There is a lot of alone time and loneliness in the world. However similar the two words may seem—they mean completely different things. And, often, before we look to ourselves we look outside of us first to fill the time and emptiness. Why I think John Gray’s, PhD, Mars Venus books consistently change lives is because the material resonates with men and women in such a way, that for the time being, they have a glimmer of understanding for themselves, and how they can better relate to the opposite sex. Over and over again with clients, friends too, I hear the pain in their voices in the search for feeling complete and whole. Often—the search involves looking for that special someone to complete their perception of happiness. In John Gray’s, PhD, Venus On Fire, Mars On Ice, the relationship expert hits the nail on the head with citing, “look to yourself,” as the number one source out of 18 essential sources of love and support. Let’s dig a little deeper on why this is vital to having phenomenal relationships not just with your partner or spouse—but with family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and even strangers as well.
Look to Yourself
It’s germane to note that this is the first source John Gray, PhD, lists out of 17 other sources in his book where men and women can look to find love and support outside of their own love relationships. When you seize responsibility for how you feel on a day-to-day basis, guess what? Life does change, phenomenally, for the better. By relishing, and finding renewal in your alone time, you open yourself to opportunities and relationships that are raw and full of love, because no one feels like they are lacking or need to be loved: they are loved.
I practice daily stress relief. And, it’s something I touch base with my clients about weekly to ensure they are taking care of their love needs as well, because it is critical for long-term wellness and satisfaction. If you place the unrealistic expectation on your partner or spouse to fulfill ALL of your love needs, you will burn them out, and do harm to your relationship. It is unrealistic to expect one person to know and tend to all of your love needs.
Part of self-awareness is being able to identify what you are feeling, when you are feeling it. And, then having the chutzpah to change what you’re doing so you feel the way you want to, instead of circumstances or other people controlling your moods and reactions. So what does “look to yourself” mean in practical terms?
- When you do something for yourself, do it as if you were doing it for someone you love
For example: lunch. If you were dining with a loved one would you take extra time to open the windows for fresh air to waft into your house? Would you set the table with your best china and silver? Would you light a candle? Or, put on your favorite CD? Why NOT do these things for yourself too, if it means you are showing how much you love and appreciate someone. Don’t you feel the same about yourself?
- Treat your body with extra care..
Meaning: get in a good night’s sleep and make exercise a priority, daily. Set-up rituals that help you unwind and feel less anxious or stressed out, so when your head hits the pillow it is a rejuvenating sleep. If it’s taking a candlelit bath with bath salts and essential oils, then do it. If that is a once a year luxury, what is preventing you from doing this a few times a month or week instead if it makes you feel so good? What’s holding you back? If you are exhilarated after a good workout, after tending your garden, washing the car, or going for walks, then why NOT do this daily? If it feels good, then why are you preventing your body from feeling this way more often?
- Set and enforce firm boundaries (i.e., do not let others mistreat you or cross your boundaries).
For example: if you have too much on your plate, tactfully decline invitations from others asking for more of your time that you don’t have, because you then place value on your time and presence. Can you guess what will happen? By loving and respecting your boundaries and placing value on your time, others will follow suit.
By looking to yourself to nurture and fulfill your love needs, you begin to embody what it means to be in love. No longer are you seeking it out, or expecting it from others—you are giving and receiving it freely from yourself. The change that occurs is enormous, because you are no longer seeking to be loved, you are loved. Therefore, when you are dating, or spending time with your partner or spouse, your love needs are already met. Instead of expecting someone else to make you feel loved, or less alone…you have met this need yourself. You are no longer needy or dependent on someone else. This frees you and the other person to expand in love. You have more to give away, because you know how to replenish your love needs yourself (and from 17 other sources besides your loved one)!
Lyndsay Katauskas, MEd
Mars Venus Coaching
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