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How You Feel About Yourself is Contagious

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Scott and Kacey had been married for five years. When she emailed me for a consultation she was desperate, anxious, and afraid. Scott had said the unthinkable to his wife, and to be honest, I was angry with him before ever even speaking to him. Scott had told Kacey she’d let herself go and he was no longer attracted to her. Kacey told me it had been years since he’d said anything nice or complimentary to her. Clearly, the passion was long since gone. She was afraid he was going to have an affair.

“I’m not attracted to you anymore, you’ve let yourself go.”

Those are fighting words in my book, so when we had our first joint conversation, Scott was already paddling against the current with me. I was prepared to set him straight and help him come to the obvious conclusion that he was a dirtbag.

I will just say for the record right now, that conversation did not end where I thought it would.

The first thing he did was admit he’d said it and confirm it was true. Scott wasn’t exactly turned off by Kacey, but he felt no desire for her. Then he proceeded to start talking.

When the two of them first got together he couldn’t keep his eyes or hands off her. Scott thought Kacey was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She literally took his breath away. However, Kacey had chronic self-esteem issues. She’d been in therapy on and off for years following a battle with an eating disorder. Kacey was constantly putting herself down.

She worked out obsessively. She craved attention, but when she got it, she couldn’t receive it. Scott said for the first two years of their marriage he told her many times every day how beautiful she was and she would argue with him or say he had to say that. Eventually, he quit saying it because he thought it might be making things worse. She clearly didn’t believe him.

He didn’t stop seeing her as beautiful, though, not yet anyway. However, Kacey also didn’t stop. She didn’t stop constantly pointing out her perceived flaws. She cried for days before a high school reunion because of the way she looked. He tried to comfort and reassure her, but she wouldn’t hear it. In their third year of marriage, she got a nose job and a breast augmentation. It took all of their savings. Scott hoped it would help her. It didn’t.

By their fourth year of marriage, even though he still wanted her, she almost completely cut him off sexually. Her body image issues were overtaking their sex life. Kacey wanted to get another plastic surgery to “trim down” her “problem areas”. She wanted to take a loan. Scott said no. At that point, he told me, she seemed to give up.

It had been months since she’d gotten her hair done. She wasn’t dressing up anymore. He felt Kacey was chronically depressed. He admitted shamefully, he was beginning to agree with her about the things she’d been saying all along.

Scott didn’t find her attractive.

After he spilled all that I waited for Kacey to dispute the story, but she didn’t. All she had to say was, she hated the way she looked and always had.

Stating the obvious here, the problem in this marriage wasn’t that Scott didn’t find Kacey attractive. The problem was that Kacey had issues of self-loathing that had escalated to the point of breaking their marriage.

Now I’d like to report that in a super genius coaching moment, I pointed that out, and Kacey had a “come to Jesus moment”, after which he got her hair done and they lived happily ever after. That’s not exactly what happened.
Scott and Kacey are separated. The good news is Kacey has quit going to her personal trainer and is spending that money on therapy. The two of them are committed to their marriage, but both know Kacey needs to work on some stuff on her own.

This is an extreme example of a very common problem.

How you feel about yourself is contagious.

If you are in someone’s space long enough people will eventually grow to see you the way you see yourself. No one else can think you’re beautiful enough to change the way you feel about yourself. There isn’t enough adoration in the world to make you OK if you’re broken inside. Self-hatred is a cancer.

It doesn’t come naturally for a woman to love herself in our society. In fact, things are set up quite the opposite. A lot of huge, money making corporations in the world that control most of what you see out there every day, bank of the fact that you will feel unworthy.

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This is a bold statement, but I’ll say it anyway. If you don’t have the skills to truly love yourself, you might not have much business in a relationship. You are dangerous to yourself and others until you heal. A relationship won’t fix you. Only you can do that.

This story was shared with permission and the names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.

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Lisa Hayes, The Love Whisperer, is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

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