With this being Domestic Violence Awareness Month I’ve had this question asked by young and old, men and women. My response to that is, ‘if you love yourself would you harm yourself?”. That’s your answer. 100% of the time your response should be no. Then if you wouldn’t harm yourself and you love you why would you entertain the thought that love is supposed to hurt?
I realize that many of us grew up in dysfunctional homes in which verbal and physical abuse was the norm. Just because it’s what you saw doesn’t mean it is right. Of course rewiring your thinking will take work but it is worth it. Settling for less than what you deserve is not an option therefore put in the work to uplift your self-esteem. Redefine your boundaries so that you do not allow negativity to dictate your thoughts and actions.
How? Start by letting go of the past and redesigning your future. Easy? Of course not! Doable? Absolutely! You have to take the first step and that step is acknowledging that you are worthy of true unconditional healthy love. Find a quiet room and sit down with pen and paper and describe your ideal relationship. Be specific leave nothing to chance. Now ask yourself, “Am I in this type of relationship now?” If the answer is no then you have two choices. 1. Have a conversation with the other party or 2. if you already know that it’s a lost cause then it’s time to put an exit strategy into place.
In the first choice there’s the opportunity to make changes that are beneficial for both parties. Lack of communication leaves the door open for misunderstanding, mistrust and unhappiness. Set aside time to really talk. Turn off the radio, video games, sports, news, television and cell phones. Pour a glass of wine or a fresh cup of coffee and talk. I mean really talk. Be sure it’s a 2 way street, this means one listens while the other speaks. Listen intently, give eye contact and have an open demeanor. Crossed arms signals your defenses are up and you’re only half listening. Then acknowledge any areas you may need to improve upon. It could be as simple as having a date night. But it could also mean you may need a third party to help you. In either case the goal is to renew, reignite and rekindle a relationship that’s been limping along. That is if you’ve both decided it’s worth saving!
On the other hand if you know it’s time to leave then be wise and plan your exit. You can find some excellent information in my free –book, Exit Action Plan: 10 Steps to Leaving an Abusive Relationship to help you .Even if your relationship is not an abusive one the tips inside are still useful. Having a plan is essential for success. Once you’ve extricated yourself don’t jump right into another relationship. Love yourself enough to give yourself time to heal and rediscover the unique individual you lost.
We all heal at different levels so don’t compare your situation to anyone else. You’ll know without any doubt when you’re ready to try again. Next time don’t repeat the same mistakes listen to that quiet inner voice when it signals something is not right. Guard your heart and only give it when you know it will be loved, appreciated and cherished. Above all remember to ask yourself, “Does Love Supposed to Hurt?”