Creating a Balance between “Me” and “We”
In the most fulfilling relationships, couples appreciate both togetherness and each other individual needs.
For example, Carrie and Don have a thriving relationship.. WhIle they create a “We” they also also honor their own individuality. Carrie is involved in outside activities while Don needs solitude to write his book. Each respects the other’s need for both private time and time together.
At the beginning of the week, they discuss, “What nights/weekend days to you want to be together? What would you like to do?
This ensures their shared activities while allowing each other the freedom of their own space and lives.
Carrie and Don also encourage and support each other; they care about each other’s feelings and needs. They freely express their own, knowing that the other will listen.
It took time, exploration and mistakes to evolve to this level of relationship. They’re deeply committed to each other and to sharing what’s going on in their hearts and minds. Carrie and Don learned that being truthful with themselves and each other is the key to intimacy and true connection.
How do we do this?
a. Know Yourself
Seek to know yourself. Whether you’re desiring to attract new love or are in a relationship, knowing yourself is a foundational necessity. This includes knowing how you feel and what you need.
Why is this so important? It’s important because if you don’t, you may tend to over give, abandon yourself, and end up feeling isolated and resentful. It’s what happens when you sell yourself out to gain love and approval.
For example, Orin appeared to be the ‘perfect husband.” He was attentive and loving to Maria, went along with her ideas and “gave her everything he thought that she wanted – emotionally and practically.
Underneath the surface though, Orin felt angry and resentful. He thought he was being taken advantage of and that his needs didn’t matter. His energy level became depressed and his outlook on life, negative.
He confided, “I don’t know who I am. All my life, I’ve done what other’s expect of me. I don’t know what I want.”
Building a relationship on this shaky foundation is a recipe for disaster and this is what happened. Orin couldn’t maintain that level of giving, resentment, or not speaking up for himself enough. He didn’t get professional help or discuss his discomfort with his wife in a way that she could hear it. Instead, he got to a breaking point and sabotaged his marriage beyond repair.
He claimed, “I didn’t have a voice in the relationship and when I tried she didn’t listen.”
I suggested that he dig deeper into connecting with his own feelings and needs, and then directly expressing them to others in his life. It’s difficult for others to give us what we need, if we don’t know what we want or aren’t expressing our needs directly (rather than indirectly.)
Orin would also benefit from exploring his fears of confrontation and by learning positive communication methods. This way he can feel safe sharing and asking for whats he wants. It can give the significant people in his life the chance to fulfill those needs!
b. Express yourself to others
Many of us have fears of expressing ourselves. We may have been mocked, blamed or shamed when we had. The important people in our lives might have become angry or withdrawn their love or they may not have bothered to listen. So we became afraid to speak up and share what’s on our hearts or minds. The result can be that we give in, say “yes” when we want to say “no.” By doing this we’re not respecting our own needs and individuality in the relationship, as Orin hadn’t.
The most healthy happy relationships are when both people are able to express their feelings, needs and desires. We understand that we may have differences of opinion, likes and dislikes. These are taken into consideration when making decisions and treated with respect.
When I teach clients positive communication methods it has helped transform marriages and set foundational grounds for people who are dating.
This helps to create a balance between “Me” and “We.”
KNOW YOURSELF PRACTICE
At different times during the day, check in with yourself. Ask, “What am I feeling right now?” Then ask, “What do I need right now.” If possible, find a way to give it to yourself, so that you feel validated and taken care of.
Whether you are creating a “Me” or a “We” it’s important to be emotionally available for love. To discover how open and available you are, take the “Available for Love” Assessment at zengalove.com