An Amazing Shift That Helps Relationships

November 9, 2011 by  
Filed under current, Relationship Space

One of the things that I find really irritating in personal development is that much-bandied concept that you can’t love someone else if you don’t love yourself.  Anyone else struggle to own that, or truly believe it?

I agree that you need reserves of love to be able to share them.  In fact, I often write about how to top up that love tank.

But I know too many people, (alright yes me included) who find themselves wanting on the self-love scale, but can successfully and compassionately love others.  So I think the whole “must love me, to be able to love others” is a load of crap!

Dreams of A Better Me

Having confessed to not being so fantastic on the self-love scale I might as well also confess that for years I’ve dreamt of a “new me”.

Now I don’t mean I’ve fantasised about how my body could look different.  (Though if anyone’s got any magic wands for that, then please contact me urgently.)

It’s more that I’ve wanted to tweak “me” on the inside.  (No, I don’t want you to pass me the All-Bran! )

What I’m talking about is having a mind that is less filled with negative chatter, self-doubt, and crappy self-belief.  Yeah I can BS with the best of them, but like all of us, I’m riddled with neuroses!  The BS is there to keep anyone from guessing just how MANY neuroses.

Is Self-Acceptance All That is Needed ?

Really it’s self-acceptance that has been my search.

You see, even though my beloved SweetP loves me with all my flaws, I’ve really struggled to love myself.  I can love him and my family and friends with compassion and care, but fail abysmally when it comes to applying the same principles to me.

So when, some years ago, I found Jon Kabat-Zinn talking about mindfulness, I became intrigued.  Along the way I’ve picked up bits and pieces of interest.  It made good sense and I’ve encouraged others along its path, but all the while still holding onto a different belief about me.  “This is how I’m made and I’m just a disgracefully flawed human being who doesn’t deserve anything better than what I get. Now where’s my martyr’s whip?”

The Slap

One recent Googling session, I ordered a book and accompanying CD of mindfulness exercises and meditations.  The book was called The Reality Slap by Aussie GP/Psychologist and ACT therapist (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) Dr Russ Harris.

I haven’t finished it yet, because I’m absorbing it mindfully, in slow, tasty, seductive morsels. That’s quite unlike the way I hoover up books (and food for that matter) at a rate that would leave others breathless.

At the same time, I was lucky enough to grab one of Karen Wallace’s Nourish You spots. While it was breathtakingly hard to take up some of the challenges she ever-so-gently propped in front of us, the timing was perfect.

And something has happened.

The Evil Twin

I have begun to actually believe in my heart, (not just in my logical bits) that it’s within my power to squash my Evil Twin, Little Ms Nazi, that highly critical voice in my head, when she comes ripping into me with all her despicable, lacerating opinions of me.

She keeps coming back, and always will, but belief in my self has risen. Self-compassion is easier to access, and I’m making decisions that accept me kindly and push me/pull me more firmly along my chosen paths. All this from being more aware, making choices, and saying yes to things rather than believing Little Ms Nazi. It’s as simple and complex as that.

What does my little story have to do with Relationship Space?

Well it’s about turning up in your relationship as the best human you can be at this time.  And it’s also about wanting that for your partner.  That might mean allowing them the head and heart space to do the work they need to do to be that human being.  It’s an endless quest, but both the giving and receiving of that space is one of the most precious gifts you can bring to your love.

I’ve begun to discover that my fears are one of my greatest sources of strength.

Turning to face my fear, I meet the warrior within.

~Jennifer Paine Welwood

About Our Relationship Space Author

Either from our own experience or from observation of friends and family, we all know how extraordinarily painful marriage breakdown can be.

Chris Owen of Pink Apple is a Melbourne-based Relationship Coach.

Chris helps couples who lie awake after a fight worrying that their second marriage might fall apart like their first did. With new knowledge about themselves, and structured training in effective communications, they can be confident that they won’t be repeating old destructive relationship patterns.

You can subscribe to Chris’s many shared resources on Facebook here.


4 Responses to “An Amazing Shift That Helps Relationships”
  1. Wow, that is really powerful sharing, Chris. You have me wanting to spend time absorbing another of Dr Russ Harris’ books, The Happiness Trap, which happens to sit unread on my bookshelf. And I’ll do it “mindfully, in slow, tasty, seductive morsels” to get the best out of it. I’m off to hand up the Do Not Disturb sign and read in the middle of the day – how decadent!

  2. Chris Owen says:

    Thanks Angela.

    The Happiness trap will follow the Reality Slap! And having just walked in drained after a somewhat emotionally trying day, I think I might join you and be decadent too!

    But it’ll be preceded by some time focusing on bringing me away from those draining experiences and back into the present with some simple breathing – after all that’s what mindfulness is!

  3. Anne Maybus says:

    That’s a very insightful post, Chris. I love the way you write. I learn so much from your sharing. xx