One of the most common reasons people seek therapy is problems in their relationship. From communication issues and conflict management to intimacy, sex and fidelity concerns, relationships are filled with opportunities for self-growth.
And this, from the perspective of Buddhist psychology, is the key to it all: wanting to grow and evolve into your highest self. Relationships trigger the deepest issues in all of us, touching on problems and patterns we first experienced as young children. Issues with attachment, codependency and autonomy seem to abound, with so many of us trying to navigate the waters of long-term monogamy or marriage.
The Buddha said “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” So many of us seek fulfillment in someone else; we look to our partners to make us feel whole and complete, loved and cared for. In doing so, we completely disempower ourselves! We leave it to somebody else to make us feel worthy.
Self-love is certainly not a magic bullet for all of one’s relationship problems. Communication and conflict management are skills to be learned, and one’s intimate life doesn’t grow or deepen without a concerted effort and a willingness to put in the work. But working on these issues from a place of self-love, with a solid foundation in place, is most certainly helpful.