I used to think that once I got into a relationship - whether romantic or platonic - that all my needs, desires and wants would be instantly fulfilled.
It's a common illusion that all the pain you experienced during childhood, adolescence or even adulthood would be magically repaired once you met your partner, your soul mate, your PERSON that is supposed to intuitively understand all of your childhood pain, quirks and preferences.
Nowhere is this concept more perfectly exemplified than in Mariah Carey's song Dreamlover - a song I happen to love and get a dose of dopamine from every time I hear its chorus:
Dream lover come rescue me
Take me up take me down
Take me anywhere you want to baby now
I need you so desperately
Won't you please come around
'Cause I wanna share forever with you baby
I absolutely love this song. BUT, the paradox is that in order for someone to become your dream lover, first, YOU have to step up to the plate and take care of yourself. This doesn't mean your partner doesn't care for you or show up with emotional support. Relationships should be loving, harmonious and giving. In fact, when two people come together there's beautiful potential to HEAL old wounds.
But first, YOU have to tend to your emotional needs.
As a practice for myself - and you're welcome to join me! - every time I'm feeling scared, disappointed, nervous or sad I'm going to ask myself:
What does MY inner child need?
You have a little boy or girl within you - the part of you who didn't feel fully understood growing up - or maybe the part of you who didn't get the right kind of love or affection. Now that you're an adult, it's your JOB to make sure your inner child is given EXACTLY what they need in terms of self-care.
Here are some questions to get you thinking/feeling about YOUR inner child:
Do I need less time being "productive" and more time playing and feeling free?
Do I need to eat more frequently so I don't get hangry (hungry + angry)? Does my inner child need to schedule more time between appointments so I don't feel rushed?
Am I missing quality time with friends? Do I need to schedule a lunch date or have people over for a home-cooked meal?
Would my inner child like to do something more creative? Maybe paint, draw, journal or write?
How's my physical health? Do I need to schedule an appointment with a nutritionist, personal trainer or functional medicine doctor to get a better handle on my well-being?
When YOU take care of your inner child you'll show up in your relationship with less attachment to having your partner fulfill all of your needs.
The result? Your relationship will be more inspiring and fulfilling and you will experience a LOT more laughter and less resentment. Something magical happens when you show up with lots of love and generosity toward yourself - you end up loving the other person not for what they can give you, but for the union you can create together. You'll feel more connected and whole.
The BONUS when you're single - when someone special DOES show up, you WON'T be looking for that person to fulfill all your self-care needs. They'll enhance what you already have.
The more energy you place toward taking care of yourself, the more you'll be able to heal, live fully and connect with your....dream lover.
How do you take care of your own inner child? Comment below!