying to catch the man.
Now, remember this is symbolic. If you’re not into gender roles, that’s fine. I’m not saying he has to be the breadwinner and you have to wash all the dishes. (However that may work for you). What I am saying is that your relationship will run a lot smoother and be easier to balance if there is some sort of sense of who plays which role. If you don’t know who is assuming a certain role, you are setting yourself up for an abundance of confusion. When you learn yourself, and learn your partner, you can better understand the music you guys need, along with what costumes you will wear, and roles you will play in order to put on the performance of a lifetime.
So what do you say? How do you stay grounded in yourself in your relationship? What difficulties do you encounter with this? Drop a comment!