"Me" vs. "We" Time: Loving Yourself in a Loving Relationship
Love is an unexplainable feeling. It's something you can't describe, yet it consumes most of our lives. Someway or another, you've fallen in love, you've experienced the worst and the good side of it, but it won't escape you. Creating and trusting relationships is challenging for some and easier for others. Why?
In this world, we face all kinds of relationships, your parents, siblings, and friendships - but the one that may impact you the most is your partner. The one who you promise to love eternally, no matter what. You make promises, spend time with one another, and support each other, but isn't it easy to completely lose yourself?
Loving yourself in a relationship is something that you overlook. It's a feeling some partners may frown upon and maybe even lead to questioning your feelings towards the relationship. And as complicated as it is to find happiness in you as a person, it's a must end-goal for a healthy relationship and key to a long, successful, and beautiful journey with your loved one.
Today at Baesic, we catch up with Noura Al Ali, owner of My Mind My Choice, a specialist in relationship solutions, infidelity support, and self-love. She provides a supportive platform for those who need a friend, a guide, or a therapist.
Al Ali is well-known for guiding individuals to understand the significance of loving and respecting yourself.
1. A little about yourself…
I am a counselor with a Masters's Degree from Touro University and a Bachelors's in Psychology from York University, alongside a Graduate Degree in Behavior Analysis. My specialization is relationships and stretches to mental health as it tends to fall hand in hand.
2. How did your journey begin as a Relationship and Mental Health Therapist? Was there any particular reason you chose this field?
I found myself in various hardships surrounding relationships - now, relationships can go from love connections to family and friends. I realized the heartaches, betrayal, and misleading connections would make my world spiral, and I became keen on figuring out why things work the way they do, why sometimes we ignore red flags, and why we feel insecure some days. Being tossed back and forth into mixtures of different feelings brought something to light for me. I recognized that others feel this way too, and it's difficult for those who don't know psychology or have the surroundings to get support - thus, I connected strongly to help others out. With my knowledge and understanding, it's easier for me to relate to so many feelings. I realized that I went through what I went through not only for self-development but so much more than just that.
3. Today, we are speaking about loving yourself in a loving relationship. We think it's something that many couples misunderstand, where individuals can't differentiate between "we" and "me" time; why do you think this happens?
Couples tend to jump in the honeymoon phase where everything feels good as one, going out, sharing friends, eating, breathing, and working next to each other. Once that chemistry slows down, which naturally it does, everything together suddenly doesn't seem so good, and one partner or both may want space, yet creating that space will now be seen as distance. One partner may feel like the other has stopped putting effort or liking them when in reality, it's just a need for space that wasn't well adjusted to begin with. It's so important to have "me time" because "we time" can become overwhelming and taint the romance in a relationship. The concept of we are "one" is commonly put out as being so in love that you want to merge, not realizing that no, you are two people who share a beautiful connection and feel so close you feel synced. That is my take on why we think there's no differentiation between the two.
4. Some people even consider it wrong to ask for "me" time; how can couples move past this issue? How can an individual approach their partner?
My advice is prevention from the start and creating some boundaries, but if you're already in the habit of doing things together often, then take the time to tell your partner you want them to have a "me" day, the same day you do - this could be an easier start to break the ice. Recommend things your partner likes and get them to go out; meanwhile, you can plan your own "me" day. If it's a problematic situation where your partner feels distance they aren't used to, remind them that they are loved, and how you believe that in the long run, it can create great conversations to have after my day of new thoughts and ideas- this can ease the vibe.
5. What are some other ways individuals can practice self-care in their relationships?
Plan a pamper day for your partner to go out and enjoy their time, have "me days" on the same day as your partners, and plan a day after that to chat about the new things that happened and have some fun clean gossip time together. Self-care can look like seeing a movie you enjoy, having lunch with friends, taking a whole day to sleep it out, checking in with your therapist, doing some mental upkeeping, visiting family, or even working and doing some manifestation practices.
6. How important is "loving yourself" in your relationship? Does it make any impact? Some people think it can cause rifts.
It's essential to work on loving yourself every day; it gives you the feeling of self-actualization, in my opinion. Maslow's Hierarchy of needs states it's the reason we're here in this lifetime - that's the way for us to be satisfied. Self-actualization means to reach your full potential and be happy with that- in order, to do that, you have to face the dark sides of yourself, say hello and agree to be friends, and change their environment. You can learn to love yourself in a relationship just as much as alone; sometimes, your partner can shine a light on things you haven't seen about yourself, and that can always be a good thing depending on how you absorb it.
7. Lastly, what is self-love to you?
Self-love to me is looking at all aspects of me, the good, the intense, and the challenging. Self-love means accepting that I, as a human being, have all sorts of emotions humanely possible; this includes jealousy, anger, envy, caring, loving, or empathy, all to a certain extent and in certain situations. While you may acknowledge these emotions, self-love means actually embracing them too. We need to welcome them and see parts we'd like to improve; maybe with a documentary day, with a group of friends talking about something you want to work on, a day of journaling, a run to clear the mind, a cuddle to talk about your feelings or even a deep breath can go a long way. Self-love to me is any step and any movement that is positively made for me.
If you'd like to reach out to Noura Al Ali, you can contact her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/noura.therapy