Your Relationships: Starting With Yourself

You can blame the people around you for the problems in your relationships or even your lack of a relationship. It’s easy, and it might make you feel better for a little while. But it takes more than one person to be in a relationship. And guess who the other person involved is? You.
That’s why when it’s time to actually make progress in your relationships and move forward, it’s best to start with yourself and acknowledge your role in the whole shebang. Now I’m not saying other people haven’t done bad, horrible, or disruptive things, but if you’re trying to take charge of your life,  you need to start with you.
Relationship Problems
Maybe you’ll ultimately decide a relationship isn’t worth saving, or you’ll admit defeat when the other person involved doesn’t want to make the effort. Or maybe you’ll decide on a whole different course of action to find contentment. Regardless of the ultimate outcome, the changes you make to yourself and your role in your relationships will help you in the future. You’ll be stronger, more confident and capable. So look within.
OK, easy to say. But what does that mean?
  1. The first step is to stop assigning blame. Even if the initial break or current problem in a relationship was started by someone else, your reaction played just as much of a role in what resulted. And if you’ve decided that the relationship is worth salvaging, you need to adjust your reaction. Instead of just blaming the other person, think about what role you may have played.
  2. Make the first move. Don’t expect someone to make it for you. Be the bigger person and take that step. It may mean swallowing a little bit of pride, but it will also give you some control, too.
  3. Acknowledge your role — to the other person or people. Again, swallow your pride and accept some of the responsibility. Even if you’ve already admitted to yourself that you were part of it, saying it out loud will prove you’re serious.
  4. Start a dialogue. Open the lines of communication so you can really get somewhere in mending your relationship.

Ideally the person you’re communicating with will also acknowledge his or her role, and the relationship will be back on firmer footing. But let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. The other people may not be willing to acknowledge their role in the problem. Keep trying. Anything worth having is worth fighting for.

Lack of a Relationship
Ever hear the phrase “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself”? Yes, it’s hard finding Mr. or Miss Right. Slim pickings and all that. But before you can even be in a relationship, you need to be ready. Are you happy with yourself? Do you like yourself? Do you consider yourself a worthwhile human being?

If your answer to any of those questions was “no,” then you’ve got to take care of that before you can start looking for your missing half. If you don’t consider yourself worthwhile, why should he or she?

Now if you truly have difficulty accepting your worth, then there are tons of books out there that can help you. I encourage you to pick some up and spend some time reading. I’m no expert on the human psyche. I just know that you are a worthwhile human being. You have a unique personality, and skills that are truly yours. No one else can be you. Isn’t that great? Rather than shy away from your unique traits, embrace them. Be you!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Make a list of what you love about yourself
  • Make a list of areas in which you excel
  • Determine your favorites: part of your body, personality quirk, thing that makes you unique
  • Think about why you’re not happy with yourself — then find reasons they’re all lies

If there really is something you have a problem with, do something about it. A little overweight? Take charge and come up with a diet and exercise plan. Feel stupid? Read newspapers, magazines, websites, until you feel comfortable making small talk. Too shy? Put yourself out there: smile to strangers, chat with cashiers, call your friends.

It may feel awkward in the beginning, but once you’re comfortable in your own skin, then you can look outward. As your confidence builds, you can feel more comfortable making the first move, putting yourself out there, and being yourself on those ever-important dates. After all, being you is pretty great. And you should want to let everyone know it.

At the same time, make sure that what you’re talking about isn’t all about you. Just as a lack of confidence can discourage potential mates, so can an egotistical streak. Relationships are a two-way street, so make sure you balance you with the person you’re with. Don’t just talk about yourself. And don’t disregard his or her feelings. Reflect your personality, and let your date reflect his or her personality as well.

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