I come across endless articles on “How to Love Yourself Before You Meet Your Partner” and almost all of them are wrong.
You see, there are PERSONAL development skills.
And then there are RELATIONSHIP skills.
These are two VERY different concepts.
Let me explain.
You can do 20 years of therapy and self-discovery workshops and learn to know yourself brilliantly.
..and that is great news.
But here’s the other thing that goes witha rich and deep inner self-knowing.
You must also know how to integrate it in a way that SERVES an intimate relationship.
Otherwise, you will struggle immensely in close relationships.
Otherwise, you will create a wall around yourself that is so thick, that it can actually make it even HARDER for a partner to reach you in a meaningful way.
Moving beyond personal development requires us to take our (self-awareness) and learn how to RELATE it to another human.
To the partner we choose.
So how do we do that?
Here are two main ways I teach my clients to take their self-awareness and bring it to their relationships:
1-WITH THE WORDS WE CHOOSE WHEN EXPRESS OUR VULNERABILITY
“I feel sad that you forgot it was our anniversary.
It really hurt my feelings.
But I love you and know your intentions are good.
Can we do something today to make today feel special?”
It requires taking care of YOUR FEELINGS + YOUR PARTNER’S FEELINGS at the same time.
It requires going back and forth between how you are feeling and checking in to see how your partner is feeling at the moment when either of you becomes triggered.
Heres another example of this:
“I’m upset with you right now.
I know you didn’t mean to get home so late but I still feel very angry right.
Thank you for sitting with me while I feel what I’m feeling.
I know it’s not easy.
Are you doing okay?”
Check in with partner.
Check in with partner.
Repeat as many times necessary.
Miracles can happen here.
2-WITH BODY LANGUAGE
Being deeply connected to yourself can allow you to connect to your partner’s facial and body language.
It means you can LITERALLY studying their face and body as if you are learning a brand new language.
How does your partner stand when they are upset?
What does their face look like?
Do you feel it anywhere in your own body when your partner becomes upset?
Perhaps you feel it in your face?
Or in your stomach?
Do you share that with them?
Understanding your partner’s facial expressions when they express sadness, happiness, confusion, or loneliness is really important.
*We can OFTEN still be wrong when reading our partner's facial expressions - especially if we have been raised in different cultures.
…but the key is in the effort.
…the key is to take time to check in and VERBALIZE how you think your partner actually feels in a specific moment.
“I’m sensing you are sad right now.
Am I getting that right?”
“I love seeing how exciting you are about your new job.”
“You look lonely right now.
Is there anything I can do?”
Our partner will appreciate that we are trying to understand how they are feeling.
Just don’t keep telling them they look sad or angry once they have clearly told you they are not.
That will just irritate the living crap right out of them.
I have no idea if that ridiculous saying makes any sense at all.
The more you pay attention to your partner’s face and body language, the more you will notice yourself becoming more attuned to them.
…and feel more emotionally connected to one another.
...which can likely spark some more satisfying lovemaking too.
Just practice today.
Even a little bit of focus on them will make a difference.
…and they will FEEL your effort.