Once upon a time, I was dating a truly wonderful guy. I hadn't written a list down for the partner I was looking for at that time but, if I had, he would have been the whole thing. He treated me like a Queen, was romantic without me asking, loved me and had his shit together. He was fantastic. Yet, I constantly complained to him about him not doing this or that enough. When we broke up, he told me he felt like nothing he did was enough. It wasn't. However, it wasn't because of something he wasn't doing. It was because of something I wasn't doing.
I hear from clients and friends alike about guys not giving them what they need. I understand their frustration. In my twenties I felt this about EVERYONE I dated. I would complain to every boyfriend that he needed to make me feel wanted, beautiful, loved, smart, popular, cool, etc. Here's the secret: no one could ever make me feel those things because I wasn't already making myself feel those things first. Right now, you might be like, "wait..but our partners are supposed to love us, shower us with affection and make us feel like a million bucks." No, they aren't. Your partner is there to add to your life. Remember they are the cherry to your sundae. They are not the ice cream. You are the MF'ing ice cream. Your partner will only be able to add to what you're already feeling.
We have been programmed to rely on outside validation to make us feel good. It keeps us in a suffering miserable state and wanting to buy more quick fixes to fix ourselves. This mentality helps keep the consumer culture rolling. However, we are actually in charge of validating ourselves. Not a lot of us learned how to do it because as kids we were constantly being told our natural inclinations were wrong and we all want to be loved so, we shoved our perceived negative qualities into our soul closet and locked the door. We fractured our personality into good traits (things that got us love and attention as children) and bad traits (things that didn't). We did this in effort to present as perfect and if we present as perfect than heck we just might get the love we needed. It's no wonder then when we go into our adult lives we demand our friends and partners to make us feel worthy. We have NO idea how to do this ourselves. It leads to putting people on pedestals and we tell ourselves, when this person thinks I'm fill in the blank, then and only then, will I be worthy of love and feel good about myself. No way jose.
Your partner cannot make you feel the things you're asking him to make you feel with those kind of programs being run in your life. It's impossible. No matter how hard they will try you will feel like it's not enough. It isn't enough. My aforementioned ex wasn't enough for me and neither was anyone else I dated in my twenties. Why? I wasn't enough for me yet. I had to learn how to stop grasping outside of myself desperately seeking love and acceptance, pull my seeking in and find it all within myself. When I started to do THAT, than I was able to meet a partner who added to making me feel loved, adored, sexy, seen, respected, smart, the only woman on the planet, etc. Do you know how he was able to do this? It had nothing to do with him. It's because I already was giving those things to myself. I loved, adored, respected and saw myself. I met my own needs and then got to enjoy a really delicious, juicy cherry that made my already kickass sundae, even yummier.
So, if you feel like you keep getting into relationships and complaining to the partner or your friends that he isn't giving you enough blank, I beg of you to look in a mirror. Replace his name with your own and repeat, "I, name, am not giving myself blank. I cannot get blank from my partner if I'm not giving it to myself first. I will stop looking to my partner to make me feel blank and instead look inside of me to do it. I am fully capable of meeting my own needs." And then, get to work.
Here's an exercise to get started:
Make a list of all the needs not being met by your current partner or if you're single all the needs your ex partner didn't meet. Get really honest and list every little thing. This is the list of things you need to work on giving yourself. But, before you do, you need to investigate where this depriving yourself of these needs started. Take each item and try to find it's root. I ask, "Shadow, when did blank come about? Or Shadow when did I learn blank? or Shadow, who taught me blank?. Free write, meaning keep writing without any thought of what you're writing (it's like a brain dump so, just keep the pen moving) until your answers start to come up. When you find the root, close your eyes and imagine yourself back in the situation your shadow brought to you. See the situation playing out in your minds eye but this time I want you to stand up for yourself or get what you needed out of the situation. For example; when I was 12 my then Step Dad told me I was chubby and I needed to lose weight. It caused me a lot of strife and body shame for a long time. When I do this, I imagine my 12 year old self telling him that his comment is hurtful, untrue and has more to do with his own insecurity than anything to do with me. I also imagine the highest self of the other person answering me and offering me it is what I needed. So, I imagine my Step Dad being kind and saying he was sorry, he cares for my health and he loves me. After working through these items and their roots, list out one action you can do to make yourself start to feel what you've been lacking.
If you're feeling stuck or unsure of where to get started, I would love to help guide you.