There are so many women searching Google for How Not to Lose Yourself in a Relationship. The reason is simply that in today’s world, more women are waking up to their potentials as a human being and they are going all out to grab opportunities.
Intimate relationship is a part of our everyday living. Unfortunately, most relationships, especially in Africa, are handled with old ideas and traditions that still see the woman as one who has no identity, save for the identity of her father, or husband.
So I’ve been thinking: does being in a relationship mean you have to lose yourself and take on the identity of your partner or spouse? No, I’m not saying don’t see them as a part of your life. It is best to see your partner as a part of ‘you’ because that way you’d guard against hurting them. But then, it doesn’t make sense to lose “You”, just because you are in a relationship.
I’ve noticed that a lot of women claim they are not happy or that they feel lost in a relationship, even though their partner is the typical “made in heaven” kind of person. This is because they have long lost the real “them” and have a vacuum even their partners can’t fill. Every human needs a purpose, vision and passion to feel alive.
You can help someone build his/her purpose, but if you have none of your own, your life feels incomplete.
Unfortunately, many people think having a purpose means having your own company(ies), employees, and being a CEO. While this is good, that’s not all having a goal entails. Not everyone will be a CEO, but everyone can and should have a purpose. Yet, that’s not why I’m writing this article. I’m writing this to help you maintain and not lose” who you are” in a relationship.
The first thing to do is to learn how to recognise your own emotions. When you learn to recognise your feelings, you will save yourself the stress of being irrationally annoyed with your partner and feeling stupid later. It will also help you learn how to make sound decisions if and when your partner isn’t available. You will equally make your partner have a good sense of believing in you because they will trust you to handle your emotion and make right and sound decisions. An excellent way of learning how to recognise your own emotions is through meditation, observation, yoga exercise, among others.
Now that you have learnt how to recognise your emotion, it is time to find your purpose. Sincerely, I believe you should have found your purpose even before starting a relationship, but if not, now is the time to. While it is good to help your partner find his/her purpose, it is even better to find yours as finding your purpose will give you a sense of identity, which basking in the aura of your partner’s purpose alone, won’t give you.
Switching places, one good way of understanding this is to look at the life of a character in the movie, ‘Self Made (or novel “The Black Rose”)’ The book/movie is about the life of Madam C.J walker. In this book, C.J walker cheated because he felt he had no identity and was only known as Madam C.J walker’s husband. He said he and the lady he cheated with wanted to start a company (which he hoped would give him his sense of identity), even though he was getting a lot of money from Madam C.J walker’s company weekly, rocking the best clothes, and the company was in his name (C.J Walker).
He was equally made a partner in the company. While C.J was busy helping Sarah (Madam C.J Walker) develop her purpose (build her company), he neglected his purpose and ended up losing his sense of identity. It left him feeling useless and incomplete, and he ended up making a grave mistake.
While this is the reality for some men, it is even more of a reality for a lot of women. We read stories every day of women who claim to have lovely husbands but resent marriage and their husbands because they (the women) feel no sense of purpose.
I saw a particular story of a woman who quit her business for marriage and 3 years later, she felt worthless and started to fight again for her business. According to her, her husband took proper care of her snd the kids. But her satisfaction and purpose were gone.
So I’ve taken my time to list some valid points below, on How Not to Lose Yourself in a Relationship.
1. A relationship shouldn’t stop you from thinking of your core values; you have gone through a lot to develop them. They are what make “you” and, in many ways, define your purpose. If you want to change your purpose, change them for yourself and not because you are forced to.
Also, communicate with your partner when you think you are losing a sense of yourself or your partner is trying to make you lose a sense of who you are. Your partner would back off and help you get right back on the track of finding you again because they love you.
2. You don’t want to lose your Independence; the best relationship is one where each partner is independent, not co-dependent. Which do you like? “Vivian, the entrepreneur” or “Vivian, Shane’s girlfriend/wife?” Take a look at the former; you can stand alone but look at the latter, you don’t exist without “Shane”. He is your source of identity, and without Shane, you cease to exist to others. It feels good when the relationship is new, but as time goes on, you start to feel incomplete. You want to create your own identity, but it becomes difficult because you have thrown it away.
3. You love to spend 24 hours of every day with your partner, that’s fine! But you still need time for your hobbies, your job/business, your family and friends. It is easy to get lost in the euphoria of your partner and forget yourself but maintaining your hobbies, job/business and keeping up with friends and family help you remember who you are. Even something as little as reading a book does wonder.
4. Again, every day doesn’t have to involve your partner. Go on solo dates. It gives you time to reflect on yourself and your relationship. It also allows you to miss one another.
5. Distinguish between fantasy and reality. This is hard to do but necessary. You love your partner so much you begin to idolise them, place them on a pedestal so high, and forget they are human. And then when they fall short of expectations, you get shaken up so bad and forget to let go. You must learn to move past mistakes, know when to forgive, when to keep working on the relationship and when to give up.
6. Most importantly, love yourself. We get busy with enjoying our partner that we forget to love ourselves. You can only get to live with your partner truly and completely after learning to love yourself. Until you learn to love yourself, you will keep looking for your partner’s assurance and love to make you feel ‘complete’, and you will take every honest observations or input from them as criticism (fault finding) and wouldn’t see it for what it is.
But once you’ve learnt to love yourself, you will see their observation for what it truly is. Instead of seeing it as the difference that tears you apart, it will pull you together and make you stronger without you having to change your core values.
Are you in a relationship? Does it feel like you’re losing or have lost yourself? Do you need help in finding yourself again? Drop your comments in the comment box, and I’ll answer right away.
About The Author
Oyebisi Oyelami is a practising Nurse, bibliophile, and blogger. She’s a contributor to the prestigious Glance Magazine, while also talking about Books and Culture at her blog Queenitee.wordpress.com.