Which is more important loving yourself or loving others? That should cause some discussion. I think the other question is “Where does self-love start and does one need to love themselves to be able to love others in a healthy way?”
Love starts when we are infants. How we are raised and what messages we are given about ourselves has a profound affect on how we view ourselves and if we have a good self-esteem and if we truly love who we are. Our life experiences outside of our home also plays a part in how we feel about ourselves. This affects our relationships. How we feel about ourselves will affect our choice of partners and friends, etc. It will color our view of relationships. If you did not have an optimal childhood there are ways to work through all of this and have a healthy relationship. Being with a healthy person in your relationship can help with some of the reparative work.
To sum up some of the main ideas on the issue of self-love and love of others:
- Love starts with loving yourself. If you question whether you love yourself or even like yourself, then it is time to look at this and begin a love affair with yourself. This is something that cannot be taken away from you. It is the ultimate gift we can give our self. When we feel good about ourselves just the way we are. it opens up this wonderful space to be really HAPPY. If you have had a difficult childhood, this may mean getting some help to work through this. But it can be done.
- If you want others to show their love to you, starting with showing your love is a good way to get this two-way flow going. When we are open with our love and support for our loved ones, then this tends to flow back to us. If it is not flowing back, then it is ok to let folks know what you need. This may be different for different folks. Many of you are probably familiar with the Five Love Languages. The basic premise is that we have a dominant preference for what makes us feel loved. For some it may be receiving gifts. Others it may be acknowledgement and praise. For some it might be acts of service (ex. helping). Then there are those that feel loved most when they are physically touched. Some thrive on quality time. And then lastly, it may be that you are multi-faceted, like me – I like all of these! The main point of all of this is that we can lovingly and respectfully tell our loved ones what we need.
- Back to loving yourself. This is where it starts and ends. You must love yourself just as you are unconditionally to feel good about yourself. Plus. if for some reason others are not giving you the love you need you can not only communicate your needs, but you can have the basic foundation piece in place “LOVING YOURSELF” which will always serve you well. You might be wondering what does this really mean, loving yourself? For me loving my self is to live authentically, choosing my work and activities to match up with what I am passionate about and what I believe in. And it means good self-care along with caring about my happiness and those I love. You will have your own definition that fits for you.
Loving “from the inside out” is loving yourself first, thus allowing your love to then be given to others in a healthy way. Remember you are unique and lovable just the way you are!
There is a lot of talk today about living “in the moment”. And on the other end of the spectrum we hear a lot about “setting a vision” or a goal to keep us going where we want to go. So which is it? In the moment or creating a vision? I say both!
As this blog is focused on relationships, I will use relationships as the base to work around for discussing this balancing act of “living in the moment” and “creating a vision” for what we want. And I do think it is a real balancing act and that it will probably look a bit different for each couple or family. I do think that we all struggle with this question or opposing viewpoint on how we live our lives. So how can we have both in our relationships? Let’s first look at the two, at first look, very different philosophies of how we live our lives and relate to our loved ones. And then how we might possibly combine these two different ideas.
What does “in the moment” really mean??? Well, most feel this is living fully within the place and time you are given. Really being “in the present” and not focusing on the past or the future. Concentrating on the time and place you are in and who you are with and the gift of the interaction between the two of you. It is a lovely thought and can have a very freeing feeling to only be in the here and now and really focusing on your loved one.
Then there is the “vision makers”. Those who want to create visions and goals. There are some differences here I suppose as to visions and goals and how folks define these words. This may look very different for different folks. But my version would be creating visions or goals that are what we feel would most fit our lives and in this case fit our relationships. For example: the vision of what you want your relationship to look like and concretely making that happen to the best of your ability.
So can we have both, I say yes we can. We can create visions and goals for our relationships and work to make them happen. Of course, jointly deciding what we both want and creating a “joint vision” is the most healthy and satisfying for both people in the relationship. Then within that framework we fully enjoy the moments we have with each other and we take the time to really “be with” the ones we love. Basically, I am suggesting we CHOOSE to jointly “create a vision” of what we both want for our relationship and we go for it, meaning we pull out all the stops to make that happen. And we enjoy this wonderful ride with each other. Yes there will be bumps along the way, but we have each other to hang onto! Here is the to wonderful roller coaster of life. Enjoy!
As we are in the heart of the growing season, I cannot help but think about our own growth as a couple. Sometimes I have couples in my office who feel they have no common interests or that they do not do anything together. There are lots of reasons for this of course. If a couple has children they may feel they do not have time to do things as a couple or for that matter, as an individual. Or it may be that a couple has drifted away from doing things together as they did when they were dating or before they got married.
Regardless of the reasons, my feeling is that “Couples who Play Together, Stay Together.” So lets look at some WAYS TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT CAN CREATE SOME NEW GROWTH & CONNECTION.
- Really being together is more that about being in the same place. It is about REALLY BEING THERE emotionally and connecting.
- If you are a parent, take time as a couple to be together by your selves. It is important. You can remember you are being a good model for your children in showing them how to keep a relationship strong.
- Put the PLAY back in your relationship. Think back to when you were dating. My guess is you were more light-hearted and playful. I do know that our adult lives can be challenging and are full of responsibilities, but taking time to play and be with the one we love will keep us strong and healthy to be the responsible adults we need to be and fulfill our life purpose.
- Create a new hobby or interest you both can pursue. It may be dancing, biking, taking cooking classes together, etc.
- Revive an old passion you both had in the past. It could be bowling or antiquing together. Whatever you both enjoyed in the past and has gotten buried a bit.
- Remember too there is more than one way to play together. It may be an activity or a hobby. But it may also be relaxing and bantering back and forth. It may be sexual intimacy. Or it may be “playful” dialogue with each other.
So much of this is about making the time for each other. And then committing to having some fun together. So go play and have a good time. And remember, “Couples Who Play Together, Stay Together.” ♥♥
Red Bud Valley
I saw the first red bud trees beginning to blossom last week. And I thought . . . I know what I am going to recommend as a couple activity for this coming week. Last year I had an opportunity to experience RED BUD VALLEY for the first time. It was much more of a hike than I thought it would be. This year I took the other trail and found it more level and possibly better for those not used to hiking. Regardless of which trail you take, you will be able to experience four different eco systems. Spending time in a nature preserve with your honey is close to heaven. Just glorious nature and you and your loved one. No hurry, no distractions. Just remember to turn your cells on silence, so you can really be with your partner in this special place. Nature has a calming influence on us so it makes for a good place to connect and just “be” with each other. I would suggest you allow at least 2 hours if you want to stop and really experience the preserve at a leisurely pace. The next week or two the area will have the red buds in boom. I might note red buds are not particularly prolific in the preserve, but the lands around the area. But regardless of redbuds or not, it is a lovely area to explore with your partner.
I would suggest that you look at their website before you make the trip. Redbud Valley is managed by the Oxley Nature Center, but not at the same location. Red Bud Valley is roughly 3.5 miles north of 1-44 on 161st E. Ave. in the Catoosa area. More detailed directions are on their website www.oxleynaturecenter.org/redbud.htm . For general information you can call 918-669-6644. According to their website they are open Wednesday – Sunday from 8:00 – 5:00 pm. The visitor center is open from 11:00 – 3:00. They are closed on holidays. NO ENTRANCE FEE. This could also be a family activity, but I would not recommend this for preschoolers or very young elementary children due to the nature of the trails. Here is to a lovely walk in nature with your honey!