How being selfish leads to healthy relationships

Header image for the article How being selfish leads to healthy relationships Credit: ISTOCK (MASSONSTOCK)
Healthy relationships start from within.

Selfishness. This is required for all of us to truly love ourselves. Selfishness to take the time to discover yourself, your likes and dislikes, your wants and needs, your turn-ons and turn-offs. For the longest time the idea of ‘selfishness’ has been branded as taboo or negative. Albeit, anything in excess can most definitely be categorized as negative, but a healthy, moderate expression of selfishness in our lives will actually help to propel our quality of life.

Does it not make sense that your deepest, most understanding relationships are those with the ones whom we spend the most time? Our families, our friends, even our co-workers to some extent. These relationships generally provide us with the greatest sense of comfort, and yet, there is one significant relationship we often take for granted.

We should feel comfortable in our own skin, laying our insecurities to rest, breathing easy when in our own company. That sense of calmness in private should extend to our relationships in public. Understanding and accepting ourselves allows us greater control to receive the things we want from relationships. Compromise is still needed, but not to the detriment of your physical and emotional health.

Sometimes I think we forget the positive side of influence. Sometimes people get written off when the first sign of opposition or misalignment arise. Those moments of differing opinions between lovers does not need to be catastrophic. Rather, we should look at those moments as opportunities to learn about one another, or as opportunities to influence a change of perspective that prior to that moment had never been considered in one another.

The theme here is openness. Open to opinions contrary to your own, but confident in your self-love to recognize that consideration of foreign ideas does not mean that you are abandoning your beliefs or ideals.

Understand that perfection is not the goal. No individual is perfect, and thus should realistically not expect the same from a partner. That being said, the ability and ease in which individuals in a relationship can communicate with one another is one of the best ways to identify where on the spectrum of self-love you may be.

If you find yourself in positions where you’re afraid to voice yourself, tell the truth, or disagree with a loved one for fear of proven negative responses, then it is probably a good sign that some work needs to be done. In truly committed relationships, couples are able to speak to one another about things, confident that even if what you say is contradictory to that of your partner, that what follows is not an experience which leaves you feeling worth less than you did before the conversation began. Compromise comes from love, but can also be born out of fear, so be aware. A healthy relationship is one that doesn’t invite judgment, but advocates understanding.

There is power in detachment and independence. When we are in love we love to be with the one we’re with. But moderation is key. What is meant here is that things, activities, hobbies, should still exist that each of you can do independently of one another.

Not to say those experiences can never be shared, but everything that is yours need not be your partner’s too. You like to dance, they like to play sports. Split the time. On occasion, join your partner at their desired hobby, but understand and release the reigns to allow your partner to enjoy something they enjoyed before meeting you, without you. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as well as cultivates the foundation upon which your relationship grows.

Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.