“Balance is not letting anyone else love you less than you love yourself.”
In this second article this week about balance and relationships, I wanted to consider the relationship between self-love, and the ability to take in love from another.
We have an expectation that in relationship the other will love us, unreservedly and without condition. That they will be there, offering support and loyalty, that they will have our back. We speak of standing facing life and the world together, as a unit.
A significant issue that comes up again and again in the therapy room is these concepts of love, but not in terms of what is received from another. Far more often, people come to work with the love they are, or are not, able to offer to themselves. Let’s rephrase the above paragraph from this perspective.
“I have an expectation that in relationship I will love myself, unreservedly and without condition. That I will be here, offering myself support and loyalty, that I will have my back. I will stand facing life and the world, supporting myself fully.”
What impact does that have for you as you read it? Are you there for yourself? Do you love yourself unreservedly? Are you loyal to yourself? Do you support yourself inside?
If not, you are not alone. It is common for people to be their own worst critic, to undermine themselves, to query how deserving of love they are, to be disloyal rather than honouring.
Loving yourself is not about being blind to your faults, or excusing yourself when you act unwisely or unkindly. It’s about recognising your whole self, warts and all, and compassionately finding ways to be honest with yourself, to learn, and to grow. It’s about being in an active relationship with yourself in which you consider your needs and make sure you meet them, both yourself, and within the network of people who lovingly surround you.
It is hard for someone else to love us fully, if we do not fully love ourself How do you take in love that you are not able to give to yourself? It is far easier for us to be in relationship with someone who is not able to love, and who even may be unkind or abusive if we do not feel loving to our self..
Balance is indeed about not letting others love us less than fully. The remedy, really, lies in finding the capacity for love and respect inside. When we love our-self fully, it is not possible for another to stay in relationship with us giving us less than we give them or we deserve. We simply will not allow it to endure.
If self-love and kindness inside is something you find challenging, psychotherapy may be useful. Get in touch if you would like to find out more about the options for online psychotherapy currently.