Saturday, September 11, 2010

Can Being In A Relationship Solve Your Problems?

We all “know” that if you don’t feel good about yourself then jumping into a relationship is not the answer. Remember that the universe is a giant mirror and all that we reflect comes back to us. So if we have low self esteem, we will only attract those who feel similarly about themselves. Not a good combo! If you want to be in a relationship with an emotionally healthy individual, then you must reflect the same characteristics. When you are a person to whom you would be attracted, then others will be attracted back.

Dr. Branden talks about how important self esteem is in a relationship in The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes Dies.

He states, “On the various factors that are vital to the success of romantic love, none is more important than self esteem. The first love affair we must consummate successfully is the love affair with ourselves. Only then are we ready for other love relationships.

It has become something of a cliché to observe that, if we do not love ourselves, we cannot love anyone else. This is true enough, but it is only part of the picture. If we do not love ourselves, it is almost impossible to believe fully that we are loved by someone else. It is almost impossible to accept love. It is almost impossible to receive love. No matter what our partner does to show that he or she cares, we do not experience the devotion as convincing because we do not feel lovable to ourselves.

Self esteem as a psychological phenomenon has two interrelated aspects: a sense of personal efficacy and a sense of personal worth. It is the integrated sum of self confidence and self respect. It is the conviction or, more precisely, the experience that we are competent to live and worthy of living.

... To experience that I am worthy of living means an affirmative attitude toward my right to live and to be happy; toward the assertion of my own wants and needs; the feeling that happiness is my natural birthright."

He goes on to explain that an overwhelming amount of people suffer from self esteem issues. This gives rise to questions such as, “Am I enough?” or “Am I worthy of being loved?” Although on the surface a person might espouse that he/she feels worthy of giving and receiving love, deeply ingrained patterns in one’s subconscious might say differently. It is that little voice inside of you that may sabotage a relationship.

When you don’t believe it is your God-given right to be happy, then you consciously or, more likely, subconsciously disrupt a relationship. And, of course, there are always the drama queens who are never happy unless there is a crisis. So, if your relationships are faltering (and not just your romantic ones), look deep inside yourself and examine childhood patterns that might have you questioning your self esteem and self worth.

Dr. Branden says, “For a great many people happiness-anxiety is a very real problem and a powerful barrier to romantic love. You are with someone with whom you really care and you’re feeling very contented very fulfilled and then feelings of anxiety or disorientation arise and you feel the impulse to stir up conflict or to make trouble. You can’t keep out of the way and allow happiness to happen. You feel the need to throw a little drama into your life. People interrupt their own happiness – sabotage it do anything to escape the fact that they can be happy right now. If only they will accept the moment, not fight it, not resist, just yield to the joy of being, yield to the joy of each other, yield to the ecstatic potential of romantic love. They study, go to therapy, etc – accumulate information so they can make themselves happy in the future – at an unspecified time that never comes.”

To keep a relationship alive, it most certainly requires effort. However, if, even with effort, they all seem to falter, take the time to evaluate your core belief about happiness. Remember, "happiness is not a destination -- it's a way of traveling the road of life." (R. Goodman)

Next up ... It's Me, Not You!

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