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Vol. 2 2014

Relationships and Self-Esteem

Greetings Fellow Evolving Spirits,

As the intention of 2014 is for us to Heal on a Higher Level, one of the areas that we're being asked to focus on in the healing process is our relationships. However, it's not healing relationships with other people. It's healing the relationship we have with ourselves. After all, when it comes down to it that really is the most important relationship of all.

What I've learned in all of my years of working in the field of personality behavior psychology is that if we don't understand who we are, how we think, how we make decisions, what our emotional needs are, and we don't use that understanding to create a healthy self-relationship, then it's virtually impossible for us to have healthy relationships with the people in our lives.

I understand that's a pretty profound statement to make, and I've had my fair share of people challenge it, but it's true. Why? Because without a strong sense of self-understanding, we tend to build relationships based on what we observed and learned as children and as young adults. We tend to imitate and replicate our parent's relationship, or our grandparent's relationship, or anyone's relationship that had some emotional influence on us as children. Consequently, we find ourselves bringing into our relationships other people's perceptions and expectations of what a relationship should be and how we should act. This might work if we were exactly like these people and if we had the exact same needs, but that's rarely that the case. Instead, we find ourselves in relationships that are unfulfilling, frustrating, filled with anger, and charged with resentment. We find ourselves feeling compromised and taken for granted, and wondering how we got there. We find ourselves questioning why we're even trying to make a given relationship work. All of which is destructive both to our relationships, and to our self-relationship.

Without a healthy self-relationship, we bring into our relationships emotional hurts, fears and insecurities, rather than bringing in our need to love and be loved, our need to care, our need to belong, our need to help, and our intimacy needs. I refer to these as the need to be needed factors. How important are these factors? Very important, because they not only determine the quality of our relationships, they determine their longevity.

Take a moment and think about it. If your need to be needed in a relationship is based on having a deep emotional connection and you're fortunate to be with someone who has the same emotional need, then the relationship will be good and it will feel right for both of you. The relationship also stands a better chance to weather the storms and endure the trials and tribulations that come with learning to live with someone and to love someone.

On the other hand, what if the other person's need to be needed isn't based on an emotional connection? What if their need to be needed is based on having a strong mental connection, meaning they're more interested in being mentally in sync with you and sharing the same value system, than having to deal with the complexities and complications that come with dealing with emotions? Can they meet your needs? Can you meet their needs? How can you avoid feeling compromised or them feeling compromised? Who is going to compromise the most, and the most often? How will the relationship endure? Will you want it to?

The answers to these questions lie within you. They lie within your healthy self-relationship. The answers are found in you knowing who you are, and in knowing what your need to be needed factors are. When you understand who you are, how you tick, and what you need from a relationship, then it's easy for those needs to be met and for the relationship to flourish and thrive. The reason for this is because you feel safe and secure in communicating what you need, and you're open and receptive to how your partner fills those needs. There's an added bonus as well. Your partner feels the same way. This is when a love relationship becomes more exciting, the love between the two of you deepens, and the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual connection becomes stronger. Now, rather than the relationship feeling like a tug-of-war or a battle of wills, there's a mutual caring and mutual satisfaction. This is when both of your self-relationships become healthier.

What are characteristics of a healthy self-relationship?

  • Accepting who you are and living your uniqueness
  • Daring to be different and being okay with marching to a different drummer
  • Communicating your needs in an open heart-felt way
  • Showing yourself the same respect you show others
  • Practicing patience and tolerance with your quirks and idiosyncrasies and those of others
  • Displaying a sense of self-confidence and living life fearlessly
  • Willingness to try to new things and take risks
  • Allowing yourself to be vulnerable
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle conducive to good health
  • Placing value on your values and not compromising them
  • Releasing self-judgment
  • Forgiving yourself

So, what are your need to be needed factors? I encourage you to think about them. Write them down. Prioritize them in a sequence of importance so you can be sure that the most important ones are fulfilled first. Then, if you're not in a relationship use this information to help you find someone who shares the same need to be needed factors. If you're in a relationship, then share what your need to be needed factors are and talk about how those needs can be met. Ask your partner what their need to be needed factors are. If they don't know, turn the discovery process into a loving and caring opportunity to deepen the connection with them.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

