The more you know who you are and what’s important, the more likely your relationship will survive. Knowing what anchors you is important to figure out. When you don’t know what matters you may end up expecting your partner to meet those needs for you. Relationships that only cater to one person’s wants are lopsided and don’t work very well over time.
Many people arrive in my office describing themselves as feeling lost or they sound adrift. Everyone needs to know what is important that gives meaning to their lives. For those people who suffer with anxiety being physical can be a very important anchor. If you were a swimming or soccer star in high school and something happens that interrupts your ability to compete, it could be very unraveling. If religion is an anchor and something terrible happens that leaves you doubting God, it can be very difficult. If your partner dies and you’ve defined your life in terms of another person being there, everything can fall apart. So everyone needs a number of anchors because it is inevitable that some will collapse. A partner can only be one of several anchors.
So ask yourself, How do I hold myself together? What matters to me? What makes me feel sparkly and vital? What gives me energy? That’s what makes people so interesting, the vast array of answers. While some people hate reading or don’t read, it can be a wonderful anchor for someone else. Doing something physical is an answer for many people. One of the tests of an anchor is that you miss it or feel off kilter when you don’t do it. Alone time can be crucial for so many people who often hesitate to ask for it. Being in the great outdoors, following the Steelers, golf, gardening, friends, cooking great food for others, attending theatre are only some of the possibilities.
It’s important to find anchors that have nothing to do with your roles as employee/boss, spouse/partner or father/mother. Anchors need to help your life have stability when there are problems at work, with your partner or kids. If you fall in love with somebody you still need time for your anchors. While anchors can change they can never be erased.