We take on characters and behavioural strategies that are designed to get approval and love. For example, a martyr, being a pleaser, being a bragger, being a victim. Numerous characters that we take on, but we’re taking them on to seek love and approval out there. I believe there is a lot more effective way of seeking love and approval and it’s about being able to get it from yourself.

Learning how to get your own approval and love from yourself first. It starts with the decision to recognize how you can do that daily, filling your own cup up. To be in an empowered marriage, you do need to learn how to fill your own cup up and break out of the characters.

Say for example, you’re a pleaser, it’s recognizing that you are a pleaser and often that has come from childhood. It’s being able to recognize that, let it go and then begin living a very different way which is about loving yourself and it means noticing when you are playing out those characters and noticing when you’ve become negative, noticing when your mood changes. It is about connecting with yourself, talking to yourself, understanding yourself.

When you decide that you want to fill your own cup up and that you get that your life is 100% your responsibility, you then actually start behaving differently and you stop looking outside of yourself for your partner to make you feel better in you.

Love yourself first

8 ways To fill your cup up, your love tank

1. Love yourself for the good that you see  Make a choice to stop criticizing yourself. Looking at your flaws is habitual and self-sabotaging.

2. Wrap the worry and send it packing  Worry is tiresome, weakens you on all levels and does nothing to support your self-love. It can become such a part of your life that it would leave a void if you were not to worry.

To send your worry packing do the following:

  • Get a piece of paper and write down what you’re worried about. Have a worry purge to really empty out all of your worries.
  • Read aloud what you have written.
  • Burn the piece of paper.

Through this process you can let go of your worries and surrender them to the universe. Then put your energy into ways to help the situation in which you find yourself. Repeat this process as often as you need to.

3.  Learn and grow spiritually  When you grow spiritually you become more peaceful, compassionate and connected to yourself and the universe. In turn, the love for yourself grows.

4. Validate your feelings   Loving yourself requires you to be truthful about your own feelings. If you are happy, acknowledge the joy. If you are sad, acknowledge the sorrow. When you are truthful about your feelings, you do not try to lie to yourself or seek to bury negative emotions. Acknowledging your feelings helps you realize your thoughts and allows healing and self-growth to take place.

5. Learn to say ‘no’  You will love yourself more when you set boundaries and allow yourself to say ‘no’. Start with small things and practice how to do it. Say ‘no’ to anything that hurts you physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Part of self-love is listening to yourself all the time. It involves listening to yourself and noticing within yourself when something does not feel right, trusting your intuition and being able to say ‘no’. This constantly refuels your love tank.

6. Listen to and respect your inner world  Make time and space to develop your inner peace and calmness. You can begin by sitting and taking a few deep breaths and noticing how your body feels. Don’t attach to any of your thoughts; just let them go. Imagine a stream into which you put your thoughts. Watch them drift away. Or put them on a cloud and watch them float into the distance. Learn to just be. Your soul will thank you for creating space to do this.

7. Relax  When you fully relax you tap into the intuitive side of your brain, which is concerned with creativity, emotion and spirituality. This, in turn, brings inner peace and self-love. Find ways to relax your mind and body on a regular basis. Think about how you can do this.

8. Fill you own cup up  Do I need to go for a surf? Do I need to go for a swim in the ocean? I need to go for a run. Do I need to play the drums? Do I need to do my cross stitch? Do I need to read? Do I need to meditate? Mindfulness, whatever it is. But it’s checking in with yourself what you need to fill your own cup up. It’s doing things that are of meaning to you.

In an empowered marriage, you’ll partner may suggest “You’ve had a really stressful week. Why don’t you go and have a surf”?

Having the freedom and movement to do this in your marriage is very important.

Something that I found really helpful in the early days when I was learning how to fill my own cup up and learning how to give my own approval and love called self-love is I would write it on a piece of paper, emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical.  I would make sure that I had done all of those each day. So I found yoga fantastic because yoga was the emotional, it was the spiritual and the physical.

When we stop looking externally and get the approval and love you need from yourself, areas in your life will change. You will trust and believe in yourself as to what you need, feel and want. You will know, and feel within, that you are special, worthy and loveable. You will not need anyone else to tell you.

Spend time and energy getting to know and love yourself. Self-love is the very core of well-being and joy. It enables you to create the kind of life you want and to love others more easily. When you love yourself, you’re at peace with yourself which you then take into your marriage.

Whoever loves much, performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.

VINCENT VAN GOGH