Being a great partner isn’t measured by how much you do. It isn’t about how much you give of yourself; day in and day out. You’re not going to be more fun to be around by giving every ounce of your energy to another while ignoring your own needs. Being a great partner requires a high degree of self-care.
To be a great partner to another, you’ll be asked to redirect your energy inwards. At times, they will trigger and annoy you. In those moments you’ll be challenged to look in the mirror before pointing out their faults. You will be called to look at what you’re doing rather than what they aren’t.
Whenever we focus too much on the other, we’re avoiding ourselves. We’re angry, in part because we’re not taking care of ourselves. Pent up frustration and resentment spills over in the worst possible time because we’ve been giving and giving, all the while; neglecting our own needs.
What could possibly be behind the over-doing it in the first place? Many of us carry around a belief that we have to do, to be loved. That we’re not enough all on our own, so we over compensate even though it makes us worse, not better.
The relationships that last the longest consist of two people with their own aspirations and dreams in life. There’s the you, the me, and the we. It’s interdependence not co-dependence. They’re the ones based on trust, ownership of the shadow, acknowledgment of the inner-child.
Being a great partner means being a whole person. No one is winning medals for sacrificing their own needs to make someone else happy. And frankly, if that’s what it takes to make the relationship work, it’s not really working yet. Something will have to change.
We think there’s something wrong with our partner when often, we’re just paying them too much attention. Take that energy and bring it back to you. When you find yourself picking a metaphorical scab i.e. finding all their flaws, just pause. Take that awareness and shine it back on yourself. What do you need to do to love yourself? This is less about what they are doing, and more about what you’re not doing for yourself.
Run yourself a bath, read a book, get some work done, go take a yoga class, do something that inspires you. Do you. That’s what being a great partner looks like.
Relationships are meant to enrich our lives. They are meant to make us better people, to provide a safe and grounding place at the end of the day. To give us a little more fire while we’re out in the world chasing our dreams. If your relationship is draining your batteries, it’s probably because you’re letting the relationship consume you, rather than fuel you.
One of the greatest challenges life has to offer us is relationship. It means we’re willing to do the work to see past the stories all the way into the other person. And through that lens, we will see more of ourselves.