Does your relationship need a booster shot?
Are you taking good care of your self?
Are you taking good care of your partner?
Here’s a brief primer that can help kickstart your connection.
Selfless support refers to the energy and attention we place on our partner. It’s about him. Or her. Not me.
Selfless support is easy to ignore. When our relationships feel strained, we can begin to feel self-absorbed and anxious for something in return. Paradoxically, one of the best ways to feel more connected is by paying attention to the needs of your partner. Selfless support refers to each partner’s attention to the emotional well-being of the other partner. Investing in the relationship is one of the best ways for you to reap the dividends!
Generosity, unconditional acceptance, determination, restraint and self-worth; these are the components of selfless support that make enhance connection.
Take this pledge. Remember these rules of selfless support and the underlying principle upon which they are based:
- I will act in your best interest at all times. (generosity)
- What is important to you is important to me. (unconditional acceptance)
- I will do what I say I will do. (determination )
- I will refrain from asking or wondering what I will get out of this. (restraint)
- I will let myself be loved (self-worth)
I will act in your best interest at all times. This statement is one of spirit. A generous nature is one that balances a belief in the partner with a belief in oneself. It does not imply a forgoing of self-interest. Rather, it’s a sense that if you are okay, then I am okay. And vice versa, of course.
What is important to you is important to me. This statement implies an unqualified, nonjudgmental position. These are no absolutes, as there will surely be times or circumstances when life gets in the way and positions must shift to accommodate the moment. The components of this pledge entail the heart, not the head. Sometimes the heart can override the details of the moment, and sometimes, for sure, it must not.
I will do what I say I will do. Follow up is crucial. Words don’t always hold value if they are not followed up with action to support it.
I will refrain from asking or wondering what I will get out of this. Restraint is a form of bigheartedness, especially if you are restraining from anger or contempt. Having control over negative responses is a gracious and selfless stance.
I will let myself be loved. When you allow others to support and give to you, you are at the same time, giving them the pleasure of doing something good for you and allowing yourself the pleasure of receiving it. This is not easy for everyone to do but it is a win-win situation. Our brain’s pleasure centers respond positively which turns the act of giving and receiving into a mutually gratifying experience.
Keeping the principles of selfless support in mind at all times will help you focus on the core of your relationship, rather than the emotional residue that may be contaminating the work you are doing. It will help you consolidate your individual and mutual efforts while you continue to secure your connection.
Adapted from “Tokens of Affection” by Kleiman and Wenzel (Routledge)
Photo credit: Antonio Guillem