Relationship Tips for Being the Best Partner
By Susie and Otto Collins
Do you ever look in the mirror and not like what
you see? We
don't mean the way your body's shaped or how
your hair lays.
We're asking if you really like yourself for who
Perhaps you have habits that you're embarrassed
by or maybe
you feel shame and regret for choices that
you've made in
your life so far.
Believe it or not, this
even self-disgust-- not only keeps you from
thriving in the
skin you're in, it can also stand in the way of
you and your
mate connecting and fully loving one another.
Too many of us are critical of ourselves. It can
in different ways. Some people hone in on how
others feel like failures for not reaching goals
set by others (or themselves).
Still others beat
up for not being the parent, mate, son,
etc. that they think they should be.
all said and
done, no matter how "valid" your self-criticisms
seem to be,
this harsh judging will not allow you to change
in ways you
And have you ever been around another person who
giving him or herself a difficult time about
some habit or
personal aspect? It's no fun, is it?
person is in the
throes of regret, shame, embarrassment, or
another form of
self-deprecation, that person is intensely
focused on him or
It's pretty difficult to connect in a
with someone who is closed because all he or she
can hear is
self-directed words of negativity.
Jack is a good man but believes that he is a
husband and father to his wife Ellen and their 3 children.
In fact, Jack spends much of his time berating
all of the ways he lets his family down.
habit of beating himself up reached an all-time
Ellen asked Jack to consider attending a
workshop with her, he got defensive, stormed out
house and ended up drunk at a bar.
meeting an attractive woman with whom he spent
Now, after the infidelity, Jack feels even worse
himself and has no idea how he can make up for
Sometimes he thinks that Ellen and the
be better off if he just left. He only wishes
thing could be painless for his family.
See yourself where you are-- from afar.
When you start knocking yourself down for a
or personality trait that you find unsavory, do
can to stop yourself and pause.
Take a symbolic
and look at where you are as if you were another
looking at you. This may take some practice.
possibly developed beliefs and pre-judgments
and your actions. Just for the moment, set those
pretend you are another person meeting you.
like or even approve of what you see, but
from your usual vantage point often offers a
Sitting in his car outside the woman's apartment
morning, Jack feels lousy so he decides to drive
and clear his head.
At a certain point, he feels
stops at a park where he just sits and thinks.
moment he's able to expand his vantage point.
From this new
perspective he can see a man who is hurting and
sees a man who thought his life would be much
it is now. This man is also angry and
Jack looks at himself from this expanded place,
he gets less
bogged down in the usual self-deprecation.
Instead, he can
more easily tune in to the core feelings and
needs that are
propelling him in a direction he does not want
Forgive yourself and change direction.
After Jack tunes in to these realizations, he is
aware that he needs some space. He calls Ellen
her that he needs some space to think. He
assures her that
he will come home the next day so that they can
Jack checks into a hotel that's near the park to
himself this space. During this time Jack
realizes that as
serious as his mistakes are and as much as he's
down, it's really himself who feels most
the man he's become.
As he walks through the
park that afternoon he understands that forgiving himself
essential first step. After that, he can
decide his next step.
Sometimes forgiving yourself for being who you
are at this
moment is a pressure reliever and key to
Forgiving yourself doesn't mean that you yet
internally rail on about how horrible you are.
forgiveness means that you take responsibility
choices you've made-- some of them beneficial
and some of
them detrimental-- and then you resolve to stop
around the guilt about those choices.
amends, let the past go and begin to move on in
As you get better at seeing yourself where you
forgiving and letting go of the past, you can
open up to
allow more of the changes you want to happen.
This is a
process so be patient and gentle with yourself.
way, be sure to look in that mirror and begin to
growing number of things about yourself that
Celebrate even the small improvements and know
will increase as you continue.