Loving yourself is critical to your happiness. It also determines the quality of your relationships, especially with your partner. It’s simple: the better you treat yourself, the better you treat those around you, and the better you will be treated. A partnership where there is little self-love is one where criticism, blame, arguments, underlying anger and distance abound. So how much do you love yourself? Here are some questions for you to ponder:
1) Is your self talk mostly negative? Does your head rumble with criticism and blame when you make a mistake, say something off-putting, do something embarrassing or shameful, slack-off when you think you should be working? How long do you hold onto that negativity?…hours, days, weeks, months? Or do you forgive your mistakes, take them as learning experiences and move forward from there?
2) When your partner criticizes you, do you automatically take it in and go down the dark path of self-loathing? Or do you reflect upon the feedback with an open mind, learn from it if it fits, discard it if it doesn’t, treating yourself kindly all the while?
3) Do you care for yourself…do something small (or big) everyday that nourishes you? Or are you just too busy to indulge yourself in this kind of loving treatment?
4) Are you governed by what others need and want from you, to the exclusion of your own needs and wants? Or do you say “no” when you don’t have time, or don’t really want to do what they’re asking of you?
5) Do you praise yourself when you do something well? Or focus on what you didn’t do, or could have done better?
These are just a few examples that will help you determine where you are on the self-love scale. If you find that you’re on the low end, for heaven’s sake, don’t do your usual thing and beat yourself up for it. Instead of shaming or blaming yourself, praise yourself for your new awareness, which is after all, the first step towards change.
How do we best grow anyway? From abusive, harsh treatment? Or through love and encouragement? For me, and I’ll bet for you too, it’s when I treat myself with understanding, forgiveness and compassion. How about it? Are you ready to tip the scale in your favor?
Check out my book, The Affair: From Breakdown to Breakthrough, A Therapist’s Real-life Journey, for more great tips and insights about relationships. You can buy it on Kindle worldwide from all Amazon websites.