Finding your life's balance: Love and romance

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In our regular feature Nina Grunfeld presents a wellbeing series for HR professionals. It's time to focus on yourself

Last month we thought about spirituality. This month we’re focusing on love (our self-esteem) and romance (our feelings towards another). You may want to divide this into two spokes – ‘love’ and ‘romance’ – or circle another number on the same spoke of the Balance Chart. To kick-start the process have another go at your chart, becoming aware of the love and romance in your life – or lack of it.

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As you think about love, question if you treat yourself as well as you would your best friend? How good are you at saying ‘no’ to others and ‘yes’ to yourself? Ask yourself if you’re in the kind of relationship that you always dreamt of or whether it leaves much to be desired. If you’re currently single what are your expectations around attracting a new relationship?

By working through the Balance Chart this year I hope your feelings about love towards yourself have grown. I would like to think you now ask yourself if you’re enjoying something and what you want more of. There’s a lot of pressure on each of us to be in a romantic relationship and yet first we have to find happiness with ourselves.

Finding the perfect partner has become far too great a focus. It starts in childhood when fairy tales provided us with the romantic model of a handsome knight in shining armour who would rescue and adore us, and a beautiful maiden who would love us unconditionally. It’s no wonder that we search for these ideals and inevitably set ourselves up for disappointment. We project onto a potential or existing partner all manner of qualities, hopes and dreams that are almost impossible to live up to.

And, although those we fall in love with can occasionally give us just cause to feel let down, abandoned or betrayed, it’s usually our own expectations that give us the most grief. When others fail to meet our exacting standards we tend to see them as at fault and not to look to ourselves for why we might be feeling so disappointed, hurt or angry. And we can repeat these patterns and others over and over again. Even when we think we have moved on, we can find ourselves in an all-too-familiar scenario without understanding how we got ourselves there. And again, rather than take responsibility for these we blame our partners for the way we are feeling and the situation we find ourselves in. We fail to see that we are the common denominator.

The more aware of yourself you become the more control you have over your choices. Take time to get to know yourself better – either in or out of a relationship – and to feel good about who you are. Know where your boundaries are and what you’ll enjoy doing. The happier you feel on your own the more joy you’ll bring to a relationship. Question your assumptions and beliefs about relationships too, because they will also influence your choices and experiences.

Loving relationships enrich our lives and bring out the best in us. The world seems a more colourful place and we feel more connected to everyone and everything. Commit to discover more about yourself and you’ll soon understand how you can enjoy greater intimacy and fulfilment in all your relationships.

Two tasks for November to enable you to get the most out of your relationship with yourself and others:

1. Are there dates in your diary for things you want to do? Rather than please others, check in with what you want and put dates in your diary to arrange things for you.

2. Tell someone you love that you love them. Whether a friend, family member, colleague or partner, let them know you love them. You’ll both feel better as a result.

Nina Grunfeld is a self-help and wellbeing guru, and founder of self-improvement workshops Life Clubs

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