(This is the second post in a three part series on building intimacy and peace in our relationships by building ourselves in preparation for the High Holidays coming up. If you missed the first one, you can read it here.)
I hope you have been feeling some real joy and connection from loving yourself!
Today I want to share with you the second of the three important elements in a relationship, and how you can first give it to yourself to then make the space for your husband to overfill it!
Many books and speakers talk about how important respect is to a man. Men look for and crave respect the same way women desire love – it is what allows them to feel they can be who they always wanted to be with the confidence that they will be accepted and valued.
And the truth is that women also look to be treated with respect in their relationships.
We want to feel heard and validated.
We want to know that we are trusted.
We want to be given the space to do things in our own, feminine way, without feeling judged or looked down on.
The surest way you can become both a better giver and receiver of respect is by respecting yourself.
And that means respecting your feelings and desires.
I think that as growth-oriented women, we often deny our feelings and desires. We tell ourselves, “you don’t really feel that way!” or “you don’t really want that!” as a way of pushing aside negative our selfish thoughts.
When you push aside and choose to not feel your negative feelings, you also will not feel your positive ones. Without allowing yourself to be sad, afraid or hurt you will also not feel happy, excited or loving.
Feelings are a means of connecting to others. It is by sharing emotions that we best express vulnerability and create intimacy.
And when you deny your desires, they will only fight stronger to be heard. Yet by hearing them you will have important insight into how to grow and be happy.
While it is not always appropriate to act on your feelings or to fulfill your desires, it is only through listening to and honoring them that you will be able to healthily choose how to proceed.
I invite you to practice the following exercise:
1. Sit down in a quiet place with a paper and pen.
2. Ask yourself, “How do I feel?”
3. Without any judgement of yourself and with full respect for your own feelings, write it down.
4. Then ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way?” And again, listen to your own answers without evaluating them.
5. What action would you like to take with your new insights?
Repeat the exercise by replacing the first question with, “What do I want?”
A desire for ice cream may be because you are emotional, hungry or just like the taste of creamy goodness! Once you have the answer as to why you want it, you can make a better choice as to whether you want to indulge.
While a feeling of sadness identified as due to feeling lonely can inspire you to reach out and call a friend or plan a coffee date with your sister.
And the more you can hear and accept yourself, the easier it will get to give and receive this respect from your husband as well, without judgement or negating negative feelings.
Stay tuned for the third way you can improve your relationship by building yourself…