If you’re reading this article, it probably isn’t new to you knowing that you cannot make yourself dependent on others to make you feel loved. I mean… you could! The only question is how much time will pass before your relationship will fall apart like a Jenga tower.
I’m certainly not going to tell you how what sort of a relationship you’re having with your partner. Only you and your partner know this (well, hopefully). That’s why I’m going to broaden things up, and explain the underlying the psychological reasons and ways most relationships are led these day. At least from what I observe.
Relationships where Codependency is a Norm
Codependency is when someone deliberately makes themselves dependent on another person. I’ve witnessed many of my friends go down this route of codependency where they make their feelings of happiness, emotions, psychological well-being and life-satisfaction dependent on their partner.
These relationships exist when one or both partners carry a so-called ‘gap’ or ‘missing piece’ inside of them, that somehow doesn’t make them feel ‘complete’. If you can identify with this, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
When both partners have such feelings of incompleteness, they come together and find their ‘other half’ they give each other the necessary and needed closure and intimacy they require to feel a sense of completion.
These initial feelings of incompleteness are traceable to a lack of self-worth. Research over many years has shown that a lack in self-worth is also linked to greater relationship anxiety. A not so unusual, yet very destructive way to compensate for this anxiety is to begin to observe your partners behavior. I’ve heard stories of girls telling me they are secretly observing their boyfriends eyes wandering around a restaurant just to know if he is looking at another girl. Another good one I heard the other day, was that her boyfriend would actually get mad when he would see another dude calling her on the phone. I mean… seriously?
The problem with this is that we unconsciously begin to mistakenly interpret the situation. Based on this misinterpretation, we rapidly build irrational theories that explain us why our partner is behaving the way he does. At the end of the day, all this does, is shoot you into a state of complete anxiety and lower optimism for a future relationship with this person.
Another common strategy is using protection mechanisms by continuously telling yourself why you shouldn’t love him/her. This usually happens when we don’t have enough certainty that we can fall in love with someone and be loved back the same way.
People who are afraid of falling in love, in reality, are not afraid of falling in love. They are afraid of not being loved back.
Chances are fairly high, that if you know what I’m talking about right now, your relationship with whomever this has happened, has come to an end already.
Is Self-Love the Cure?
You and I would probably both agree that there is no ultimate cure to relationship problems, but that its rather a recipe made up of actions you take that will improve your relationship over time. And just like any cake recipe, self-love is the egg.
There is no doubt that greater self-love leads to greater feelings of self-worth and self-esteem. Studies suggest that couples who have higher self-esteem lead more passionate relationships. Reports also suggest that these couples, on average, take longer to fall in love with each other, and enjoy greater relationship satisfaction than those with low self-esteem.
Talking about lower self-esteem, research has also found that these couples experience more intensive feelings of lovesickness and fall in love quicker. Sounds too good to be true! Unfortunately, it is also suggested that as quickly as these couples fall in love, the relationship can end just as quick.
If you would like to know how to build your self-love, read this article.
From Self-love To Inspiration
Here is what I really think – I believe the true purpose of any relationship or marriage is the act of inspiring your partner to new ideas, ways of thinking, with the goal of making them a greater version of themselves. (Sidenote: And of course, to make kids).
But to truly inspire someone, we require more than just a good functioning relationship. We require self-love. With self-love, we don’t only gain clarity in what we want to become, but we also gain clarity in WHY we want to do the things we dream of. With self-love, we become experts at communicating this WHY. Knowing our WHY isn’t about an end-result. Knowing our WHY is about being crystal clear on our purpose and underlying reasons for doing the things we do.
Communicating our WHY to our partner, and inspiring them with our underlying purpose, is the single biggest gift you can give to another person. How can I say this? Inspiration is more than just motivation. Motivation is a push. But inspiration is a pull. Sparking an idea in someone’s mind that pulls them towards doing great things, simply is a blessing.
Motivation is a push. Inspiration is a pull.
Take-home message. Self-love is not narcissism. It is not selfish. But it is self-care. I have become a firm believer that if we want to maximize the odds of living a healthy, long-term and passionate relationship, we have to learn to control our impulses and not fully base our well-being on our partner. If we do, conflict arises quicker than we think. Be your own master and never forget that the greatest gift you have received, is you.
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