I Can’t Make You Love Yourself

Those were some of the words I said to CBG this past weekend: “I can’t make you love yourself.”

The reason I know this is because I’ve tried. And tried. And tried some more.

When I first met CBG I was pretty broken, and with good reason. We spend much of the first part of our relationship getting me back on track with my mental and emotional health. I have been in a pretty good place in this regard for some time now. When CBG and I first met, I didn’t truly believe that I deserved to be happy, let alone be able to take active steps toward attaining it. Now, two and a half years later, I can honestly say that I do deserve happiness, I love myself (most days) and I’m a relatively happy person.

CBG didn’t make me love myself. He just encouraged me and gave me the space I needed to figure it out for myself.

Over time, as the  focus has slowly come off me and my needs, it has turned to CBG and his needs. I have seen him struggling. I have felt his hurt. I have done everything that I am capable of doing to help build him up and show him that he is, indeed, a person worthy of self-love.

And I’ll be honest: It’s burned me out. But as I wrote about last week, that’s my tendency, to give and give and give until I burn out. Burn out and become resentful of the person that I’ve been trying so hard to help. And I’ll be honest…part of the ‘disconnect’ that happened with CBG and I was due to those initial stirrings of resentment.

In a situation like this, it’s difficult to separate what’s mine from what’s his. One thing I know for sure: It’s not my job or my responsibility to try and “make” him love himself. All I can do is continue to love him for who he is and support him as he works to figure all of this out himself. My love can’t be a substitute for his own self-love…it just doesn’t work that way.

And so that’s the need for the step back. I need to learn how to give him space, and have faith in his ability to work through this. And honestly? That’s one of the toughest parts for me: having faith in him in this area. Because that’s what healthy letting go is all about…giving the other person the space they need to deal with their issues, and having faith that they will, indeed do it.

In the meantime I have work of my own to do. I have a “tank” to fill, myself, so that I don’t feel resentful toward the man I love.

Man, this relationship stuff is always a challenge, isn’t it?

10 Responses

  1. It is a challenge but almost always worth it. I have faith that you and CBG can do this together, (yet separately) and come back together stronger than ever. You are recognizing your past tendencies and not repeating them. That’s huge!

  2. Oh girl…. I get this in so many ways. My man has some stuff to work on as well….

    I’m supporting both of you in your quest for betterment. Because what a relationship it will be (and is!) that two whole people come together as one!

    Much love to you.

  3. It’s so hard to find that balance between support and suffocation. I hope you guys work it out and come back together stronger than before.

  4. Again, I think this is just another proofpoint to your strength. And the strength of your relationship. I give you a lot of credit, and kudos to you in the patience department, I am NOT good in that area at all. Hang in there.

  5. You are so inspiring and your words ring true in my life – I’ve said that before.

    You are living proof that working on yourself benefits you in HUGE ways! I wish you and CBG the best. Keep working and writing (it is VERY helpful to many)!

  6. Thinking of you both. I hope everything works itself out. I absolutely understand the need to concentrate on yourself a little. Sometimes it takes that in order to be the best person you can in your relationship.

  7. […] Sunshine has tried so very hard to help me see the man that she sees, and I feel like I constantly let her down because I just can’t see what she sees. […]

  8. It is a challenge and I think you’re doing the right thing.

    I have little doubt that my own relationship ended for similar reasons. There was a direct correlation between me being made redundant from a job I loved, obtaining a job I hated, entering a period of lowness and the ending of the relationship.

    My ex had issues with depression and, perhaps rightly, couldn’t handle mine as well (not when she had her kids to think about).

    I, sincerely, hope that you and CBG make it through this rough patch. Remember the good times and just how good they were and how the attainment of those good times again will make these challenging times fade into insignificance.

    Sending best wishes from this side of the Atlantic for you both.

  9. […] can’t solve anyone else’s problems but my own. I can’t help anyone else see what they need to do in order to feel better and […]

  10. […] one thing I learned from my own struggle with depression is that there’s not really anything that anyone else can do. Sure, I can love him and do my best to prop him up when things seem really bad, but the only person […]

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