I have a problem; I peddle a product very few people are interested in buying.
They need it but they don’t want it.
That product is self-love.
What they want is to be loved by other people. So I am always looking for ways to help them see that what they need (self-love) will give them what the want – the love of others, amongst other things.
So you can imagine my delight when I came across an article by Dr. Margaret Paul who has been a relationship counsellor for over 40 years! She says “there is one major cause of relationship problems—one issue that if you address and heal, changes everything – self-abandonment.”
When you abandon yourself you automatically make your partner responsible for you. Once you make another person responsible for your feelings of self-worth and wellbeing, then you attempt to manipulate that person into loving you, approving of you and giving you what you want. The controlling behaviour that results from self-abandonment creates huge relationship problems.
I like to play a little trick on my clients. I ask them to write the names of the 3 people they love the most. I then tell them that if they, themselves are not on the list then chances are they are holding the people on the list hostage as their source of love. That’s essentially what Dr. Paul is saying. Self-abandonment results in relationship conflict due to power struggles, or distance and disconnection.
She talks about 6 ways that people tend to abandon themselves in relationships:
- physically, – not caring for your body
- spiritually, – looking to your partner for meaning
- financially, – looking to your partner for money
- relationally – not standing up for yourself
- organizationally – looking to your partner to run your life
We will elaborate on some of these as the month goes by. For today, I’d like you to start this Self-Love adventure by making a commitment to nurture genuine love for yourself this month.
Notice the feelings and thoughts this commitment evokes. Set an intention to take at least one step everyday to cultivate self-love. Write it down and publicise it by telling at least one person about it or posting it where it can be seen. We are more likely to stick to commitments that are witnessed by others.
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