The Secret To A Better Relationship: Take Care of Yourself

Take Care of Yourself

Today we’re sharing secrets towards a strong and healthy relationship with your partner. Because what could possibly be a better gift for your partner than to be a in a relationship with a better you? And becoming a better you starts with taking care of yourself.

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If any part of you is chafing at the idea that you have to improve for your partner, know this: 

  1. You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself
  2. When you change how you go about things, you invite the people around you to change how they go about things too, just by your example and also by your energy, which shifts, and is contagious
  3. You’ve got to be the change you wish to see

So, just to be clear, I think you’re wonderful, and clearly you care about being a good person or else you wouldn’t even be listening to this.

It’s not that you need fixing. It’s just that there is always more growth and evolution available to all of us. Unless maybe you’re the Dalai Lama, but who knows? Maybe he’s grumpy in the mornings or leaves his sandals in the middle of the floor. 

And the way to be a better partner that I want to cover today has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with your partner, or even how you relate to your partner. It’s about how you relate to yourself. Specifically, today’s tip on how to be a better partner is to take care of YOURSELF. 

Self-care is a big old buzz word these days

And while I love that it’s getting a lot of attention, when things get to the point of being a buzzword it can start to sound like blah blah blah. Oh sure, self-care, yeah, I should do that, just like I should have bought a pet rock, or made slime, or participated in x,y, or z other fad.

But people learn how to treat us by observing how we treat ourselves. And if you are not taking exquisite care of yourself, well, you can’t expect that anyone else will be able to, either, Even the person who loves you the most and is committed to your happiness. Your basic health, care, and happiness is ultimately your business. Yes, your partner should be supportive of and invested in your health, care, and happiness, as you should be supportive of an invested in theirs. But you are your primary responsibility. 

If you aren’t rested, nourished, and your stress levels managed and emotional health tended to, it’s like trying to run a marathon with pebbles in your shoe. You’re not going to be able to go the distance with anyone. 

Susan Piver, a Buddhist meditation teacher, creator of the Open Heart project, and author of many fabulous books, including The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, which saved my bacon after a big breakup in my early 30s, said something great about this very idea in her book Start Here Now. 

She writes:

“If you’ve ever wished for a partner who would love you as you are, appreciate your genius, and make space for your foibles, welcome you when you’re funny and shiny and when you’re a complete mess—well, I can introduce you to this person… He or she has been there the whole time. You are the one you’ve been waiting for, as they say.”

 

Now, in this book Piver is really talking about how meditation can help you reconnect to this level of partnership for yourself.

And yes, meditation is a great, incredible way to take care of yourself and absolutely can help you make friends with yourself, as the Tibetan Buddhist teachers I studied with in New York City put it. But I’m being more tool-agnostic in this episode. I don’t care if you meditate, or see a therapist, or keep a journal, or go keto, or start lifting weights, or ideally some combination of a few things that help you be your best.

To me, it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you recognize that doing things that help you take care of yourself is important. It’s huge. And it’s good not just for you, but for everyone you’re in relationship with. I know a lot of times in my work as a coach that when I’m talking to a woman and suggesting changes that she has indicated that she very much wants to make, she really gets motivated once she thinks about how her efforts will benefit not just her but her family members as well. Ah, estrogen, you really do powerful work at getting us to take care for others! Ha. 

Because you’re listening to a podcast that has a theme of being a better partner, I know that your relationship is very important to you.

And I just want to say, one of the very very best ways you can build and strengthen your partnership is to tend to your self, and give yourself what you need to feel your best. It’s so tempting to get absorbed in what your partner needs to change, isn’t it? When really, the best person to change that is your partner…not you. BUT, when you tend to yourself, you inspire your partner to tend to themself too. It’s a win-win. 

So take a minute now to jot down the things you do to take care of yourself

It’s all on the table here — dietary strategies you follow, supplements you take, sleep practices, emotional outlets, mind-body practices, physical fitness pursuits, spending time with friends, going on walks. 

Once you have your list, take it all in and give yourself a quick rating, from 1-10, on how well you’re doing on taking care of yourself. 1 is you’re completely trashing your body on the regular and wholly ignoring your emotions, and 10 is, I don’t know, you’re like Oprah or Gwyneth Paltrow or something, ha. OK maybe not Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m not sure how emotionally on it she is, although she did introduce us all to conscious uncoupling, so maybe she’s doing all right. 

ANWAY … when you look at that list, is there anything that’s NOT on there that’s jumping out at you? Something you have probably been thining about doing for yourself for a while but youv’e been putting off? Or something you used to do that worked really well for you but that you got away from? Just do a little check in, and see if there’s anything you need to commit, or recommit too. You are worth it. Your relatinoship is worth it. And your partnership will only be stronger for it. 

And, hey, if you take care of yourself, or you’ve been going through a period of growth already and you feel like your partner is NOT keeping up with you, just two quick things

1) everybody is entitled to deal with things at their own pace; just because you’re making progress doesn’t mean your partner has to make progress at the same time or the same rate as you.

2) Ideally your partner is open to growth too. If you’ve been on this path for a long time and your partner seems just firmly planted where they have always been, it’s worth a conversation. The people we love can get threatened by us changing, because change can be scary. So make it a very compassionate conversation and remember that it’s not your job to get them to change. You can only model the way and invite them to join you. 

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