How can anyone love us if we cannot love ourselves? This question has been presented in a variety of ways across generations. Most often, it is posed within the context of intimate relationships. Regardless of whether we are referring to family ties, friendships, or romantic relationships, the theory holds true. In fact, the loving bond two adults share is often compromised when we don’t value our own needs and desires. But this claim is a paradox. Paul Brunson, an author and professional relationship expert says, “The quintessential measure of success of any true relationship is the amount of selflessness each party has contributed.”
So how can we be selfless and selfish at the same time? It all boils down to love. First we must love ourselves enough to realize that our needs do not always supersede those of others. When a mother loves her children, she is willing to sacrifice her time with those children so that they can find their own friends and develop their own interests. But it is only when she is secure enough in her role in the parent-child relationship that she can do this.
The same goes for intimate partners. When we truly understand what we need and want, we are able to communicate that to our partner in a respectful and honest way, free of fear and pride. It is only when we are open and honest with ourselves that we can expose ourselves to our partners. Discussing our feelings in this way allows our partner to better meet our needs and allows us an opportunity to hear what our partner needs and wants.
When partners permit themselves to be vulnerable, they tap into deep wells of intimacy and strengthen their bond with each other. The secret to fulfillment in life is to love ourselves. Being in love with someone else and having them love us back is just icing on the cake.
Senman, Suna. (2013). Love relationships are a pocket of peace. Huffington Post (n.d.): n. pag. Web. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suna-senman/romantic-relationships_b_3033576.html
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