“If you’re a couples’ therapist, why do you focus so much on self-care?” I am asked this question all the time. My answer is: the most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves. The way we take care of ourselves greatly impacts the way we are able to show up for others. If we are not loving ourselves, how can we expect love from a partner?
We are socialized to believe that our partner, spouse, wife, husband, will be the one who completes us. So we knowingly exist in the world incomplete until we find one who we deem capable and able to complete us. Why would we want something so important; feeling complete and whole to be left in the hands of another person? How do we even know that another person can complete us? Most of the time, we have not done the work, with ourselves, to know what being complete looks or feels like. The truest way to feel full and whole is to create that feeling for yourself. This will also ensure sustainability and consistency. Here is where self-care comes in. In my opinion, self-care is self-love in action.
Each deposit that you make into your love tank through self-care is one more deposit toward feeling complete and full. As you go out into the world as an individual with a full cup, you are more likely to attract people who are also full. When you are empty and have not put your self-care and self-love first, you are more likely to attract someone who reflects that. How can we expect someone who is not fully loving themselves, to fill and love you? This is why self-care is so vital especially in couples work.
When couples find their way to my office, the root of many of their challenges is that they have completely ignored themselves, the individual, for the sake of their partner and the relationship. It can be challenging to rewrite narratives that teach us to put our partner and the relationship before ourselves. Making consistent deposits into you, independent of your partner, is the best way to ensure that you have all you need and are walking in love. This may not sound romantic, especially, when we are taught to look for the knight in shining armor who was put on this planet to save us and complete us. At the end of a long day, what we want is for our partner to pour into us. It is presumptuous to think that he or she has not also had a long day and may not be in the space to pour into you.
Self-care sometimes involves letting go of your ego and allowing yourself the space to love on you which then allows you to give to your partner and others from the over flow. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? That you and your partner are so full of self-love that you can give to each other from the juicy overflow? How do you do that? Self-care!! Self-care is not always about taking a trip, or joining a yoga retreat. It is the small, loving things you can do for you on a consistent basis so that your tank never gets empty. What a world it would be if we all walked around with completely full love tanks, that we filled ourselves, without relying on someone else. It’s empowering. You have the power to create and attract the love you want, and it starts with you! That is why self-care is so important in relationships and why it is the cornerstone of the work I do with couples.
Love and light,