What do we all want from our relationships? We are all so unique, but I see a pattern in my coaching practice, when I’m speaking to friends and anytime I have deeper conversations with people. There are three common threads that I see many us wanting in relationships, including the one we have with ourselves.
1. To Be Seen – For who we authentically are.
2. To Be Acknowledged – I see you, I respect you, I hear you, I love you.
3. To Be Accepted – For all parts of what makes us US, but also for our differing beliefs, values and personality.
What I see often in relationships is that we are asking for what we are not giving to ourselves, or what we are not giving to others. In our Relationship Mastery workshop, my co-facilitator, Jolene Watson said, “stop asking for things you are not willing to give. You have to BE it to receive it.” That one really stuck with me, and became a great question I could ask myself when I feel like I’m getting something from a relationship. I simply ask, “Am I giving that to them and am I giving that to myself?”
If you are asking to be seen for who you are, are you seeing them for who they are, or are you trying to change them?
If you are asking to be acknowledged (loved and heard), are you listening, hearing and loving them?
If you are asking to be accepted, are you accepting them, or trying to get them to conform to your beliefs, values and personality?
To be seen, acknowledged, and accepted from others, we have to see, acknowledge and accept them, and also ourselves. When we can do this for others, receive it from others, and most importantly receive it from ourselves, our self-worth is no longer tied to any other relationship, except for the one that we have with ourselves – which is the most important of relationships we will ever have.
Be it for YOU first.
For a relationship to thrive, one thing has to happen above all others – Self-love. If you don’t see, acknowledge and accept yourself, how are you going to accept someone else’s love? And how will you be able to see, acknowledge and accept others? If you can’t even take a compliment, or have a door held for you, or look at yourself in the mirror without self-judgment, or feel worthy without conditions, or love without conditions, you have to do the inner work because you will never feel completely worthy of the love. A part of this inner work is opening our minds and hearts to understanding that other people are different as well.
We cannot bypass the inner work. Self-love, self-acceptance, self-awareness, self-acknowledgment is code red critical!
I’ve been with my husband since 2002, and married since 2007. It has definitely not been the perfect relationship, no relationship is. But it should never be about choosing the perfect one; it should be about choosing the right one. Before we got engaged, I didn’t have self-love, self-acceptance, self-awareness, or self-acknowledgment. This kept him at arms length all the time because it was such a push away energy. Because I didn’t have this for myself, I was tying my worth up in him, my ego was involved, saying, “pick me, choose me, marry me, see me, acknowledge me, don’t do anything without me.” The more I tried to pull him towards me with this energy, the more he pushed away. Can you blame him?
All of that pushing and pulling, and negative energy almost separated us. So in 2005, I decided to work on loving myself, seeing myself, accepting myself and acknowledging myself. As I worked on my own healing, doing the inner work, I realized something amazing, I didn’t need him anymore, I wanted him, I chose him. Which has a completely different energy. This energy says, “I’m confident, I’m loving, I’m me in all my perfectly imperfect glory.” My self-worth was no longer tied into him. I didn’t need him to “pick” me to feel good enough. I was good enough…period. I of course wanted him to see, accept and acknowledge me, but it didn’t matter as much anymore because I was giving myself all of those things. I felt it fully and completely and so did he.
And because I felt it within myself, I was able to give it to him, and he to me.
You don’t need anyone else to validate your worth. Your self-worth is not tied to anyone or anything externally. Forget about other people liking you, do you like you and do you like them? You are good enough just because you are you.
Begin by giving yourself what you want from the relationships, giving it to others, not asking for what you are not willing to give others or yourself, and you will see massive shifts, not just in your relationships, but also in your entire life.