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    Has a partner ever helped you love yourself?
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
    If you are a master at self-criticism (a very unloving way to be with yourself), you probably create relationship problems with it, driving away those who are or were interested in a loving relationship.

    It's important that you learn to be your own best friend. To accomplish this feat, you need both self-awareness and self-compassion. Self-awareness means being in touch with your emotions and self-perceptions enough to recognize them and label them; and understanding how your life experiences have affected, and continue to affect, you. Once you are self-aware, then you can approach yourself with self-compassion; seeing yourself in an accepting and caring way (the opposite of self-criticism).

    Such compassionate self-awareness is a wonderfully effective antidote to self-criticism. Although it takes time and effort to practice, you can help it along by choosing the right, supportive partner -- one who sees all of you and loves you for who you are (even accepting, or perhaps loving, the parts that you think are not so lovable).

    Do you have experience with learning or practicing such compassionate self-awareness?

    Also, have you ever chosen a supportive partner who loved you fully; and who helped you to develop compassionate self-awareness and to love yourself? For this blog and many more, please visit The Art of Relationships written by Dr. Becker-Phelps.
    3point14 responded:
    Without my BF, I'd be a wreck. Before I met him I was anti-coping with a mediocre childhood of poverty and parents who love me, but never took the time to understand me. I lived in a tiny apartment I didn't clean, didn't take great care of myself, and threw myself into work and school as a way to forget the fact that I never felt "good enough".

    He's taken the time to love me, listen to me, and encourage me. He makes me go after my dreams even when I'm scared, and helps me cope with setbacks without it turning to self-loathing. I don't deny how I feel anymore, and my relationship had taught me how to compromise with others, so I find it easier to compromise with my harsh self-assessment.

    I used to self injure. My BF never asked me to stop or anything, just asked me to be gentle with myself. Nobody before had ever made an impact on that facet of my personality, but when he treated it as a symptom of my self-hatred, I was able to look at it as an issue and not just an action I was taking. It helped me to get over my being self-destructive, because he asked me to analyze where it came from.

    Everyone who's known me for a while says I'm a totally different person now that I have him. I think I'm a much better person.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to 3point14's response:
    Pi, thanks so much for sharing this. It pained my heart to hear about your past, but warmed my heart to hear how far you've come. I truly believe that with warm, accepting love comes healing- and your story is a testament to that. I hope you continue to heal and grow, feeling ever-stronger in yourself.
    sarahogan responded:
    Yes, my husband is very supportive and has been extremely patient when I would cut my self down and always assume the worst in what he said. I was always like that and always would assume the worst meaning for what was said. He's always encouraged me to do the best for me, and we've had many, many nights where we would talk about me and what I can do to change me for me. He knows me better than I do, and he's always encouraged me to get to know myself better, even if it hurt. I've made a lot of discoveries and changes over the years due to his persistent, yet gentle guidance.

    I love him very, very much.
    Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to sarahogan's response:
    How truly wonderful to hear. If you watched me read your post, you would have seen a gentle smile spread across my face and moistness come to my eyes. You are blessed for having him in your life, and I have no doubt that he is also blessed for having you in his life. Thank you for sharing this.

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