How fiercely have you loved in your life? What would you do for love? Would you move heaven and earth to look after your beloved? Does that same love apply to how you feel about yourself? What happens when you love your partner more than you love yourself?
I can’t speak for every situation but I can certainly speak for myself. Those who knew me many moons ago may say that they actually couldn’t imagine me loving anyone else more than I love myself. I used to walk around with a certain self confidence and arrogance that I’m sure left some people thinking that I was pretty damn happy with myself, or at least that’s what I wanted people to think. I had no real concept of how little love I had for myself. At that stage in life self love was something I didn’t understand….sure I had heard the saying you need to learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else but I never stopped to consider that my behaviour and emotions had little to do with actual circumstances and a lot to do with how I felt about myself.
We all remember the line for Jerry Mcguire “you complete me”. When I wasn’t good with myself and found myself in that happy honey moon phase I did start to think that all these gaps in my life are getting filled by this amazing human. I remember feeling better about myself from being with him. I was a nicer person to be around and my life made more sense to me. And all of that would have been fine if I was coming from a good place but the problem with thinking like that when you’re not good with yourself is that it creates dependence and attachment. When you start needing you partner to be for you what you should be for yourself it can get very ugly.
I started to look to him for my happiness all the time and over time I needed him to be more and more for me. My identity became his girlfriend there wasn’t much that I ever did for me. I completely willingly lost my sense of self. All the things I do for myself now; running, yoga, meditation, massages and other pampering just slowly stopped happening. And it wasn’t that he didn’t want me to do these things, he even bought me a yoga mat and dvd to help encourge me back into yoga (funny how the universe has this way of throwing you little clues about where you should be). But the more dependant I got the more I lost my confidence, I wouldn’t even go to a yoga class, I’d think about it all the time and then get to so stressed and anxious about going on my own that I’d just drop the whole idea.
Feeling stressed and anxious by the smallest things was nothing new for me at that time, it was something that I had struggled with for years and had often managed to hide from people by avoiding situations or getting defensive and picking fights with people to mask my discomfort. As time went on and my neediness got worse I probably hit my all time worst random anxiety moment, we were going to hire bikes to go for ride and it started happening I couldn’t even tell you exactly what set me off but part of my brain just started to say no don’t do this and rather than being honest (people who don’t love themselves aren’t very big on honesty or vulnerability) and explaining what was going on in my head I decided to start a fight at the bike hire place and declared that I didn’t want to go riding anymore like a small child would, initially he was calm asking what do you mean….this is going to be fun…you were looking forward to this. That was until he realised that he was talking to a little brick wall that had made up her mind and would not listen to sense and he simply told me to stop it and turn away from me and then it was water works. Crying in the middle of this shop and not even knowing why I was so upset was scary, I could see how much I was frustrating him but I still couldn’t bring myself to be honest. Being honest with him meant being honest with myself and admitting that it was a problem that I needed to deal with.
I think back to one conversation we had a few months out from us going our separate ways a lot. I think about it a lot because my response and in action baffles me. We were both in tears, things were just not working and he said to me I just can’t make you happy, everything I do is not enough and my response was I can’t make me happy too. It blows my mind that my only response would be “me too” and that after that conversation I did not change one solitary thing, I just put my head in the sand and let it get worse.
When this particular relationship ended a good friend a good friend gave me the relationship advice I have ever been given he told me to spend some time on my own and mend my relationship with myself. Mending my relationship with myself has been the greatest thing I’ve ever done for myself.