I need to:

  • Be appreciated for my accomplishments, achievements, and for being thoughtful
  • Feel safe sharing my emotions and feel like I'm heard when I do
  • Be more important than my partner's work
  • Feel spiritually connected
  • Be with someone who is openly affectionate and who displays they care
  • Hear "I love you" without me asking them to tell me
  • Be with someone who will mentally and support me
  • Enjoy a guilt-free relationship
  • Play and have unstructured time
  • Have quite time and alone time
  • Share quality time with a partner, with family members, and friends
  • Feel safe and secure in the relationship
  • Take care of people and their emotional needs
  • Be in a conflict free environment
  • Trust and respect the person I love

A healthy self-relationship makes it possible for us to challenge our old ways of thinking and limiting self-perceptions, and provides the encouragement needed to create new ways of thinking and new self-perceptions. It supports learning new things and letting go of habits and comfort zones that hold us back and that keep us afraid of trying. A healthy self-relationship promotes self-nurturing and encourages taking care of ourselves the same way we encourage other people to do. It asks that we treat ourselves with the same respect we show others, and to be kind and compassionate toward ourselves. Most important, a healthy self-relationship cultivates a healthy self-esteem, which is mandatory if we're to live life fearlessly, passionately, and purposefully.

One final thought. While relationships with other people can be difficult, trying, and even hair pulling don't be afraid to get into one, and to commit totally to the one you're in. The value of relationships is that they offer us the chance to see who we are through another person's eyes. They help us discover who we are, by recognizing who we are not, and they help us understand what we really need in order to feel loved, valued, appreciated, and accepted. They show us the potential we hold inside.

Self-Esteem

Let me begin by saying. "Self-esteem and self-worth aren't the same even though we use them interchangeably." Self-worth is what other people give us. Therefore, they can take away. It's based on other people's value systems and reflects the emotional feedback we get from them based on how their self-perception and self-relationship is influencing how they perceive us. Consequently, self-worth is fickle and unpredictable. We're not in control of it and it certainly isn't unconditional because it's based on other people's opinions, expectations, and moods. It's dependent on how they're feeling at the time we interact with them and whether they're feeling good about themselves or not. Basically, our self-worth is completely reliant on whether we're giving them what they want and if we're measuring up to their standards. If we are, they think highly of us. If we're not, the opposite is true.

Self-esteem, on the other hand, is what we give ourselves. So when we don't have it we're the ones who have taken it away. Self-esteem is something we feel inside and it reflects how we feel about ourselves. The root of self-esteem lies in our value system and how those values drive our behavior. When we honor our inner value system we experience a healthy self-esteem. Conversely, when we compromise those values we experience low self-esteem. We're totally in control. The best definition of a healthy self-esteem is, it's what we feel when we hold ourselves in high regard. It's when our behavior displays self-confidence, self-respect and a healthy self-relationship.

Self-esteem is based on five factors; two physical and three psychological. These factors are:

  • Appearance and how we look
  • Physical abilities
  • Perceived intelligence
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-respect

Mark Twain summed up self-esteem eloquently, when he said that it's more valuable to approve of ourselves than to have the approval of others. Self-esteem helps us feel good about ourselves and helps us appreciate our strengths, our capabilities, our natural talents, our relationships, and our physical attributes. It's the inner strength when we need it, and it's the courage to move beyond our fears. Self-esteem provides the inner fortitude needed to face the challenges that life puts in front of us, and it's what keeps us going when we want to quit because we're tired and discouraged. It's the Atta Boy and Atta Girl that picks us up when we're down, and it's the impetus behind loving who we are, accepting who we are, and it fills us with joy when we accomplish what we set out to achieve.

A Word to Keep in Mind - Vulnerability

Is it time for you to take back your personal power? Is it time to pay attention to how you give your energy away? Is it time for you to recognize how wonderful you are and to appreciate what you bring to your relationships? Is it time to put some time and effort into reestablishing a healthy self-relationship? If you answered "yes," then the word to keep in mind as you move forward doing so is vulnerability. However, you might need to change your perception of the word first.

