When you’re in a relationship, you often put your partner’s needs before your own. While this is a great way to show someone you love them, it’s not always the right thing to do.
In fact, the health and sustainability of your relationship rely on your ability to take care of yourself. Your mental health does, too. If you constantly put your own needs aside, you could be setting the groundwork for some serious problems later down the line.
In this article, we’ll tell you why. Read on to find out why self-care is so important, and how you can use it to make your relationship even better.
How Self-Care Can Make You a Better Partner and Friend
There’s more to taking care of yourself than just ‘me time’. Here’s how to practice it in your life.
There’s nothing wrong with striving to be better and constantly looking for ways to improve. However, you also need to accept that there are some things you can’t change.
Give yourself a break and reassure yourself that you are enough, just as you are right now. If you know that, you can relax a little and enjoy the moment instead of always trying to swim against the current and be something that you’re not.
In a relationship, you should never lose sight of yourself. Before making a change, ask yourself ‘who is this for?’ If you’re only doing it to make someone else happy, it may not be the right decision.
Set Boundaries and Expectations
If you’re secure in your sense of self, you’ll be better equipped to set and maintain the rules for your relationship. This means having an idea of what you need to get out of it, and which lines can’t be crossed.
Failure to set realistic expectations and boundaries could lead you to be taken advantage of. This is one way that many people end up in toxic or abusive relationships.
Reduce Stress and Manage Emotions
Constantly putting your partner first and leaving your own needs on the backburner is like setting up a ticking time bomb. Eventually, it will blow up in your face. While you are likely to start to do it out of love, it can cause negative feelings, such as resentment, anger, and jealousy, to build up later on.
This can culminate in angry outbursts and heated arguments that could be detrimental to the relationship. If things are really bad, it could end it altogether, causing a divide between you that is impossible to close.
Taking better care of yourself throughout your relationship is a much healthier way to manage things. You won’t feel resentful, unappreciated or ignored because you’re making sure that your needs are being met, too.
Have Your Own Friends
In long-term relationships, lives can become so intertwined that they eventually become one. This is a romantic idea, and in many ways, it works. However, you need a few things that are yours alone.
Otherwise, a potential breakup could be even more devastating than it needs to be. This is because it changes not only your love life, but your life as a whole. One way to avoid this is to have your own friends.
It’s great to have a group of mutual friends with your partner, but you should have a few who are just yours, too. These are people who will keep you grounded. You can vent to them, talk to them about any issues you may be having, and ask for advice, all without fear of judgment or complications with your partner.
Relationship goals are great. Perhaps you’re looking to move in together, buy a house, or even start a family. As well as these, you should have personal goals that you’re working towards, too. Whether they relate to your career, hobbies or personal life, they’re something for you to focus on as an individual.
Some people are in relationships for decades before they realise that they forgot to do what was important to them. This can be a devastating realization. They wonder what they could have done with all that time if they had been single, and may even blame their partner for distracting them from their life goals.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Think about what you want to achieve as an individual. You should share them with your spouse, too. A worthy partner will support your goals and encourage you to achieve them.
Make Peace with Your Past
Often, problems in relationships can be traced back to old wounds. If you have trauma in your past, it’s likely to cause you to behave in certain ways now without you realizing it. If you’ve previously been abused, manipulated or cheated on, you may struggle to build trust in your current relationship. It’s vital that you address issues like these.
Learn how to work through your emotional issues, and you’ll be more secure as a person and as a partner. You can do this through couples counseling, one-on-one therapy, or simply addressing your past and reflecting on your own.
Learn to Say ‘No’
It’s OK to say no sometimes. When your partner has expectations for you, you don’t want to let them down. That doesn’t mean you have to give in to their every need.
Know that it’s OK to say ‘no’ sometimes, even if it makes you feel guilty. This could mean turning down your partner for sex when you’re not in the mood, missing out on a family dinner when you need some space, or just rejecting company when you want to be alone.
As long as you do it in a respectful way, it will be good for your relationship. It may cause some friction at first, but in the long run, it’s beneficial. Your partner needs to know what your limits are in terms of physical, emotional and psychological space. However, they can only adhere to them if they know what they are. Make them clear, and you can avoid any problems.
Take Time for Yourself
When you’re in a committed relationship, it can be hard to find time for yourself. If you’re head over heels in love, you might not even want to. The idea of being spending time apart may even seem like torture.
Sooner or later, you’ll realize that this is one of the most important self-care tips there is. Taking time out for yourself gives you the opportunity to reflect, recalibrate, and remember what’s really important to you. You can do the activities you enjoy, and find personal fulfillment without needing your spouse to do it for you.
This is especially important for introverts. Social activity tends to drain them of mental and physical energy, and they need time alone to recharge. If that sounds like you, make sure you don’t neglect this personal need. You could take a trip by yourself, spend an evening alone reading a book, or simply take half an hour out of each day to be by yourself.
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make time to recharge, and you’ll be better-equipped to be a good partner, friend and relative to those you love. Learning how to be happy on your own is the key to better relationships and a happier life. If you can do that, you won’t settle for relationships that aren’t right for you. This is because you’re secure enough in yourself that you don’t need another person to make you happy.
A relationship can’t survive without honesty. This means not only being honest with each other, but with yourself, too. In order to do that, you may need to ask yourself some difficult questions.
Is your relationship really making you happy, or are you just staying because you’re afraid of being alone? Do you truly trust your partner? Do you see a future for your relationship? You’ll also have to be honest with yourself about your partner’s behaviour and how you feel about it.
If they’re treating you poorly or doing things that are unacceptable to you, you may find yourself overlooking these things out of love. When you really want a relationship to work, you can find yourself minimising these behaviours and making excuses for them. Be honest about how you really feel. That way, you can address the things that make you unhappy and fix problems as and when they occur.
Achieve Your Potential with Life Coaching
Self-care is one of the secrets to my success. Implement these self-care tips into your daily life, and you’ll be well on your way to building and maintaining better relationships. That’s not all you can do.
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to be happier and more successful, I’m here to help. Whether it’s for your personal life, your career, or for your family life, I’ll provide you with the tips and coaching programs you need to fulfill your potential. To get help with your personal journey, email me at ask@CoachWalid.com.