Having had a recent break-up after a brief friendship, I was asked by a friend wanting to know how I can seem so confident and cool in the face of it. As he said, if he had "been with someone for three months, and then had to walk away" he would be "devastated". I thought I would expand on my response given to him below and share it publicly, because it is a very important question, with an equally important response.
This was part of my response:
"I wouldn't, because the main reason people get hurt, especially after short relationships, is because they don't love themselves enough. They expect the other person to love them instead, and end up putting that person above themselves. Sadly, when the person walks away they are even more devastated, because, having no internal source of love, the only source would have left them alone, confirming the low unworthy feelings they already had about themselves."
I am human too and do feel naturally upset immediately after a break up. However, it doesn't last for long. As I tend to be very expressive, I am also very trusting, I fall deeply and I love equally passionately, which make me even more vulnerable to being hurt. Yet break-ups hardly affect me emotionally, no matter how much I love the person. It got me thinking why I don't suffer the usual angst of people who are really hurt by it, and I have gradually worked it out.
What most people don't realise is that every relationship has three crucial elements at the heart of it:
1. Self Love
2. The capacity to love another
3. The capacity to be loved
The Power of Self Love
Most people go into relationships armed with just the desire to be loved. That's the easy bit. But what is even more important is to have the other two elements, which are often missing. In fact, the most important aspect of a relationship is SELF LOVE (which acts as a protective barrier to pain). But loving the self unconditionally, without expecting perfection, is not an easy thing to do after a history of not being valued or affirmed by the people who matter in our lives, like parents and past lovers.
Yet self love is like having money or riches. If we have no love for ourselves, we cannot give away any either. That partner will never be able to do enough for us simply because we will always feel inadequate. The irony is that a love of the self frees us to be more loving and understanding towards another. For example, though I do miss him very much - because we had grown pretty close very quickly, my self love makes me smile and remember our awesome moments together, when he comes to mind, rather than any anger, recrimination or blame; to give thanks for what we shared rather than what we might have lost.
Sadly, most relationships consist of two people without any self love or capacity to love. In effect, there are two TAKERS instead of givers in the relationship, wanting to be loved, and looking after their own corner, while being unable to truly love themselves or each other. It means when the relationship breaks it would be doubly painful for one person because he/she would have been entirely emotionally dependent on the one who took that love away. That partner would have been living in constant fear of the relationship not working, and would then be pretty shaken when it does break and the love stops.
Loving the self reminds us that we matter the most in any relationship. We are the cake, the other person is the icing, and icing is never mandatory. Icing might go beautifully well with a cake but it is a CHOICE, just like having a partner is a choice. It means that once the icing goes, we would have enjoyed it, enhanced that icing with our presence, but, in the end, we stand independently of it, because we are all on our individual journey of life. With that knowledge, we can appreciate ourselves more, and will also have more to GIVE a partner than merely expecting them to give us what we seek. We can take them or leave them, as they are, and, best of all, if they should leave us, our self love will keep us intact - more aware, confident and positive - and better prepared for the next encounter.
Self love can be really hard to achieve. How much do you love yourself? Find out with our self-esteem quiz.
©Elaine Sihera (Ms CYPRAH) 2012
Emotional Health and People Management Consultant
"Happiness is a state of being. We are the ones who decide whether we wish to be happy or not, by the script we use inside our heads."