When you talk with your partner, what you say and how you say it tells a great deal about your attitude toward both your partner and yourself. For example, when you listen attentively, you indicate to him or her: I count you. When you clearly state what you want for yourself or what you are feeling, it is a way of saying: I count myself.
When you value or count someone--either yourself or another person--you express a positive set of assumptions about that person’s significance:
- faith in the intention to treat each person as important,
- confidence in the ability to handle situations, or to recognize when help is needed,
- trust in the willingness to follow through on promises,
- belief in the commitment to each person's well-being.
On the other hand, when you discount someone--including yourself--the set of assumptions is just the opposite: lack of faith, confidence, trust and belief.
You do have a choice: you can act in ways which say, “I count myself,” or in ways which say, “I don't count myself.”
The reason you always have a choice is this: your counting attitude is not the same as your feelings. It is not the same as your momentary view of yourself, or even your more stable and enduring self esteem. None of these is the key. Instead, the key is whether you treat yourself as significant, as someone whose intentions, thoughts, feelings, etc., are worth taking into account. The same thing is true about counting your partner.
Your counting attitude seems to grow out of a deeper belief in the fundamental value of every person.