Follow These Tips To Become More Self-Aware In Your Relationship

As appealing as relationships are, one thing remains true: It takes a lot of work to maintain them. Attraction aside, you and your partner are going to bring your past lives with you. From your childhood to old habits you haven't addressed, they have a way of showing up in your relationship. But, there are times you're not aware of their presence and the effect they have on you or your partner.


For instance, you could have a habit of misdirecting your anger towards loved ones that pushes your partner away. Or, you may think you always know what your partner wants instead of waiting for them to let you know. Frankly, there are numerous ways having a lack of self-awareness in your relationship can cause harm even when it's unintentional.

Intentions are usually meant to be good but they can fall short, especially when you choose not to be accountable for the way something you said or did hurt your partner. But, it doesn't mean things are destined to remain the same. With effort on your part, you can start taking steps that will help you become more self-aware in your relationship.

Slow down and listen to your partner's concerns

When you make the decision to become more self-aware, it doesn't mean you're acknowledging that you're a "bad" person. It's something to consider if your partner wants to have a conversation about certain habits you have that make them feel frustrated. They're not trying to attack you and make you feel like you're the worst person on earth. But, they are trying to express their concerns so you can see things from their standpoint. Your partner may have tried to discuss things with you before only to end up feeling dismissed if you didn't fully listen to them. In an interview with Bustle, Dr. Tasha Eurich, an organizational psychologist, said, "The challenge is how to deal with other people in our lives who don't seem to know they need to improve."


Keeping this in mind, aim to slow down so you can allow yourself to be present when your partner expresses concerns about something you're doing. If it helps, remind yourself that you and your partner are not battling each other, and that the common goal is to have a healthy relationship.

Learn what triggers your responses or habits

Triggers are anything that remind you of something that occurred in your past. They can be related to trauma or a bad experience you had in a former friendship or relationship. You may have dealt with a cheating ex in the past and have a hard time trusting your partner, even if you say you do. In another Bustle article, love and dating expert Dawn Maslar said, "Since a relationship is about becoming vulnerable, trust can be a huge trigger."


If you and your partner notice that you tend to become extremely upset or nervous about certain things, it's important for you to start paying attention to when that happens. Take some time to be curious by noticing how your body responds when you feel yourself getting upset about something. You don't have to figure out why you're being triggered just yet. It's more about being aware that it's happening so you can give yourself time to appropriately respond or remove yourself from the situation.

Don't be afraid to reach out to a therapist

The next step you can take is to make the choice to speak with a therapist. Someone who doesn't have an everyday relationship with you is able to provide a different perspective that you or your partner may not have explored. Whether you feel you're already self-aware or not, a therapist can help you develop tools to maintain your awareness. Dr. Sheri Jacobson told the Harley Therapy Platform, "We are not static — and there is, I believe, always something extra to learn about ourselves, and ways to improve our lives."


Think of therapy as a resource that's meant to help you navigate life given all of the experiences you've had so far. It can not only help you learn more about yourself but it can teach you how to deal with the different relationships in your life. Specifically, you can share what you've learned, including the tools you gain access to, with your partner so they're aware of your self-awareness journey.

Be honest, not mean, when self-reflecting

Negative self-talk can impact you at any given time; no one is exempt from it. Doing the work to become more aware in your relationship is great but you don't have to mentally or emotionally talk down to yourself when reflecting on your past behavior. That's not going to help you welcome self-awareness with open arms nor will it erase what's already taken place. Just like your partner isn't your enemy, you aren't either. Another thing to remember is that self-reflection isn't about focusing on all of the hurtful things. 


It can be another way to think about your strengths and things that matter to you. Therapist Marcelle J. Craig, LMFT, clarified this in an interview with Real Simple. She said, "When you're clear on your values, you know more about what you're seeking [in life] — as well as what you're not." Essentially, your strengths and values serve as a roadmap that can help you understand what kind of relationship you want with your partner and how you want to show up.

Don't be in a rush to improve. Make adjustments slowly

Perhaps one of the most important things to realize about your self-awareness journey is that you don't have to rush to be an improved version of yourself. You are allowed to be a work in progress so take some time to extend grace to yourself as you slowly make changes. In the Washington Post, clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula said, "We are all moving so quickly. And in that quickness, that really drives the stress, the anxiety, the distractions." You don't want to make becoming more aware another task that you have to defeat or accomplish because it's not about that.


It's about being more in tune with yourself, what matters to you, and how these things may affect your loved ones, like your partner for example. If you can take the time to be patient as you learn and unlearn some things, you'll begin to see that your overall journey isn't in vain. That's what makes self-awareness so profound.