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  • Writer's pictureJenn

How Self-Care Improves Intimacy


We know that our children deserve all of the love and care in the world.

At what point do we begin to believe that we must earn it?

When we do not, in our core, believe that we are enough, not good enough, or don't deserve love and care we will begin to do three things:


We will depend on others for our approval at our own expense

We will pressure others to accommodate our desires

We will become low investors in ourselves and/or others


When we depend on others for our approval...

at our own expense this looks like:

People-pleasing

Perfectionism

Not being able to say no without guilt

Giving out of fear of what it will mean about us or what they will think about us


This will feel uncomfortable because what it really is, is an act of betrayal.

No one likes to feel betrayed.

But when we misrepresent ourselves it is an act of self-betrayal

Do you have memories of being betrayed?

How did that feel?


Once I misrepresented my husband, and he was able to communicate something to me that I hadn't been paying attention to.

I asked our church leader when it was going to be our turn to speak in church.

I don't mind speaking in church.

I love speaking in church.

In my eyes, it is an act of love and I offer things valuable to my soul with open heart to people I am learning to know better.

To my husband it is pure drudgery, more work, and to be avoided at all cost.

So when our church leader gave me a date and included Jay on the program he was a bit miffed.

I will admit to thinking that if someone asks you to do something, especially where church is involved, you do it and suck it up and included my husband in that unwritten program.

I hadn't asked his opinion and had accepted willingly in behalf of both of us.

It was an act of betrayal because I had misrepresented him as being as willing as I was.

He let me know how this felt on his end and I offered that in the future I would not represent his views.

So the next time we were asked to speak, Jay willingly agreed.

The difference?

He had a choice. He mattered and his opinion mattered.

And last time I checked, God appreciates a willing servant.

I was totally off.


When we can't say no....when we agree to do something that we actually don't want to do we are committing an act of self-betrayal. We are misrepresenting ourselves and it is not in alignment with honesty and integrity.

It isn't a true offering.

We need self-trust.

We need to trust ourselves to make important calls about our wants versus others.

We need to trust ourselves to be okay when others disapprove. In fact, the antidote to needing the validation of approval of others is to tolerate invalidation! The result is a moral self. A solid self that does not rely on the approval of others.

Another way we misrepresent ourselves is we do not speak up with our true thoughts and feelings. We will try to put forth an agreeable version of us that will be the most likely to be desired, loved, accepted.

We are speaking to our own souls that we cannot truly be known and loved for who we are, the we are incapable of handling failure in the form of rejection, etc., and that intimacy is not worth the risk.

It's a way of saying, "I'll take the safe pseudo-security, thank you very much."

Do you believe that?

Do you agree with that message?

If not, you have the chance to challenge it.

I did.

Being deliberately vulnerable for the first time was scary. It felt like I was flaying my innards and exposing my very soul to the elements and in the moment I let go of the very thing that felt like the safety rope to my survival, my protection of closed-ness...I found that it had been an anchor that had the weight of the world, and I was free.

Free to feel.

Free to be.

And free to accept more love than I had known before.

It was worth it for me but it felt like I was risking my very life.

I don't want to give the impression that this is easy work.

I want to assure you lovingly, my friend, that is truly worth it and that you are not alone in your fear.


When we pressure others to accommodate our desires...

it shows up in a few different ways.

Maybe we complain incessantly so that someone else will step in and give us what we "obviously" need rather than asking for help or working to accommodate our own needs..

Or we complain incessantly hoping someone will validate that we are good, noble, indispensable,

Maybe we insist that another person do things to prove that we are loved, valued, and important.

Maybe we try to make others suffer for not validating or compensating for our sacrifices. This shows up in resentment or depression when sacrifices aren't rewarded.

Or we encourage others to be like us and make choices that involve martyrdom


But the fact is, the more we need other's approval, the more we will control them or feel controlled by them.


We become low investors in ourselves and others

This looks like giving the bare minimum of being "there" but not truly THERE.

It shows up in the bedroom with "here is my body" but that's it.

It shows up in service out of obligation to people we value out but withhold our heart.

We may become "too busy" or "too irritable" so they will just stop trying, hoping they will give up and stop asking for anything rather than being honest about our needs and tending to them.

It is a feeling of closed-ness and withholding of the most valuable, tender parts of you.

Because they are vulnerable.

If we feel responsible for others thoughts and feelings, and if they think poorly of us, it reflects our lack of value in our own eyes. When we fear that we can't manage them or we can handle disapproval then it feels safest to just keep a distance.


But we can become low investors in ourselves as well.

We withhold compassion, care, love, acceptance and become low investors in our own love and care.

We may not allow ourselves to receive from others or ourselves.

We may not allow ourselves to feel joy, pleasure.

Take time for ourselves only if everyone else is taken care of regardless of how capable they are of meeting their own needs.

We may hold ourselves to a hard line of needing to deserve time to relax and be present.

We become the control freaks that can't unwind.

Party-poopers.

Sticks-in-the-mud who can't even remember what we truly love to do and who we are because we have been basing it on something outside of us for so long.

We've had to earn it. And the work is NEVER done.

And deep down we feel like we don't deserve it.


Other people do, and we often see to it that they know it, but we are the exceptions.


The kicker is that most of this is happening with us being totally unaware. We know we can't relax, we sense an anxiety at the thought of taking time to ourselves and having fun, we worry about letting others down to our own detriment.

But don't know why.

Is this how we want our children to experience life?

If not....

Experience life.

Get to know who you are.

Look at the conditions you are putting on yourself.

What do you have to do to earn fun?

What is your relationship with pleasure and joy?

Do you expect others to meet your needs?

What are you wanting others to validate in you?

What do you wish they would do for you?

Start there.

Get to know who you are. What do you need? What brings you joy?

Ask yourself something you probably ask several people a week and LISTEN for the answer.

"What can I do to help?"


Does any of this sound familiar in your life? Sometimes we need someone to help us feel our way out of a rut of poor self-care.


Next time I'll be talking about how we use others to legitimize our own needs and wants. What are our excuses and what can we do to feel comfortable owning up to them?


#strongerbecause I know what I need.










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