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Why Is It Okay To Love Yourself First, And Your Partner Second

Why Is It Okay To Love Yourself First, And Your Partner Second

We all have our inner voices that are our daily companions. We all carry on an internal dialogue that constantly evaluates and analyzes our and other’s actions. And it is that inner voice that is an indicator of how we see ourselves and treat ourselves.

How My Inner Voice Affected My Life

For the longest time, my inner voice was an ugly bully that followed me everywhere. As a teen and young adult, I remember that I was living in the constant state of general anxiety. Even though I had people around me who loved me, I continued to feel unsafe and overwhelmed. And it was my inner bully that created these feelings in my life.

The bully would tell me things like “You are not good enough! You are not pretty enough! You shouldn’t be feeling this way or that way! Even though people tell you that they care about you, they don’t mean it. They are going to hurt you and leave you cause you are not good enough!”

Sounds horrible, right? I have to admit that I wasn’t even aware I had such an ugly companion for an inner voice. These thoughts would float into my mind automatically and leave me feeling miserable and exhausted.

Because of the inner bully, I couldn’t trust myself, and I felt anxious about making decisions. And I also couldn’t trust others, especially a person I was involved in a romantic relationship. I constantly doubted his interest in me, felt jealous and sought constant reassurance to ease my anxiety.

While his supportive words would help for a bit, they were never enough to quite my inner critic. Looking back, I can now see that there were three entities in my intimate relationship: my boyfriend, the bully and me.

It was a rotten triangle that caused much heartache. I became over-reliant on my boyfriend for his reassurance in many aspects of my life. And it felt my happiness utterly hanged on what he would say. This created an unhealthy relationship dynamic between us and placed an enormous burden on his shoulders.

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It is effortless to see the big picture from where I sit now, some 15 years older and with much life experience. But back then, I couldn’t tell you why I felt so insecure and miserable. As a result, I experienced this pattern and its full adverse effect in other relationships.

How Having a Healthy Relationship With Myself Has Changed My Life

Things began to change for me as I started to recognize the inner-bully voice, question it and foster a supportive voice instead. It was not an overnight success, but it worked!

As I began to talk to myself in an understanding and motivating way, I saw powerful changes. I was able to make decisions without panic. I could pay myself a compliment and see my strengths. I could be fully present with others and enjoy their company.

To summarize, I became a good friend to myself! It is from this place of friendship with myself that I was able to foster a secure relationship in my life with a significant other. In this new pattern, I didn’t feel overly dependent or too vulnerable; instead, I felt secure and safe.

As I underwent this makeover of my relationship with myself and helped others to do the same, I identified a few crucial steps necessary for success.

1. Become aware of your inner critic

It is time to find out what your inner voice sounds like and what it says to you on a daily basis. Without this awareness, we won’t be able to change your foe inner voice into a friend.

Does it inspire you or bring you down? Does it scare you or makes you feel confident? Does it tell you that you are worthy or does it tell you are looser?

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To help you build this awareness, I recommend checking out this Thinking Traps handout. These are common unrealistic ways of thinking that we all get caught up that leave us feeling inadequate. Find out which ones are a trap for you.

2. Challenge your inner critic and never let it beat you up

As you become more familiar about the nagging and bullying that your inner critic does, you can start to question it.

Just like a majority of people, I never questioned my inner critic and felt like it was right the entire time. But as I began to query, I realized that there was no evidence for any of the bully statements. The only evidence that supported it was my own belief. I chose to believe it blindly.

Luckily, I began to deconstruct this belief with some clever questions that my inner critic had no valid response.

Here are a few examples of questions that I used on my inner bully:

a. What is the evidence that supports this thought? And what is the evidence that doesn’t support it?

b. Is this a thought or a fact?

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c. Is my belief in this thought based on my feeling?

d. What would I say to a friend if he or she had this thought?

