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Are you giving yourself in relationships? 

Haven’t really thought about it? That makes sense. Why would you consider this unless you’ve been prompted to do so? Unless you are one of those who is forever keeping score, giving is something you probably do naturally.

Love nudges us in the direction of contribution. When we’re in love it seems we want to give our lovers everything! But I believe to really give in a relationship is to be our authentic selves.

To show our partner who we are is a statement of trust for them. That is the ultimate form of giving. It is important that the person sharing our life is allowed to know us, to see us. We cannot really be loved or love, if we are afraid to reveal ourselves.

When we refuse to invite our significant partners into our worlds, the question then becomes, who are they in love with?

So many of us enter relations hiding from our partner, when the truth is that we’ve got to show up! We’ve got to be ourselves in the world and in our relationships to truly be loved by anyone.

One of the reasons this is not happening is because many of us do not feel worthy. We lean towards the thought that they won’t like what they see, and that usually means we don’t like something about ourselves. These thoughts occupy our minds when we think we are not enough. Our fears bombard our thoughts and we believe being who we are is going to be a deal breaker. Yet attempting to keep our selves a secret is impossible.

Remember how you were before you began to really like the person you are now trying to hide from? You were probably just being you: the person they fell in love with. We begin to love our mates for who they’ve demonstrated they are, not for what they think they must be. What happened to cause you to make such a debilitating shift? These are questions for you to ponder.

Your current relationship may be working just fine, but if you are hiding little facets of you from the woman or man you are in love with, then you are withholding a major contribution: You!

To contribute you’ve got to love yourself first. Try these tips to walk your personal labyrinth to self-love.

Truth: Be honest with yourself and others

Courage: Take a deep breath and face your fears. (Remember, you created them.)

Faith: Believe in something higher then yourself.

Trust: Confident expectation of yourself.

Dr. Lateefah Wielenga works as a life and relationship coach and is also an ordained minister. She has a private practice in Long Beach. Call 895-0516 or visit www.thecounselingkitchen.com for details.

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