My Relationship Is Not My Number One Priority
Updated: Jan 29
And it never will be.
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” — Aristotle
I wish I could say putting this quote to practice was easy.
We all have a desire to be loved. It’s a fundamental need we have as humans.
I love being loved.
But what happens when your desire to be loved costs you your own happiness?
Psychology Today reported people rate “having healthy relationships” as one of their top goals, and many people determine their level of happiness on whether or not they feel loved.
It’s discernible many of us depend upon being loved, instead of depending on ourselves, to be happy.
Loving ourselves isn’t easy. If we’re being honest, I would rather worry about someone else and take care of them instead of myself. It’s just how I’m wired. I prefer to take care of other people.
Still, somewhere in there, the relationship you have with yourself has to be a prime concern.
This is why my relationship with my significant other will never be my first priority.
Let me explain.
Yes, It’s All About Me
What if you were a mama bear?
You would want to take care of your little cubs, right? You would make sure they were able to eat food, stay warm, and protect themselves.
Mama bear can’t be a good mama if she isn’t first making sure that she is eating enough food. If she starves, what happens to the poor baby cubs? If she can’t protect herself, how will she able to protect her babies.
Listen, friend, how do you expect to communicate your needs to someone if you don’t first know them yourself?
In 2017, The Boston Globe published an article about why a mother should make herself a priority before her children. Clinical psychologist, Deborah Offner, agreed that people should find time to pay attention to their own needs in order to maintain their equilibrium.
If mothers and fathers are being told to put themselves before their own children in order to properly care for them, the same can be said for our love affairs.
Loving yourself first gives you the foundation and tools to love someone else.
So yes, it is all about me (and you) because if we don’t make ourselves number one, we won’t be able to love and care for our significant other the way he or she deserves.
As Drake Would Say, “Know Yourself, Know Your Worth.”
It took me a long time to realize how important I am.
Some days I still forget.
As a person who struggles with anxiety, figuring out how to value my own worth is a never-ending battle.
My anxiety will occasionally cause me to assume the worst about other peoples' intentions.
For example, there are moments I don’t think my boyfriend likes me. Not because he’s being mean or not giving me enough attention, but because my mind wants to think the worst.
If a friend responds with a text message with less enthusiasm than what I envisioned in my head, I might think I’ve annoyed them.
A lot of these thoughts are triggered by my past. These thoughts make it difficult to believe how valuable and worthy I truly am.
But through the development of new habits, I’ve learned to overcome this.
I’ve learned I am just as important as the next person.
Your needs, desires, dreams, and goals are just as important as your partner's. It’s not selfish to pursue what you wish to pursue, even if your partner disagrees.
I know that in my relationship, my partner and I value each other’s views. He respects me, and I respect him. We both feel valued.
Because of this mutual level of respect, we can each pursue whatever we choose. It’s possible to be in a relationship and still focus on yourself.
I used to say I couldn’t commit to a relationship until I focused on myself. But the truth is, you can focus on yourself and simultaneously be in a strong relationship.
The main point I’d like for you to take away from this article is that you can support your own individuality, in addition to supporting your partner's.
The path you are on is an ongoing process. It should continue regardless of your relationship status.
Love is not black nor white. It is not all or nothing. It is a combination of two people putting in mutual knowledge, respect, and care, but you must authentically be yourself.
“God is love, sang Marvin Gaye, but to serve god and to serve other people, families, and communities, you have to care for yourself; you have to love yourself.” — Common in Let love Have The Last Word
*Previously published by Gillian Reed in ThoughtCatalog.