SELF-LOVE: The key to long lasting love with Jen & Adam
Today, I am honored (& freakin' thrilled) to have Jen and Adam on The Love Series. Seriously. Jen, a life coach (my life coach) and expert on self-love and self-care, and her husband Adam (who is equally as awesome) will be taking us on a walk through the way they weave these practices into their daily lives. Before we get started here's a little more info about the topic....
WHAT ARE SELF-CARE & SELF-LOVE ANYWAY?
First thing's first, let's not confuse self-love with self-centeredness or selfishness. Self-love often involves service and looking beyond the ego to deepen our own inner awareness to create more inner peace (Lippitt, 2009). Argueably, when we fail to meet our own needs, our subconscious continues to remind us that we've neglected ourselves through stress, anger, sadness, insecurity, and fear of failure (Nathan, 2005).
When I first started navigating the world of self-love and self-care, I generally took time to do a lot of surface things: more baths, more outside time, more facials and pedicures. Generally, I made more time for myself so I could authentically give my time to others without feeling neglected. But as I pushed the limits with self-care and started to feel better, I knew I wanted more. I craved the feeling of being more comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to break open. That's when things got a little harder. I started talking to trusted individuals (i.e. Jen, and other spiritual mentors in my life), reading, and taking a look at my inner most thoughts, perspectives, and memories.
I would love to tell you that I always felt great, but the truth is until I began to become vulnerable with the pain I had hidden in the corners of my heart, nothing changed. There were lots of tears, lots of self-loathing, and speaking as a human being, I think that's a big part of self-love. (One of my friends likes to call these "gifts.") :)
I finally feel like I'm in a place where I'm a little more healed. I know how to better love and forgive the parts of myself that once seemed unlovable a little better, and that has opened lots of doors to show up with way more love and compassion for others.
In my experience, self-love is the gateway to loving others deeply. But let's hear it from a couple who knows. Without further adeiu, meet Jen & Adam!
HOW THEY MET
We became friends during our sophomore year of high school, but we actually met way before that. In 8th grade, we went to the same school together for the year that I (Jen) was there, but then I moved and we didn’t go to the same school again until later in high school. When we started dating during our junior year, we realized we had the same t-shirt for the 5th grade honors chorus with our names on the back. So our paths actually crossed back in elementary school! All of this is pretty surreal being that I (Jen) grew up in foster care and moved so much. It’s really neat to see that Adam was always there in a way.
JEN'S BELIEFS ABOUT SELF-LOVE & SELF-CARE
As a life coach, I am all about that self-love and self-care. When we take care of ourselves from the inside-out, we have energy left to love on other areas of our life. So many of us are striving for balance, but really, when we take care of our thoughts and when we tend to our needs and wants, we end up feeling deeply cared for and loved, and that leads to creating more fulfillment and joy in other areas in our lives too, like our family, friends, experiences, hobbies, work, and home life. Self-care and self-love is a practice for listening within, checking in with ourselves daily, exploring our core values and vision, and really saying that we are worthy of exploring what we want.
HOW THEY PRACTICE SELF-LOVE & SELF-CARE
We both share a belief that we show up as our best in our relationship when we take time out to explore and do the things we each love separately as individuals as well as together in our relationship. So, for me (Jen) it’s having a wine and cheese night at my house with the girls while Adam is out playing poker or grabbing a bite with his friends. Or it’s Adam spending the day golfing, while I lay low at home in my PJs and catch up on my favorite shows (Bachelor anyone??). Self-care and self-love in our relationship is taking care of ourselves as individuals so we can be a rock solid team together. It’s having hard conversations in a loving, respectful way.
SELF-LOVE & SELF-CARE CAN BE MESSY... HOW DO YOU SUPPORT YOUR PARTNER IN THE PROCESS?
Well, that is a really great question, and honestly, we have been through some very tough times. But when confronted with challenges, we lean into really showing up for each other with honesty around where we are at, and also really taking each other along the ride. Sometimes when confronted with a struggle, the natural instinct can be to revert inward and deal with it solo, but the best part about our marriage is leaning into each other and sharing where we are at. Coming out on the other side of any struggle requires work, and we have always been committed to that work together as a team.
HOW THEY CHOOSE EACH OTHER EVERYDAY
We do our best to speak each other's love languages (Adam's is Acts of Service and Jen’s is Physical Touch). We pursue the things that make each other happy, try out new activities and interests that the other is curious about, and just make an overall effort daily to communicate and always listen to each other.
HOW THEY GROW INDIVIDUALLY WITHOUT GROWING APART
We have just always really valued and respected each other’s individuality. Even back when we were seniors in high school deciding on where to go to college, Adam wanted to go to a big 10 university, and Jen wanted a smaller school vibe. So we each did our own thing and went to separate colleges- and what a great decision for us. Now, as 30-somethings, it is so fun to have our respective groups of college friends to hang out with- it’s more people in our lives to connect with!
SELF-LOVE & SELF-CARE DATE IDEAS THEY LOVE
Going on dates, traveling, and having fun, new experiences together is a part of our self-care as a couple. If feels great to get out and spend time together. For any couple wanting to embed some self-care on their dates, it really starts with looking inward and seeing what you personally want to do. Do you want to check out a concert or new band? Do you want to travel somewhere exotic? Adam recently said he wanted to go skiing, and so we planned a trip to Breckenridge to do just that. Self-care and dating go hand in hand because it is all about honoring your own core interests and expressing and sharing them out with with your partner. Our favorite dates have been going to Lollapalooza and Pitch Fork, camping together, and traveling to Greece (one of our all time favorite trips!)
JEN & ADAM'S "BUCKET LIST"
Ohhh this is so fun! We have both been to Australia and Morocco separately and would like to head back to take each other someday. We also want to get more involved with supporting foster youth as well as training our puppy to be a therapy dog!
ADVICE FOR ANYONE LOOKING FOR A HAPPIER/HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIP
Grow together. Change together. Bring each other in to your wants and dreams. Do nice things for each other. Talk to each other. Share your fears. Share your heart. And protect it too.
I hoped their interview, story, and photos gave you as much inspiration as it gave me. That long lasting relationships do exists, real love does take work, and people are still in it for the long haul. If you loved it all, don't stop here... sign up for the newsletter to learn about more things like this, or leave a comment below!
If you need more in the self-love and self-care department, head on over to hang out with Jen on her virtual space on the internet!
1. Lippitt, J. (2009). True self-love and true self-sacrifice. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 66(3), 125-138. doi:10.1007/s11153-009-9201-5
2. Nathan, S. (2005). The art of making relationships: Win the world by using relationship: building techniques. New York: IUniverse.