READ TIME: 10 minutes
Dear “I need to know myself,”
Relationships can be so difficult. No matter what type of relationship; a father and daughter, friendships, or in your circumstance, with your long-term committed partner. I too have cheated in the past, and I commend you on reestablishing your relationship and working through the broken trust, the betrayal and the hurt. That is no small feat. You faced shame, self-loathing and depression. You self-reflected and internalized and came to a realization that you still loved the man you hurt and then you stood vulnerable in front of him and asked for compassionate forgiveness.
I am sorry to hear this newly reignited relationship isn’t what you thought it would be. I’m sorry it’s causing you confusion and discomfort. Here are some things that I hope might bring you some relief:
This pain is temporary.
You don’t have to make any decisions today.
You had mentioned wanting to know yourself. That, if you did leave your partner, it was only to discover what you truly wanted and needed. I will say, with understanding love, that you can do this regardless of circumstance. Emotional work is similar to any other kind. As an example, my husband used to say, “If we had more light in this apartment, I’d be able to do more work.” “If we had thicker walls where I knew my music wouldn’t be heard by others, then I would practice more.” “If I just meditated regularly, went to yoga every day and ate a consistently healthy diet then I would feel more mindful.” Those are all very likely and accurate statements. However, we only have control over so much. Circumstances won’t always be perfect. That’s like saying that in order for a flower to grow, they require the perfect amount of water, sunshine, space and nutrient-rich soil. But sometimes, like in L.A., we see flowers sprouting from concrete!
Now, I’m not saying that you should stay in an unhappy relationship by any means. But I am giving you permission to look for opportunity for change exactly as you are now. Here’s a beginners guide to help you figure out what you might need to find balance in your life. And this balance might eventually help you discover who you are:
- Am I in a safe place to practice self-love? (Is this relationship healthy enough for you to stay and work on yourself?)
If you do not feel like you can take the time to practice self-love in this relationship, then you may need to take some solo time to learn to love yourself. Then try to figure out why and how you got into a relationship that didn’t place importance on self-love and personal growth.
- Back to the basics:
- Have I been drinking enough water?
- Have I been eating well?
- Do I get enough regular sleep?
- Have I done any form of exercise? (even a 10-minute walk a day)
- Do I get regular amounts of sunshine?
If you feel like you have not been taking care of these areas of your life, start slowly, and then monitor the progress.
- Below is a list of areas in personal life; what feels like it needs the most work?:
- Intellectual (am I learning, reading, expanding?)
- Mental (do I feel depressed, anxious, restless?)
- Emotional (have I felt erratic, chaotic, confused?)
- Physical (am I tired? Lonely? Does my body ache?)
- Spiritual (do I feel purposeless, aimless or stagnant?)
Each one of these areas is a key component to your self-love practice. Each one has a new and separate solutions and a variety of ways to access the answers. If anyone reading this wants to know the best way to answer some of these questions – please reach out and I’ll write a separate post on how I’ve trained myself to look intently and honestly at these aspects of my life to find a more comfortable daily balance.
- What do I like?
This is a very important step. Determining what you like, what you enjoy and how you can do more of it is crucial in understanding yourself. Do you like to bake? When was the last time you did that? Why has it been so long? Can you do more of it, and regularly?
- How can I communicate this to others/my partner?
It’s one thing to know that you are taking care of yourself, to know that each area of your person is supported and loved by YOU and that you are fulfilled in the things you enjoy doing in life – and it’s another to TELL someone all of this and see if they align with you. Being rigorously honest is not confrontation. Let me repeat that for the cheap seats:
BEING RIGOROUSLY HONEST IS NOT CONFRONTATION.
Sometimes I talk to friends and they are scared to tell their partners how they truly feel or what they truly want because they are afraid of their reaction. We have no control and no responsibility over other people’s reactions. It is, however, our responsibilities as partners and as humans to say what we want, what we like, what pleases us and displeases us and it is up to the other human on how they choose to respond to this. None of this has to be confrontational – we can be rigorously honest with love, compassion, kindness and empathy.
Once you meet yourself, it’s very easy to be honest with others. It’s usually in the “space in-between” when we feel like we are confrontational because we want to place blame on them for not telling us what we want. Or we are so confused with our own internal systems that we can’t tell someone else what’s going on because we have no idea what’s going on!
The 5 steps above can take time. It is a daily practice for me, but it took me months, if not years, to fully learn how to satisfy the various aspects of my personality. So be patient with yourself. Be gentle, kind and patient. No one really teaches you how to love yourself – unless you had kick-ass parents! Most of us are just clumsily trying to figure it out on our own. But, in my life, the best way for me to learn who I was – was by looking at myself openly, honestly, raw, and real. The shiny spots and the dark spots. The kitty-shelter volunteer and the girl who had an affair with a married man. The liar and the granddaughter that called her grandpa every Sunday for a year when he was depressed and lonely. No one is perfect. We all have done something that we tragically wish we hadn’t – but I do not regret any step I’ve made on my path because it brought me closer to myself, closer to my universal architect and closer to you. I’m more human and more myself today than I was yesterday.
I hope you find this helpful in getting to know yourself, loving yourself and being able to communicate more lovingly and authentically with your partner. Thank you for opening up to me and trusting me. You are so loved.