This hit me like a ton of bricks when I first heard it:
“We think that we’ve set up trusting relationships with people because we’re always there to help them.
But let me tell you this, if you can’t ask for help and allow them to provide it, you don’t have a trusting relationship. Period.
When we assign value to needing help… when you think less of yourself for needing help, whether you’re conscious of it or not, when you offer help to someone else, you think less of them too.” – Brene Brown, The Anatomy of Trust
Read that last paragraph again. I’ll wait…
It’s super powerful if you let it in.
Bottom line is, self compassion is essential for a truly trusting relationship.
Here are 4 more ways self compassion makes you a better partner:
1. You become more compassionate toward others
When we judge ourselves harshly, we judge others harshly too. Building self compassion opens our hearts to being more compassionate to others.
When you can be kind to yourself for forgetting to do what you said you would, you can be kinder when your spouse forgets to do something they said they would. You accept your own humanity and can extend that grace to your partner.
There is often a gap or a mismatch between how we see ourselves and how our partners experience us.
Most people say they find it easier to be compassionate to others than to themselves, but when they learn self compassion skills, their partners report experiencing them as being more patient, kind and loving.
2. Self Compassion makes you less self absorbed
Judging others harshly (grandiosity) and judging ourselves harshly (shame and self loathing) are opposite ends along the same spectrum. And that spectrum is self centeredness.
It may seem counterintuitive, but shame and self loathing are very self centered. “I’m such a jerk. I can’t believe I said/did that. You’re right, I’m a terrible partner.” Those are very self centered thoughts and feelings that blocks us from connection with others.
And at the other end of the spectrum, controlling the actions or feelings of others, needing to be right, refusing to apologize, withholding affection, going silent for days; these are also self centered, self protective ways of being. This grandiose view impairs peoples judgement and keeps them from being accountable. And if you read my last post, accountability is a key aspect of self compassion for strengthening a relationship.
People who lack self compassion are often more controlling and domineering with their partners. They are as hard on others as they are on themselves.
Self compassion connects us to our own imperfections as a human being and allows us to be loving toward ourselves and in turn to others and their imperfections.
3. Self Compassion increases your willingness to compromise
When you are self compassionate, you are able to think more ecologically and search for a win/win solution or compromise to difficult situations. You are open to negotiation and to finding ways to come through for your partner.
4. Self Compassion increases happiness overall
Studies show that self compassion is linked to a great well being overall, which is no surprise really. When we are kinder to ourselves, we can be kinder to those we love, those we share a neighborhood with and even the world at large. With more self compassion, the world could be a more connected, trusting, and kind place for all living things.