CJ Martes: Articles
Cultivating Self-Love for Deeper, More Meaningful Relationships
Why are relationships so vastly important to us? Sometimes we seek to become partnered with another in order to feel better about ourselves sometimes but that can lead to disappointment.

February 10th 2012 - It’s the time of year when we focus on relationships. I looked at my marriage that has survived so much in 15 years and wanted everyone to be this lucky. My husband and I often admit our wish that more people would have what we do. Of course somehow distilling everything we’d tried over the past 15 years was a little overwhelming.

So I tuned into all of all of you out there in the world. I saw some in relationships, others single but happy, and unhappy singles with the consumerism of the holiday in their face reminding every day that they don’t have a special someone to share it with. Then it really hit me what I wanted to focus on. Why are relationships so pivotal in our lives? What do we search for and why?

I think it’s important to know what we are looking for outside ourselves which applies to everyone, whether you are in an existing relationship to celebrate this Valentines’ Day or not.

What does being loved by another represent to us as human beings?
• Validation-If someone loves us, then we must be worthy of it.
• Connection to the Divine-in our lives we feel separated and disconnected from source. The love of another gives us a comfortable feeling of being home again.
• Importance-If another loves me then I am an important person with value.
• Wholeness-Life challenges can create holes in ourselves that we feel another can fill up for us.
• Retribution-Having another in our lives to focus our attention on can somehow make up for things we feel guilty about in our past.

Of course, if we are validated by ourselves, trust our divine connection, feel we already have value, feel whole already or forgive ourselves for things we don’t feel we did very well, then we have a deep self-love. Essentially our bucket is full of love that can be shared with others in balance.

If we don’t have those qualities present within ourselves, this can lead to dysfunctions in our relationships with others. This is because we are trying to make another responsible for these basic needs. We all do this at times without realizing it.

Then what happens if we make someone else like a partner responsible for our happiness? We become disappointed, upset, hurt and angry. If you look at conflicts in your current or previous relationships, you will see that most come from another person wanting validation and not receiving it from the other.

How do we come to deeper self-love so that we can have better relationships?

There are many things that take away from how much we love ourselves and contribute to poor relationships.

The following 6 areas are very important to address within each of us:
• Acceptance of Ourselves-It’s important that we see, accept and honor the whole package of who we are—we celebrate our strengths, but what about our weaknesses? We need to own and appreciate our accomplishments, while also pinpointing and being compassionate about our limitations. We cannot really move forward without the whole package. We are very willing to give this level of acceptance to others, but why not ourselves?
• Dealing with our Self-Dishonesty –We can have this even if we are a person of high integrity. We often do not speak authentically because we are not honest with ourselves about our feelings or needs. Then in relationships, it’s very easy to push yourself aside completely because of other person. It’s important to have boundaries and be true to ourselves.
• Personalizing the behavior of others-From the time we are children we are taught to seek meaning about ourselves from the external world. So taking the behavior of others personally is a natural course for us as we grow older. We readily take on other people’s issues as our own when they’re inner issues are not our responsibility. We often assume the other’s behavior mean that WE are not valuable or good enough.
• Taking Personal Time -If we are constantly busy or don’t take time for self-reflection then it is very easy to get out of balance and confused. Instead of being clear and being able to deal with situations as they arise we become reactive and victimized. How do we know what our needs are if we do not take time to check-in on ourselves the same way we do with our children, family?
• Personal Accountability-It’s an easy thing to want to hold others’ accountable for their actions, but it can be another to be personally accountable for our own choices and actions. When we feel sad or guilty about something, it’s all too easy to blame another rather than reflecting on what really is going on deep inside us. This can be the biggest way for us to avoid dealing with real issues.
• Worrying-It’s natural to feel scared, worried or overwhelmed, especially when are trying to grow and step out of our comfort zone into greater empowerment in our lives. How much do you worry about things you cannot control the outcome of? Frequently worrying about what could go wrong is unproductive, drains your energy and makes the possibility of a negative outcome more likely.

Each one of these essentials affects our relationships in very deep ways.

• If we don’t accept ourselves, then we will feel unaccepted or rejected by others.
• If we do not know our own needs and have self-honesty, then we can say yes when we really mean no pushing ourselves out of balance.
• If we personalize the emotions and behaviors of others, we stay reactive and triggered rather than open and clear.
• If we don’t take time for self-reflection, we can get off our path quite easily.
• If we don’t have healthy boundaries and fully own our individual experiences, then we cannot grow or move forward
• If we are consumed with worry about what may happen, we can convince ourselves of things that are not actually real and essentially create whatever we are most fearful of.

I can tell you that this information is very true because I wouldn’t be able to keep growing in my relationship with my husband without addressing each of these within myself. Any relationship, even the most important relationship with oneself takes work to grow and deepen over time.

So keep these things in mind this upcoming Valentines’ Day whether you are curled up with a significant other or curling up with yourself. It’s a good time to celebrate the divine love inside you!

Contact Member:
CJ Martes
PO Box 142
Greenwood, MO 64034
United States