Bring it to Barb


Dear Barb,

Lately I have felt a sense of rejection from my husband. He has cancelled plans and been dismissive to my ideas more than usual. When I confront him about being rude or uncaring, his response is that I am too critical and never satisfied or always complaining about something. I am trying to be the best I can be and I know I am not perfect and he tells me that he loves me. Could there be a reason I am being sensitive? Should I worry he is cheating on me?

Afraid of the Truth


Dear Afraid,

There is always the possibility of infidelity, but it would be a giant leap with only dismissive behavior and feelings of rejection as indicators to base this upon. As you know, relationships ebb and flow on a continuous basis.

It seems that you feel a sense of emptiness in your relationship, and this can be filled only by learning to love yourself. Loving yourself isn’t about being conceited. It’s about accepting yourself and not needing to look to outside sources to feel qualified to speak your ideas freely. You have every right to be disappointed when something is cancelled and you’re worthy of love and consideration even if a confrontation might come across as complaining or being critical.

We naturally seek love, respect and acceptance from others, especially those closest to us, and sometimes we feel disappointed when others do not provide the kind of acknowledgement we want. We tend to demand from others what we are unwilling to give ourselves. We can sabotage our relationships by fighting and mistrust and start to believe our partner may leave us and therefore create the exact condition for them to do so.

Even when they buy us flowers or expensive gifts, we tend to think they’re doing it because they “have to” or we’ll become suspicious that they’re cheating. We even wonder what they want from us instead of just taking it at face value.

When you love yourself, you make room for love in your life rather than always searching for ways to get it from others. That’s why I recommend learning to love yourself before trying to “fix” someone or something that’s troubling you.

Loving yourself is hard because nobody knows your mistakes, flaws, and thoughts as much as you do. It’s so easy to beat yourself up when you miss something, forget something, or make a silly mistake, but I challenge you to be patient with yourself.

Believe it or not, there is a serious emotional toll to never giving your mind and body a break. In fact, mental health researchers claim that investing in our health and happiness with self-love will trickle down into other parts of our lives.

When you get ready in the mornings, find at least one thing you genuinely like about your look/outfit that day.

Be focused on what you need; this will help you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, especially from your partner. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs.

People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleepintimacy, healthy social interactions and giving yourself a pep talk every day.

You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that express poorly who you are or how you are feeling.

There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and my life.”

You will love and respect yourself more without even noticing rejection from your husband or anyone else if you live intentionally. When you live with purpose you will make better decisions that support this intention and feel good about yourself when you succeed. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you, sometimes you have to fake it. Give yourself something to look forward to in the future. A trip, a class, a visit from a friend. Complete a project or start a new idea or goal.

Researchers claim that second-hand stress is just as contagious as a cold and we should be wary of the level of anxiety that we allow around us, even from spouses. A recent study claims that our brains act like sponges, literally absorbing the worries, negative emotions, and stress signals that our coworkers, friends, and family members emit. Ever notice when someone is upset and enters a room that before long everybody’s demeanor has changed?

Being sensitive about how differently your husband may be treating you allows you an opportunity for a much-needed conversation, because you love him, not to point a finger.

Along with living intentionally I would suggest you embrace autonomy. Autonomy is powerful. It is the right or condition of self-government, freedom from external control or influence. It’s total independence. It is important for both of you to embrace. Sometimes simple autonomy can make a difference. Autonomy gives you time to breathe and the chance to love yourself. You won’t even notice rejection or dismissiveness. Loving yourself has a tendency to overflow onto others around you and they will naturally gravitate to you. You can only fix you !

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