how to not lose yourself in a relationship

How To Not Lose Yourself In A Relationship – Symptoms and Tips

Does the rest of your life suffer when you fall in love? If so, you may have a tendency to lose yourself in a relationship.

It’s natural to be swept away when you first start dating someone new. The trouble starts when time goes by and you fail to regain your sense of balance.

It can happen in healthy relationships, especially if you have unrealistic expectations about romance. It can also happen in less healthy relationships if your partner tries to pressure or manipulate you into becoming dependent on them.

Learn how to balance love with the rest of your life. Recognize the warning signs and try these tips for having a more fulfilling relationship with yourself and your partner.

Spot Warning Signs That You May Be Losing Yourself

You can tell that you’re sacrificing too much if you know where to look.

Stay on the alert for these common symptoms:

  1. Maintain other connections. Neglecting your family and friends is one of the most common and obvious signs. Make time for them in your schedule. When you’re with them, be sure to talk about more than your new love interest.
  2. Do your job. Are you too distracted to meet deadlines and participate in meetings? Keep your mind on work when you’re at the office. Save personal calls and texts for lunchtime if necessary.
  3. Watch your spending. Maybe you’re celebrating a little too much with shopping sprees, overeating, or other indulgences. The sooner you slow down, the easier it will be to fix the damage.
  4. Enjoy your hobbies. It’s great if your partner introduces you to new interests but beware of giving up the things you love just to please them. For example, you can take a class while they go to a hockey game.
  5. Voice your opinions. Speak up for yourself. Let your partner know you like jazz more than hip hop. It’s natural to disagree sometimes.

Be Proactive To Avoid Losing Yourself

You may have noticed that even when you start a new relationship, you soon fall into the same patterns you established with your last partner. If you want things to turn out differently, you’ll need to address your personal issues.

Keep these tips in mind:

  1. Boost your self-esteem. Make yourself a priority. Remember that you are worthy of love and respect just as you are. Treat yourself with compassion and repeat positive affirmations.
  2. Create boundaries. In a healthy relationship, partners encourage each other to set their own ground rules. Explain what you need and what you find unacceptable.
  3. Set goals. You’re less likely to lose yourself if you’re excited about other aspects of your life. Develop passion projects that motivate you to learn and grow. As a bonus, you’ll probably make yourself more interesting.
  4. Practice self-care. Treating yourself well makes you stronger and more resilient. It also reminds you of your worth. Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. Sleep well and deal with stress constructively.
  5. Spend time alone. Do you enjoy your own company? It’s important to have a healthy relationship with yourself in order to bond with others. Solitude gives you an opportunity to increase your self-awareness and center yourself.
  6. Take a break. If you’re dissatisfied with your love life, you might benefit from giving up dating for a while. Use the time to examine your dating criteria and form new habits.
  7. Consider counseling. Working with a therapist might help too. That’s especially true if you’re trying to recover from an abusive relationship or think that childhood issues are affecting your adult behavior.
how to validate someones feelings

How To Validate Someone’s Feelings (Without Agreeing)

Learning how to validate someone else’s feelings is one of the most important skills the majority were never taught. Emotional validation is imperative and foundational to a healthy emotional relationship with yourself and others. It’s also at the forefront of feeling worthy.

What Exactly is Emotional Validation?

When you emotionally validate yourself or another you’re accepting the internal experience. You may not understand the experience but you understand the experience is valid based on how you or they are thinking and feeling.

It’s important to note that all of our experiences are created by our unique history, thoughts, beliefs, perspectives, conditioning, and emotions. Why is this important to know? Because this is why we experience what we experience. It’s also why none of us share the exact same experience—it’s why we’re all inherently different.

At the end of the day, you may not see the world the way others do but you also don’t deny their experience, you validate it.

What is Emotional Invalidation?

As you might imagine, emotional invalidation looks the complete opposite of what you just read. You emotionally invalidate yourself or someone else when you deny the emotional experience being had. The message being sent is that you or they shouldn’t feel what’s being felt, it’s not normal.

Invalidation can come across as contradicting, undermining, belittling, minimizing, and judgmental. Think back to a time where you felt any other those while expressing your emotional experience to another and see if you can find why you felt invalidated.

Invalidation can also be seen as a form of gaslighting, making you or them look crazy for what’s being experienced. Why? Because the message being sent is that the experience isn’t justified and illogical.

Any time you try to escape or change your emotions because you’ve judged them as bad, negative, or unwanted—you’ve denied your own experience.

Emotional invalidation is a fast track to an unhealthy or broken relationship with yourself or another.

Why Emotional Validation Can Be Challenging

We Think to Validate is to Agree

This is a common misconception about what it means to validate. One of the simplest ways to change this misconception is to replace the word ‘agree’ with ‘accept’.

We’re accepting our own, or another’s, experience as it is, not agreeing with it.

How can we validate someone without agreeing?

You can express validation without agreement by telling someone you understand how they can feel or experience what they are based on what they’ve told you.

If you feel safe enough in their space you can communicate that just because you’ve expressed understanding and validation toward their experience doesn’t mean you agree with their beliefs or perspectives.

We’re Caught Up in Our Own Judgments

We Invalidate Our Own Experiences

If you have a habit of not validating your own feelings and experiences you will surely struggle to do so for another. Like most things, validation always begins with ourselves.

We Listen to Provide Solutions

In my experience, this is probably the most common reason we invalidate someone’s emotional experience, so long as our intent wasn’t malicious. We get so caught up in trying to come up with a solution that we don’t listen deeply.

Many times, our proposed solutions are unwarranted and not asked for yet we still deliver them.

The problem with solutions is that they don’t provide validation, non-judgmental listening and acceptance do.

Examples Of Validating Statements

It’s understandable you’d feel that way.

Yes, that makes sense. I can see why you say that.

I’m sorry you’re having a hard time with this.

It’s perfectly normal that you think that.

Can you tell me more about how you’re feeling?

I can see why you feel…

Examples of Invalidating Statements (Avoid at All Cost)

It’s not that big a deal.

I’m sorry you feel that way. (when it takes the place of an apology)

You could be dealing with far worse problems.

You’re better than that

Don’t stoop down to that level.

You’ll get over it/Get over it

That never happened/You never said that.

You need to calm down.

You’re being dramatic.

You aren’t making any sense.

You’ve upset them again by saying that.

If I were you…

What I usually do for this problem is…

You’ll be OK

Time heals all wounds

How to Validate Someone Who is Angry

Emotional Validation and Holding Space

Emotional validation has a lot of overlap with holding space. Holding space for another is imperative for them to feel safe with you emotionally.

What does it mean to hold space? You create a safe, non-judgmental environment that allows yourself and/or others to be authentic, expressing thoughts and emotions without hesitation or worry.

If you are unfamiliar with what holding space is you can learn how to hold space step-by-step here.

three questions if you feel like they aren’t loving you

are you loving you?

if we aren’t loving ourselves, we have no basis for knowing what love feels like
within ourselves, and therefore, won’t know what love feels like when it comes from outside ourselves

are they loving themselves?

if they aren’t loving themselves, they have no basis for how to love another beyond themselves, it’s not that you’re unloveable, it’s that they don’t yet know what love is

is their way of loving you possibly not the way you’d like to be loved?

if we expect love to be given the way we expect to receive it, we look to
receive it within the confines of our own box of love, we constrict receiving
only gifts of love which match what’s inside our box, oppose to opening
and receiving what’s outside of our box and inside of theirs