I used to want to be the #1 person in my husband’s life.
On occasion, I’d get jealous of his close family ties. Or I’d feel neglected when he’d travel for work.
When life got busy with children, I often felt that I did not have enough attention and would wilt from the lack of it.
Now, I know that expecting our needs to be met by others is the result of arrested emotional development in childhood, when we couldn’t meet our needs and relied on caregivers to do so.
We perpetuate this parent-child dynamic with our partners, which is not conducive to healthy relationships.
Today, I know that no one knows my needs better than me, and as long as I’m outsourcing that responsibility as an adult, I’ll be perpetually undernourished.
When I insist on being #1 in my partner’s life, I am refusing to take responsibility.
Responsibility for being #1 in my own life.
And that, I found, was what brought me to depression, depletion, and loss of joy for life.
As women, we systematically put other people before ourselves.
We sacrifice and shape-shift for love. We do it voluntarily and with great enthusiasm.
We betray ourselves when we give our life away to others.
It’s not normal. It’s not healthy. It’s not natural.
What’s natural is to value our own life, to want to take care of ourselves, and to put our well-being first.
We are waking up to the fact that the way we’ve been doing relationships is dysfunctional. It’s time to start clearing inherited survival mechanisms and ancestral trauma.
We are here to thrive, not just survive.
Healthy, conscious relationships are among the greatest gifts in life. And a balanced and nourishing relationship with ourselves is a prerequisite for the success of all other relationships.
Selfishness is not a bad word, despite what we have been taught.
It means we are worthy of our own attention and care. It also means we will do what brings us vitality, gets our juices flowing, and makes us excited to be alive.
Putting yourself first is also the best gift you can give your loved ones.
By putting myself first, I give from an overflow. I make sure my own cup is so full that love moves freely within me, and spills out on everyone who comes into my life.
Then, I can stay aligned with my truth, without fearing the withdrawal of affection from the other.
Old Paradigm = unworthiness, fear, survival
Here, relationships become places of self-abandonment for women. Places where we often lose our voice, our identity, and our sense of self.
Here, women tolerate abuse for (illusory) safety. We focus only on being in a relationship for its own sake. And the longevity of it is all that matters.
New Paradigm = connection, safety, freedom
Here, we want more from our relationships.
This also means that we must learn to show up in new ways. De-condition from inherited limiting beliefs. Address and heal our fears and anxieties. Communicate our values and ask for help.
The love of your life is you.
(These words can sound hollow, I know. Becoming your own #1 is a process. Safe to Be Me will get you there, from wanting to believe it on a head level to embodying your own worthiness on a nervous system-level. Only 12 places available, starts September 22nd. Learn more here.)
The same goes for our partners. When we become #1 in their life, then they cannot be #1 in their own life and will outsource their needs to us.
When we know how to fill our own cup, we free the other from that responsibility.
Then, even when something goes wrong in the relationship, we will still be alright in ourselves.
Still full, still safe, still here—with our love intact.
If we want healthy relationships that make us feel valued, we must first remember who we are: sovereign, free, separate, worthy, whole.
When we value ourselves and our own lives, it sets the tone for everyone else.
You first, them second.
P.S. It takes courage to transcend our conditioning. But consider the alternative:
When our boundaries are not clear and we do not put ourselves first, we start exaggerating or shrinking our requests, trying to manipulate an outcome.
When our cup is empty, yet we continue to give, we start betraying ourselves, which leads to resenting others. We become a martyr, acting from attachment and fear, rather than love.
Fear versus love. One keeps you small to survive, and the other allows you to blossom and thrive. Which will you choose?
Safe to Be Me may be my group coaching program, but really it’s a laboratory for your growth. In six months, you can go from begging for love to overflowing with love, having learned all the tools you need to show up in the world like a grown-up: already worthy, already complete, already fully nourished. From that place, everything changes.