Rewarding Relationships Come from Investing in Yourself First

Man hugging selfHow 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.

Reference:
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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  • W F M

    W F M

    April 29th, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    This is just SO SO true! it may seem simple but dig a little deeper and not many people love themselves. they are just getting by with themselves but are unwilling to make a change. I was like that earlier too. an unfortunate event is what taught me this lesson. but anyway it’s all good now and yes it is a joy to love yourself. there is no limit to it and it is a great feeling.

  • harold257

    harold257

    April 29th, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    no matter what you do or how much for a relationship. unless the other person is equally invested you will end up hurt. not to discourage but this is true. put in all your energy and you can be hurt if the other person wants to hurt. it is about givin up yourself but with care. it is about icing importance to the other person but with caution.

  • StacyL

    StacyL

    April 30th, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    And this is the missing piece of the puzzle that we too often ignore.
    I know that I have been this way and still have friends who spend so much time investing in someone else and trying to make him happy that they forget that they key is actually to make yourself happy first.
    I think that especially for a lot of women this somehow gets lost along the way- we forget the importance of nurturing ourself. And you are right- if we don’t love ourselves, then how is it even possible for someone elese to give this to us?

  • Sally

    Sally

    May 7th, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    We must learn to love ourselves first in order to have the ability to love others. If not, we find ourselves seeking fulfillment from others in relationships because we don’t feel complete in ourselves. It’s important to remember that we cannot give or receive the love we desire without first loving who we are. All too often in private practice I see couples who enter counseling and have done nothing more but exchange their “baggage” with each other in the hopes the other partner will “fix them” or “rescue and caretake” their needs. Seeking mental health counseling is a great way to identify patterns of low self esteem, learning who you are and striving to become healthier so in return you can learn to love openly without strings attached and the need for others to validate you.

  • AlexF

    AlexF

    January 31st, 2019 at 5:11 AM

    Ok, I’ve read the text and comments and that’s a common mistake all messed up. 1st of all the affirmative that we have to love us first to able to love another makes non-sense at all and that’s a fact. This for the simple fact that it is very to love your own self and always do things that just agree with you and/or what you want, your wishes etc. Way too much people typing about matters they know nothing about. Opinion is particular and doesnt necessarily tell you the facts. Now, if you’re able to love someone, even when it is not all you want and wish (without extremes of course) then you’re gonna be able to love yourself better, even when you commit mistakes, which we all can do. That’s the real stuff, in other words, it’s the other way around. Cos’ if you cannot accept your mistakes, see them, accept them and forgive em you want be able to really love yourself. So extend your love to others first, then you’re gonna be able to love yourself. About rewarding relationships it is another different matter. You can love someone and this person may also love you back in his or her way but that doesnt mean the relationship will be rewarding. Not at all. The rewarding aspect has to deal to make you and/or the other person feel good about it. Rewarding relationship and love are 2 separated things. I dunno who typed the text above and we can see lots of this sort of think online and around our lives which doesnt make it the truth about it. So I’m sorry, sincerly, but that’s all wrong and as long as you all think this way things are going to still go wrong to you and it doesnt matter if you agree or not that’s the fact. Now, if you wanna fool yourself to feel beter, beleive what you will, cos’ that’s what you’re actually doing.

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