Your Relationship With You
From the minute we begin to notice our bodies in a different, more adult way, we learn about the buzz of attraction. And so starts the lifelong role of romantic love in our lives, which for many is not an easy journey. Watch movies, read books, talk with friends and it becomes obvious just how all consuming our search for love is.
Understandably so. Relationships are an opportunity to connect. Romantic love, specifically, enables us to bring forth our emotional, sexual, intellectual, spiritual and physical selves in space that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Of course we want that, right? Based on the words people say, one would think so. But what about when behavior says something all together different? When people choose relationships that are far from happy, healthy or fulfilling?
What is that?
Maybe it’s a fear of loneliness. Or fear of growing old alone. (I hear that one all the time.) Some see marriage as an economic pursuit. Others use the presence of another person to boost their self-esteem. Then there are those who are motivated by sheer ego and go after someone, for the sport of it, to win. And some would rather lose themselves in the identity of another person because it is simply easier (or so it seems) than doing the work involved in sorting out who they are for themselves.
On it’s face, the contradiction is glaring. We want love but pursue relationships that are based on anything but. The answer to this mystery has been circulated a million times: if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love someone else. True. But it’s more than that.
It’s about the relationship you have with yourself. There is a lot of talk out there about self-love and acceptance, the inner child and healing – all important, but different from learning how to be in relationship with you. Love is still. It is a state of being and feeling. It is warm and inside of us somewhere very deep.
Relationships on the other hand, require relating to, and interacting with, yourself or someone else. They are active and behavioral and when it comes to self-love, the two go hand-in-hand. One way to make this relationship real for yourself is to connect to your body because everything you know, feel and remember is somewhere in there, much of it unconscious, but in there nonetheless. How we treat our bodies therefore, tells us a lot about what kind of relationship we have with ourselves, and is also reflective of how we are apt to treat someone else.
If you don’t have a handle on what kind of relationship you have with your body, you can start by imagining it is another person. Or, go one step farther. If your body were a boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife, lover/significant other, how would you describe the relationship?
Are you kind and nurturing toward it, or do you abuse it. Do you respect it or discount its importance? Do you nourish it with healthy things or starve it of what it needs? Do you find it attractive? Do you love it or wish you could change it? Do you care whether it is happy? Do you treat it with respect? Do you take time to listen to it? Do you look for reasons to criticize it? Do you appreciate it? Do you like the way it feels?
Answers to questions like these are what define the quality of our relationships. Just replace “it” with him/her or he/she and see what I mean. Once you create this kind of relationship with yourself, the elusive concept of self-love suddenly becomes clear and you’re more ready than ever to enjoy a healthy, loving relationship with someone else.
It just takes little changes everyday. Perhaps you’ll smoke one less cigarette or cook a nutritious dinner instead of eating out. There are tons of things you can do to show your body, mind, heart, soul and spirit that you care about them. Touch base. Check in. See how you feel. Listen to your body, have a conversation with it, and in the process learn to enjoy the person you discover.
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