3. Recognize a feeling for what it is just a feeling

Mixing up a thought and a feeling is a great source of confusion for many of us. A feeling is usually something that we can describe with one word like anxious, uncomfortable, happy or sad. In contrast, a thought is usually our evaluation of an experience and is one or a few sentences long.

Your inner critic uses this confusion against you. As soon as you feel uncomfortable or anxious, the bully comes out and starts telling you that something is wrong with you. Where is, in reality, there isn’t anything wrong. It is ok to experience unpleasant feelings at times, and that doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong or that you are a bad person.

So one of your greatest defenses against your inner critic is to catch and highlight this for yourself.

You can raise your awareness by saying something like this “X has happened and now I feel anxious or sad. It is ok to experience this feeling, and it will pass. Just because I feel this way, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with me or my actions”.

I invite you to create your personalized mantra based on this sentence that you can use to uncouple your feeling from your negative interpretation of it.

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4. You need to build the relationship, it won’t happen instantly

It takes some time to put these critical elements to practice. You have probably been hearing your inner bully for over 10 or 20 years. The inner critic has had a lot of practice. So it will take some excersice for you to foster a supportive and empathetic inner voice.

As you follow these steps to complete a makeover for your relationship with yourself, you can also begin to enjoy numerous benefits in your intimate relationships.

You will foster these relationships now not our of need or anxiety, but out of desire and confidence.

Instead of being destructed by analyzing how you or others feel about you, you will begin to enjoy your moments with your significant other.

And instead of being plagued by doubt and jealousy, you will able to experience trust and safety in your relationship.

Please remember, that in the real authentic intimacy there is no room for bullies and harsh critics. It is time to become a true friend to yourself, so you can also be a friend to your partner.

More by this author

Viktoria Ivanova

Psychotherapist, Coach & Wisdom Seeker

An image displays a couple holding each other's fingers Why Is It Okay To Love Yourself First, And Your Partner Second

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Last Updated on October 30, 2020

How To Stop Being Lazy By Overcoming Your Biological Limitations

How To Stop Being Lazy By Overcoming Your Biological Limitations

Are you a lazy person?

Even if you think you’re a hardworking person, there must be some moments you feel lazy.

Let’s be honest.

Who wants to take a longer road if there is a shortcut? Who wants to do more than required if it makes no difference in the outcome? And not to mention the countless times we are just too lazy to go to gym or finish tasks way before the deadlines.

But why is being lazy inevitable for everyone?

Our Genes And Brains Are To Blame For Our Laziness

Couch Potato Gene Makes Us Lazy

Ever wondered why some people are enthusiastic about hitting the gym, while most of us prefer being couch potatoes? Actually, it’s determined by our genes.

A 2010 study[1] found that those who are reluctant to physical activity have the “couch potato gene”, which is a mutation of a normal gene that regulate activity levels.

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During the mutation, dopamine receptor in the normal gene which controls motivation and reward shrinks or even disappears. That’s why many of us cannot feel the pleasure from exercise as those fitness gurus do. And couch potato gene is inheritable. That means if you’re not fond of physical activity, your children are less likely to be athletic too.

Our Brains Save Energy By Being Lazy

Another biological limitation we commonly share is that our brains are wired to be lazy. Although our brains only make up for 2% of our body weight, it uses 20% of our daily energy intake. To make sure we’re not physically drained, most of the time our brains opted to switch off themselves. That’s why we tend to intellectually lazy and find deep thinking especially challenging to us.[2]

But More Often Than Not Laziness Is The Symptom of Unhealthy Mindsets And Behavior…

To put it simply, procrastination is another term for laziness. We put off things that are supposed to be done right now and let our future self to pay for the price. And it’s all about not having the right mindsets or behavior.[3]

Sometimes we are pessimistic and afraid of failure, so it’s better not to do anything. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the complexity and ambiguity of what we do and so we become paralyzed. Sometimes we fail to stay away from distractions. And sometimes we lack a clear goal so we easily become unmotivated. They happen from time to time.

