Real love is something most of us spend our lives searching for. I am beginning to realise it is far closer than I had considered. Finding real love, the truest of true really is so close I can reach out and touch it!
I have been spending a fair bit of time pondering this a fair bit lately. I lament over the “couch potato” in the other room who wont hold my hand in public unless under duress or use the “L” word when describing his feelings for me. Sigh. With the onset of peri-menopause and crazy hormones flying left, right and centre, I have been dragging my self-esteem and self-worth behind me. Looking deep into my eyes in the bathroom mirror, I think to myself, “you deserve to be treated better than this. Why are you settling for less than you really deserve?” Life is far too short not to feel loved.
Lately I have been realising how much I place that responsibility of loving me on the shoulders of my partner. Experiencing real love needs to start with me. Expressing this love for myself is as simple as allowing myself to enjoy something that makes me fizz. This may entail catching up with dear friends or participating in a hobby that lights me up. We need to celebrate our wins in life. Even the smallest achievements of which there are many if we choose to acknowledge them.
In relationships, many of us prioritise everyone else’s needs ahead of our own. Our personal needs get placed at the back of the queue and often don’t get met. For many, this deprivation continues to such an extent that eventually the empty person calls time on the relationship with the belief and expectation we deserve to be treated better.
I listened to a Matt Kahn youtube clip last week for three days running, hoping the video’s message would infiltrate my sub-conscious brain. Matt’s words really struck a chord me. The essence of his message is this. In order to really love yourself you need to gift yourself with what your being needs. You need to respect yourself by setting boundaries that allow you to nourish yourself. It might be you are tired, in pain, or out of sorts emotionally to participate in discussions or tasks requested of you. It may also be that you need to feel and experience the realisation that you actually have a choice to say “yes” or “no”. You choosing you doesn’t mean you are not choosing them. It means you are honouring you. In doing so you offer them the best of you – a you that glows with love from the inside.
Saying “no” isn’t always pretty
As an inherent people pleaser, saying “no” or agreeing to something on my terms is often difficult for me. Lately I have been practising hard. I have also been observing the reactions of my partner. To say the least it has been very interesting. To him, me saying no and sticking to it appeared to be interpreted as me being grumpy or irritable. I caught myself thinking in response, “well I wasn’t grumpy before, but I bloody well am now”. To be completely honest he has a point. You see, before I even open my mouth to speak, I have a movie reel that plays in my mind. I imagine the anticipated reaction to my “no” and I dialogue the conversation out in my head. I fortify myself for a battle of wills, pleading with myself to remain steadfast. Quite frankly, I end up utterly exhausted even before I mutter the word “no”. Historically I have chosen to say “yes” thinking I will side-step this feeling. I end up pissed off with myself as I feel it anyway. Inevitably (and unfortunately) I often then project on to him.
Setting boundaries and expressing self-love and respect for myself are clearly not the only matters I need to take responsibility for. I also have the responsibility of mastering my mind, being aware of where my emotional and mental shit comes from, and choosing not to engage with negative self-talk that plagues my mind.
Saying “no” felt great though. Being able to enjoy finishing the task I had started was heaven. It was just what I needed at the time. And when I had finished I was able to offer my assistance.
Relationships are a dance
Each of us bring into our relationships our past trespasses, pain and sorrow which we vow never to experience again. It is like we have a post-traumatic stress reaction as we flinch at words or events that trigger memories held deep within. We feel so empty inside we believe the real romantic, juicy love we seek is outside of us in the form of another person or experience. In reality, if we honour ourselves we have a better capacity to honour another person. If we understand the complex games within our own minds, we have a greater capacity to empathise with another person. We stop taking things so personally when we are full of our own love. We are better able to walk our own path and also respect our loved one’s choice to do so.
Looking deep into my eyes in the bathroom mirror each morning is changing. When I see those tired eyes looking back at me I think, “I need to give you some downtime so you can rest. I love you.”
Feature photo courtesy of Pixabay
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