(3) Preserve Yourself
EXAMPLE: For those of you who don’t know, in addition to coaching, leading group programs, I also work part time in an elementary school as a reading teacher. In addition to all that I manage an unpredictable autoimmune disorder and am an active member of an intentional living community with a powerful mission. Oh, I’m also doing a ton of deep healing on myself. On top of that I try to engage fully in my longterm partnership. Supporting him in getting his needs met. Being present. Receiving feedback. Depending on my level of self-preservation, this engagement can shift quickly to tension, compulsive neediness, over-giving, people pleasing or self-abandonment. This pattern wasn't limited to my partnerships. It also happened when I was dating and hoped to become partnered with someone.
REFLECTION: Self-preservation means to protect oneself from harm. I think of self-preservation as self-care - a process that we all need in order to foster presence, engagement, wellness and self-love. People who struggle to preserve themselves can have trouble taking care of themselves while in a relationship or while dating. Poor boundaries, being too nice, swallowing/stuffing feelings and truth are common practices. Boundaries and self-care are the key here. Boundaries are a radical and loving way to reconnect with your inner voice take a stand for your needs. Self-care is self-love in action. Boundaries + self-care means you can take loving action that preserves yourself.
TOOL: Maintain Healthy Self-Preservation
When you feel tense or upset in your love life check in with your self-preservation by asking yourself two very important questions:
(1) “What do I need?” (Boundaries)
(2) “What action could I take that would be loving to me right now?” (Self-Care)
By committing to your self-preservation it makes it easy for others to love us. We don't need to be rescued by them and we can ask for attention, help and support knowing we can first give it to ourselves first.