Roland and Esther met each other through a friend, courted for a couple of years and later got married. Roland has tried his best to make Esther happy but she was always lamenting that nobody including her husband loves her. At a counseling session after several years of Roland coping with the situation, the counselor discovered that Esther has been struggling with self rejection because of her terrible childhood experiences. This past experience had affected Esther so much that no one was willing to be her friend except her husband. She was always complaining and nagging and now Roland is almost giving up. Then the counselor began to educate both of them……
Relationships are not meant to be ENDURED but to be ENJOYED. Contrary to this many have developed coping skills in their relationships so they find themselves enduring everyday relationship such as marital, relationship with colleagues, family and friends. There are relationships we can easily get rid of as soon as they turn sour while there are some that will definitely leave a scar if we try separating from such.
Lack of fulfillment in relationships could be due to absence of a healthy relationship with yourself. In order words if I fail in my relationship with myself, I cannot relate well with anyone else. How we treat others is an extension of how we treat ourselves. The level of value you place on yourself determines how well you value another.
Moreover, the bible says the 2nd greatest commandment is ‘Love your neighbor AS YOURSELF’. So much emphasis has been placed on the first part of this statement while the other part is not so talked about. For instance if I inform you that you use a gadget the way you use another. In order words, I am saying that once you know how to use gadget B,it is a pointer to how you use the gadget A. Therefore the journey of a great relationship starts with YOU! It begins with having a healthy relationship with yourself. If you don’t love YOU, you can’t LOVE me or anyone else. In order to know if you love YOU, kindly answer this question
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOU?
Love is a product of our thoughts. More often than not, we love people because of what we THINK of them. Hence, the question. What do you think of yourself? This goes beyond what your spouse, friend, pastor or family member think of you. As a matter of fact, it is easier to describe your partner than trying to express what you think of yourself. In order to prove this, I have asked few people to tell me what they think of themselves. Some came up with what people thought of them. They go like “my husband says; I am….. Or my mum feels like; I am sluggish. As much as it is good to know what people’s views are about you because of what we call blind spot, It is dangerous to base how you feel about yourself on people’s thought of you. First, no one can know YOU like you know yourself. Secondly people judge us based on who they are. Someone said “what we judge in others is a disowned part of us.
Jesus asked his disciples while he was on earth with them “who do people say I am”. Among the 12 disciples, only one (Peter) person’s response resonated with what Jesus had in mind. This is why you must know who you are: weaknesses and strength, not denying any. If you deny your weakness, you remain an old model of yourself because you can only improve on a product you know and understand.
The predominant thoughts of yourself can be an indicator of how much you love YOU. Many people reject genuine love because of self-rejection. They cannot just see what others see in them and don’t believe they are to be treated specially. This makes relationship very difficult. It is imperative that you know, accept, value and love yourself because how you treat yourself is how you will treat others. This is different from self-centeredness. Finally, lack of a healthy relationship with yourself could make you to put unnecessary pressure on your relationships like Esther did by demanding for what no other person is capable of giving you.
All of a sudden Esther started sobbing. She started realizing how terrible she felt about herself and her past mistakes. She always wished she was someone else: starting from her younger sister, to her friend in primary school, her class prefect in secondary school, her mate in the university and her colleague at work. She felt everyone was better and she had nothing to offer. She didn’t appreciate anything about herself and she feels Roland has been deceiving her. She believes she is empty and no one can genuinely love an empty barrel. All these, she said was because of several steps she took in the past that made her feel like a failure and good for nothing.
Wow……no wonder she has had it tough relating with people. She reads meaning to every statement made by her spouse and she misunderstands what people do to her even when they have good intentions. The question is: how can Esther and every one of us in Esther’s shoes deal with this? Thanks to the first part of this article, Esther has learnt to change her thoughts about herself.
In order to take it further, the counselor tells her: FORGIVE YOURSELF. This is important because we have all done certain things in the past that we are not proud of. Like Esther, whenever we remember certain things, we blame ourselves. In contrary, start to take responsibility for what has happened and focus on a better future rather than blame yourself. Forgiveness is not from the head (not based on knowledge) but from the heart. You will need to convince yourself that if you knew better, you would have done better. Mind you, none of us is a saint. Let go and make room for love.
Secondly, change what you say about yourself. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What you say of yourself is a product of your thoughts, and your description of yourself determines your outcome in life. When we have healthy thoughts about ourselves, our words will become healthy words and we will love ourselves in healthy ways. My question is: do you talk down on yourself or do you boast of who you are not in a bit to impress someone?
Telling people who you are not is a sign that you don’t love yourself and it becomes difficult to enjoy any relationship if you don’t love yourself. This happens mostly when you prefer other people’s views of who you are to what you know about YOU. Desiring human approval is not totally wrong but we must not be addicted to approvals.
Dear friend, learn to celebrate yourself and you will be happy without feeling anyone must do it for you. Whatever will make you happy, don’t wait for anyone to do it or say it to you. Say it to yourself.
CHEERS! – Motolani.