If you are the kind of person who craves to be loved and who chronically needs someone else’s approval, you need to fix that before you get into a relationship – and if you’re already in one, then you better get on fixing yourself immediately!
People who do not feel worthy of being loved the way they are, who are insecure about themselves, their bodies, their values, their dreams… will drain their partner’s energy, and no one wants to be in that sort of relationship.
Before looking outside of yourself to assess your relationship, look inside to see how much do you love and respect yourself? How well do you know yourself? Do you even know how to treat yourself right before expecting someone else to do so?
Being in a relationship does not mean giving up your entire being and identity and becoming an empty container for the whims and likes of your partner, to the contrary. A relationship, when it is between two psychologically healthy and mature human beings, will only get better and stronger when both spouses bring their own unique, rich and vibrant perspectives to the table. There is nothing attractive about someone who has surrendered all their power, who has no confidence, no mind of their own, no vision for their life, no personal endeavors and projects, no internal drive towards anything… who is completely defined by how utterly dependent they are on their spouse. And in such situations, the spouse will either lose interest and pull away, or fill the gaps and emptiness with what they want.
Being needy and insecure has never made anyone happy. Your happiness must start from within. If you are going through a rough patch, before you try to evaluate how your spouse makes you unhappy, start by asking yourself, in all honesty, whether you are a happy person to start with. If you are not even doing your own share and taking care of yourself, then don’t expect someone else to go out of their way and do that for you (yes, they may, and if they do, then that’s a great bonus); they already have themselves to deal with, that they will most likely not be interested in trying to drag you along! And assuming they want to, who says that they would even know how to do it properly?
There is a very big difference between someone who surrenders their entire being because they have personal internal self-worth and esteem issues to start with; and someone who surrenders parts of their being with their spouse because they know that it will make them happier. The first is a sickness that is only made worst from the outside; the second is a choice stemming from a position of confidence and power. In the first case, my personality is wiped out and crushed because my partner is taking advantage (consciously or not) of my insecurity and neediness. (And I can fix this by learning that happiness starts from within). In the second case, my partner empowers me, boosts my confidence in my self and my abilities, fills me with positive life and energy, and that is why I believe that I am happier in letting go and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
Knowing who you are is liberating and empowering for yourself, and it works wonders in making your relationship better. Your partner is not a mind reader or a divinely inspired and professionally trained psychotherapist (more on this in another post). If you can’t even understand yourself, can you really blame them for not understanding you?
In life in general, and in relationships in particular, we must always remember that before experiencing love and happiness from the outside, it must start from within ourselves. If you do not love yourself, no amount of love from the outside will compensate. And if you love yourself, no lack of love from the outside can make more than a little dent in that.
Strong, confident, successful people are those who control what they feel and choose how they feel. Choose to feel happy, instead of victimized and miserable. We are all living lives that overlap the lives of others, but in the end, we are all only in our personal lives and journeys, in our own little solitary bubble. (Oh how many philosophers and poets have filled volumes upon volumes about the solitude of the human existence…) The balancing act we all have to do consists in living with others such that they truly benefit from our existence, and with such intimacy that that we experience being one and the same, while ultimately knowing that we each have our own life to live, our own grave to lie in, and our own afterlife to build.
Have you prioritized those things that inspire you and make you become the best and strongest version of yourself? Have you surrounded yourself with enough people who support you and inject you with the motivation and confidence you need to keep going, or are you unable to minimize the presence of the negative people in your life? Do you take sufficient time and expand enough energy nourishing your mind, your body and your soul? Do you feel that you own your own opinions, your tastes, your values, your ideas? Do you know how and when to be forgiving, gentle, and accepting with yourself? Do you dare take risks and try new things? Can you see how you are going to be the person you want to be, and live the life you want to live, and make your dreams reality? Have you taught yourself to see the world through a positive filter? Do you have substance? Are you authentic?
If you haven’t thought about these questions for yourself, it may be a good time to start… and once you figure out these answers, your partner will only appreciate you more for it and you will be in a richer, deeper and happier relationship.
Set the standard yourself, and others will know how to treat you. Work on your inside, build it, decorate it, perfect it… “and they will come”.