Hello? Are you there? Have you disappeared?
If you’ve ever been in a relationship and felt yourself disintegrate over time, or you’ve lost the very essence of what makes you who you are, this blog post will help you understand why that happens, and what steps you can take to reclaim your magic.
Why do you want a partner?
There are many reasons why we long for a partner. For some, it could be to not feel alone in the world. Perhaps it’s because we want someone who truly gets us. Maybe we think something is missing in our lives. For the pragmatic, it could merely be a matter of procreation.
Whatever the reason, the most important thing to understand is that attracting the right partner is an inside job. It comes down to values. If you can define what your values are and what you bring to the table in life, you’ll not only discover a more profound love for yourself, but you will also become a lot clearer about the kind of partner you want (and deserve!).
Listen to our podcast to learn more about understanding relationships here.
Why we lose ourself in a relationship
When we fall in love, we get completely swept up in the sensation of it. It’s as though we are literally falling. We become so consumed by the person responsible for this delicious high. It’s the best drug in the world, and we never want to come down. Everything they do and say bewitches us into unconscious submission until one day you wake up from the haze and realise you’ve stopped hanging out with your friends. You’ve stopped getting our hair done or going shopping. You’re no longer catching up with your mates at the pub every Friday night. You’ve let yourself go, stopped going to the gym or making friends with strangers.
You’ve lost the swagger in our step.
Before you know it, you’ve morphed into one and the same person. Red flags!
After a while, you stop being the person your partner fell in love with. And you can’t for the life of you remember why you fell in love with this person in the first place.
Don’t lose heart. If you believe your relationship is worth saving, there is a way to help bring you both back into alignment.
Aligning values for healthy relationships
Your values hold the secret clue to sustained love as well as maintaining your sense of self. It’s when we let go of our values, the things that are important to us and that we love, that we lose ourself. That’s when what was once two whole people becomes one, and not in a good way.
The 25 / 75 rule
We share 25 percent of the same values with our partner. The other 75 percent make up the things that bring individual joy and a sense of self. The 25 percent is what initially attracts us to our partner. It’s the proportion that binds us and makes us feel connected. The other 75 percent is what defines our individuality. For example, say you both enjoy reading, watching movies or playing games. Perhaps you’re both career-driven or have the same taste in music. These are your shared values. Then say you enjoy shopping or yoga or time at the beach, but your partner hates sand and would rather beat his or her head with a stick than solute the sun or hit the mall.
You lose yourself in a relationship when you stop living by your values and start living by your partner’s.
It’s easy to do. When we start out, we get so caught up in the intensity of the relationship, that we give ourselves up willingly. But over time, because we have given ourselves up, we lose our shine, and so does our partner.
Enter the mundane, same old same old, yawny partnership.
9 steps to finding your way back
If you’ve lost yourself in your relationship, don’t worry. It isn’t too late to rediscover who you are and fall back madly in love with yourself and your partner.
Follow these 9 steps to help you find yourself again and improve your relationship (or do it right in your next one!)
- Make yourself a cuppa, find a quiet place and allow yourself some time.
- Write down on a piece of paper all the things that are important to you. These are your values. Some examples are: family time, watching movies, self-expression, stability, kindness, connection, spending time in nature, being creative, travel, freedom, learning, the ocean, exercise, eating healthy food, cooking, spending time with friends, picking your nose! Write down as many as you can think of.
- Give yourself time to do it. It takes a bit of brainwork, so it’s okay if you need to park it and come back to it as and when you think of more things to write down.
- There are no right or wrong answers. Don’t judge what you write down.
- Most importantly be honest with yourself.
- Get your partner to also write a list, following steps 1. to 5. above.
- Once you’re both done, plan a date night where you can spend a few hours together alone without interruption.
- Set an intention with each other before you begin. Decide that the following process will be fun! It isn’t an opportunity for one of you to be right or better, but to get to know each other more deeply and intimately.
- Share what you have written down. Notice the values that you both share equally and acknowledge the values that you both own individually.
Now you are both more conscious and clear about what’s important, you can make time to enjoy what you love to do together, and encourage one another to keep doing the things that are enjoyed individually. If you’re nervous about this exercise, check out our post on how to express your feelings with your partner safely.
By doing this, you nurture the relationship on the one hand and honour and preserve the things that make both of you unique.
Before too long you’ll find yourself falling head over heels in love again – not only with your partner but, perhaps more importantly, with yourself.
Find out what else you can do to make sure you don’t lose yourself in your relationship.
Your values – the things in life that ignite you, excite you and inspire you, make up who you are in essence. When you live in alignment with your values, you are performing the ultimate act of self-love. Respecting your partner’s values by offering encouragement rather than judgement, to ensure they don’t lose sight of what’s important to them, is the greatest gift of love you can bring to your relationship.
Oh, and FYI, defining and aligning your values doesn’t have to be limited to your romantic relationships. This is a great exercise to do with family and friends, too!