Love, acceptance, respect, security and passion are basics most people want on Valentine’s Day. We’re taught from an early age that being a couple is more desirable than being single. However, the journey to find a partner can be difficult and often we lose sight of our own emotional safety. Loving yourself and feeling safe with your emotions and life are the place to start. Staying true to yourself helps you find a healthy relationship.
Use this checklist to evaluate your relationship and as a guide when dating
U vs. us
- In true love, the development of self is most important. Both parties should want the best for one another.
- In toxic love, the primary focus is on the relationship itself, sometimes obsessing over how the two people interact.
- In true love, there is comfort in separate interests. We can have our own friends and meaningful relationships outside of our romantic relationships. We can pursue interests and ideas without fear of reprimand.
- In toxic love, there is total involvement in one another’s lives. One can’t go anywhere without the other. This is codependency.
- In true love, there’s no struggle in embracing the individuality of your partner.
- In toxic love, there is an obsession with trying to change your partner into someone you’d rather be with instead of loving them for who they are.
- In true love, intimacy is a free choice that grows from love and trust, caring and friendship.
- In toxic love, sex is something you feel pressured over due to fear, insecurity, and feeling as though you have to conform to the sexual desires of your partner
- In true love, every conversation is constructive, trying to understand and help, or convey affection to your partner.
- In toxic love, conversations are intended to blame, defend or manipulate your partner.
This Valentine’s Day reacquaint yourself with what makes you feel appreciated in your daily relationships. Write yourself a love note with three things you appreciate about yourself and post it on your mirror, so every morning your heart reminds your brain how wonderful you truly are.
Emily Beeckmans is educated as a social worker and is a trauma specialist. As a private practitioner, she strives to educate clients and the public about the importance of emotional health and well-being. Emily offers you a safe place to dig into your thoughts, feelings and life choices.