Being Lazy Makes You Irresponsible For Your Life

Laziness is a boulder that blocks your way to personal growth and success. If you allow yourself to be lazy, you will keep making excuses for not fulfilling your responsibilities and realizing your dreams. Although you can be carefree at the present, your future self will suffer and have to pay the bill in the end. So laziness is an issue that everyone needs to tackle without delays.

Take a look at the below solutions to overcome laziness effortlessly:

Plan Your Time Well. Your Lazy Brain Does’t Like To Think.

The fact that our brains are wired to be lazy can’t be changed. The only way to trump your lazy brain is plan your time well so you don’t need too much of what to do.

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How? Have a to-do list? That’s the most typical way people do.

But a list by itself is useless. You should set clear time boxes on your schedule. This allows you to work on it within a given time without procrastinating. If you need to do grocery shopping once a week, set a time for it, for example, ‘Saturday, 1-3pm’. You might also schedule what to do with your free time as it might increase your quality of life.[4]

Have A Clear Goal Before You Do Anything

Perhaps lacking a clear goal is one of the reasons why you fail to perform well in a task.

The Goal Setting Theory of Motivation proposed by Edwin Locked tells us that goal setting is essentially linked to task performance.[5] He states that a specific, clear, realistic and challenging goal is what we need for any tasks. The specificity helps us to achieve a goal in a right direction and the challenge of it motivates us to achieve it.

Instead of saying ‘I want to write a book’, you should say ‘I want to write a 100,000-word science fiction within a year’. See the specificity? If you find it is too easy for you, then write more, or write on other topics. Always take the challenge.

Break Every Task Into Smaller Ones And Tackle Them One By One

When a task seems too big and you have no idea where to start with, you would probably put it aside and wait until the deadline.

Every task is made up of smaller components. Take writing an article as an example. You can divide the task into different small actionable items: researching for ideas, constructing the outline, writing the content, proofreading, and even more. Doing it step by step would make you feel that you have accomplished something and this motivates to do go on with the big task.

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Perfectionism Is A Trap. Don’t Fall Into It.

If you aim for perfection, it is very likely that you need to spend a lot of time to finish a task. It turns out that you complete a day’s worth of work in a week.

There is nothing wrong in striving for perfection. But you can do it wisely. Get things done first and then make tuning afterwards. Thus, you will have an overview of it and see how you can make the fine tuning to make it better. And stop spending too much time on details. The time you spent and the quality of your work might not always be directly proportional.

3 Books To Help You Stop Being Lazy And Get More Done

If you want some more concrete tips on how to overcome laziness, you can read these three books for more insights:

Get Stuff Done: How To Focus, Be More Productive, Overcome Procrastination, and Master Concentration

    Get Stuff Done teaches the one skill that makes the difference between achieving your goals and settling for mediocrity. It includes the two habits backed by science that boost productivity so dramatically that they add four HOURS worth of productivity to the average working day. A productivity hack shared by Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and Steve Job can also be found in the book.

    Procrastination Ends Now: 12 Secrets to Boost your Productivity, Increase Motivation and Develop New Habits in 21 Days

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      In this book, the author shows you how to overcome procrastination and replace the habit with productive actions step by step: accepting the fact that you procrastinate, knowing why you procrastinate, identifying the roots of procrastination, and identifying and dealing with fears that make you put off tasks over and over again.

      PROCRASTINATION: Let’s Do It Now! 10 Proven Ways to Achieve Your Goals

        Successful people plan and put in the work. The writer suggests 10 ways for you to turn your ideas into realities that you can see, touch, taste, smell, and hear. The tips in this book will help you successfully turn yourself into a goal crushing machine and say good-bye to procrastination permanently.

        Laziness is a sickness that can only be cured with the right medication. Say good-bye to it and gain more time.

        Reference

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