I often have couples come to my office for counselling, where one or both of them feel unsupported by their partner. When I probe a little more into the issue, I sometimes find that it is their expectations of their partner, rather than the support per se, that is creating the issue. It is not our partner’s role to meet our every need. In fact many times, you may be the one who is being unsupportive, of yourself and possibly your partner. If you are always looking outside yourself for acknowledgement, validation, support and love, it is often because you don’t give these things to yourself.
You might have a tendency to be critical of your partner, or perhaps you set very high expectations on their behaviour. Maybe you don’t feel they make you a priority. Do you also have critical thoughts of yourself? Do you set very high expectations of yourself? Do you make yourself a priority or are you the last one on your to-do-list? The relationship we have with our partner is often a mirror to the relationship we have with ourself. If you don’t like what’s going on in your relationship, then start by looking within yourself to see how you might be unconsciously contributing to these with your own thoughts and behaviour.
The good news about working on your relationship with yourself, is that it will definitely improve your relationship with your partner and other people. The greatest power you have is to change yourself. The truth is we don’t have the power to change other people or situations. What we can do is change ourselves and make different choices.
Some ideas for making your inner relationship more supportive:
- Acknowledge compliments you receive. Brushing them off diminishes the giver as well as you.
- Focus on your strengths, rather than putting all your attention on your weaknesses and flaws.
- Make your dreams and desires a priority, no one else can do this but you.
- Get to know your inner world – through psychotherapy, journaling, meditation, yoga.
- Speak up about what you need. Staying quiet or avoiding the issue is a form of self-sabotage.
- Take action on your commitments to yourself. This will make you feel validated and affirmed.
- Be loving and kind to yourself, in thoughts, words and deeds. Notice how you feel more inclined to be loving to others as a result.
Do you feel like you need to do some work on your inner relationship? Then coming to see a psychotherapist and relationship counsellor like myself can really help. Contact me now to find out how a good inner relationship can improve your intimate relationship with your partner. Let’s talk before it breaks.