They say you have to learn to love yourself before you learn to love others. But for those who struggle with mental health issues, hearing this may make them feel inadequate or inferior. So it’s vital to reassure them that although it is important to love yourself first, brokenness does not make you incapable of loving and feeling loved.
You can always use some company while you travel the path to accepting and loving yourself. A reliable support system can help you stay on track. Your family members, friends, mental health professionals, or even your significant other are great support sources.
Your journey to mental stability may not be as smooth as you want it to be. So make sure that you surround yourself with people who are suitable for your progress. Here are qualities you must look for when searching for someone great for both your heart and your mind.
Someone Who Can Understand Your Condition
The first step would be to find someone who can understand you and your condition. A partner should be someone you can confide in, so it is crucial to share health issues before plunging into a romantic relationship.
You don’t have to share your condition right away. You can enjoy the getting-to-know stage first. Once you feel you are ready for the next step, you can begin to open up about your mental health problem.
Sharing your condition does not mean heavily relying on your partner to make you feel better. Instead, your partner can help you go through your journey carefully. Remember, love doesn’t necessarily nor immediately heal you of your issues.
Letting your partner into your life means exposing them to the routines you already have including medications, therapy sessions, and support group meetings.
Someone Who Can Communicate Effectively
A right partner is also someone who can take steps to help you mend your issues. Communication is a critical component in a healthy relationship because it gives each person the liberty to express themselves without judgment. Find a partner who is willing to listen to you.
However, your needs are not the only ones that matter in a relationship. Communication is a two-way street, so be sure to also listen to your partner’s needs. Reflect on the opinion of your partner to know what you can also do to meet their needs. If you have different needs or perspectives, meet halfway if you can.
Communicating with your partner goes beyond merely listening and reflecting on your partner’s words. Notice their gestures and body language. Observe the little things they do when they narrate about their day at work or when they’re raising their concerns about you.
The little things can go far in helping you have an honest connection with each other. Communication also plays a role in avoiding stressful misunderstandings that can damage your mental health.
Someone Who Respects Your Boundaries
Even in intimate relationships, boundaries are essential. Boundaries help in maintaining a sense of self. Love should support you towards self-improvement and mental stability, not take you further away from it.
Preserving your individuality in a relationship avoids developing codependency, which is a toxic behavior that sacrifices your needs to please others. Boundaries in a relationship also ward off feelings of resentment and bitterness. When boundaries are crossed too far and too often, your partner may feel like they no longer have control.
Remember that a relationship should involve a healthy balance of power between the two parties. Don’t let your relationship have an asymmetric power play as this imbalance could lead to toxic or manipulative behavior.
Someone Who Can Lift Your Spirits Up
Self-esteem is also fundamental when taking care of your mental health. You may feel at times that you are inadequate, hopeless, replaceable, or even useless.
But the truth is, those feelings are just a result of your mental health issues. Having a partner to provide you with an external perspective helps you grounded to the reality of your situation.
However, you should remember that your partner is not your therapist or psychiatrist. Seeing them as superheroes who can always save you from a bad day is also dangerous to both of you. Improving your mental health means working on yourself.
Do not expect too much from your partner because they, too, are only human. Too high expectations from them could result in codependency behavior. Instead, build your emotional strength and ask for their support.
Commitment involves the ability to give and to receive. So in the relationship, you are looking for, you are not just a receiver, but also a giver. Try to achieve these traits to provide your partner with someone who is also beneficial for their mental health.
Remember that these qualities are not just for those with mental health disorders. These are also for everyone who wants to keep their mental health in good shape while in a relationship.
If you are already in a relationship and are struggling to care for your mental health, seek help. You may consult counselors or relationship therapists to help you improve your bond with your partner.