The word vulnerability doesn't mean being in a place or in relationships where other people take advantage of you nor does it mean weakness. Vulnerability means being open to transforming your relationships into mutually beneficial and spiritually supportive exchanges. It's what allows you to be receptive to appreciating your own wisdom, and is what encourages you to listen to, and to follow, the guidance of your own inner voice. Vulnerability is a spiritual strength and your capacity to be vulnerable grows in direct proportion to how you feel about yourself. It's grows based on your self-relationship. Being vulnerable is a natural state of open acceptance, and it's an integral part in getting in touch with your true inner nature. When you're vulnerable, your ego gives way to your authentic spiritual power and presence, and your self-relationship deepens. The gifts being vulnerable offer are unconditional love, true acceptance and compassion.

Spiritual Opportunity

The spiritual opportunity vulnerability offers is that it asks you to access your relationships from a spiritual perspective, rather than only from the part of you that has been hurt or feels a sense of lacking something. Vulnerability makes it possible for you to look at the circumstances and issues in a relationship from a wise-minded perspective, focusing on the positives and looking for the similarities rather than the differences. It changes the nature of relationships by shifting the focus from supporting the emotional hurts, to healing those hurts, and rather than blaming others for what happens to us, to calling back our personal power.

What to Expect Energetically

When you focus on your self-relationship, you'll become consciously aware of how your ego drives your behavior. This awareness will help you see how you use your ego to protect you from feeling vulnerable, and you'll realize just how it much mental and emotional energy it takes to remain in that state of protection. You'll also notice how your ego blocks you from discovering more about who you are.

Energetically, a healthy self-relationship opens you up to connecting with your soulful self. The part of who you are that supersedes your ego. This allows you to adapt to the experiences in the present moment, rather than putting in the energy of trying to control them. Adapting is knowing when to act and when to rest, when to speak and when to be silent. By adapting to the moment, your soulful self uses the natural flow of your energy field to serve as a buffer, filtering out other people's perceptions and opinions, and allowing in only what you need in order to evolve and strengthen your self-relationship.

Adapting isn't acquiescing, it's accepting. Nor is it restraint, for there's no stress involved. It is instead a peaceful, accepting frame of mind willing to adjust to circumstances. It's doing the best you can in any given situation. Remember the power of a healthy self-relationship lies in being of service to others rather than being a servant to others. Try to be flexible rather than wasting your energy struggling to change what you have no control over. Instead, make your relationships as rewarding as possible by adapting yourself to the opportunities they offer. Focus your energies on getting rid of old prejudices and fears that may be controlling your behavior and holding you back. Then watch both your self-relationship and your self-esteem flourish.

Affirmation

I love me and I love what I offer to other people.

Application

Give yourself something that relieves tension, improves blood flow, reduces stress, is non-polluting, generates good will, is no cost, requires no batteries, is fully returnable, is extremely personal, and that does wonders for your self-esteem. Give yourself a hug! After all, it makes you feel your body when you're too busy living in your brain, and a hug a day keeps the grumpies away.

Thanks Shelley Anderson, author of the book Dealing with Divas for the cute frog picture and for your wonderful suggestion on hugs in your February Diva News.
AFC_Frog-hugs

I encourage you to remember that you are the most important person in this world and who you are matters to all of us. As you evolve spiritually, we all do. If you grow personally then your energy encourages all of us to do the same. We are all connected by invisible energetic threads, so what affects one, affects the all. Invest the time and energy in learning more about who you are, Learn about your personality color by clicking here, and if you're interested in learning more about your soul's purpose then I hope you'll allow me the pleasure of sharing that with you by booking a reading at http://www.ritberger.com/Personal_Reading_a/257.htm.

Book a Reading

Also, please note that some of the information in this newsletter is excerpted from my book, Love...What's Personality Got to Do with It? This book will help you better understand your needs in a relationship and it will help you understand the needs of your partner.

Light & Love,

Carol Signature


© 2014 Copyrighted by Carol Ritberger PhD and Ritberger Media Group


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