What does self-love mean to you? Self-love is complicated. It’s not always self-like. In my opinion, it’s not looking in the mirror and declaring that I’m happy with every single part of me—that’s unrealistic. But it is knowing that I am a complex being whose needs evolve daily, and that’s a beautiful thing. And as complicated as it is to find happiness in you as a person, it’s a must end-goal for a healthy relationship.
Self-love is not easy, and no one is perfect at it. Setbacks and negative life experiences can cause us to believe we are unlovable, that there is “something wrong with me." But if we learn from past experiences, we can regain control of everything we have to offer in life and with others.
Finding yourself means soul-searching the peaks and valleys of your life and seeing them as a necessary part of your growth. Having the ability to self-reflect means being comfortable spending time with yourself, devoid of shame and judgment, to work on you—your insecurities, strengths, flaws, and the valuable contributions that you have to offer to yourself and others. The ability to truly find happiness and love in yourself makes you more confident and self-assured in your love for others. We can only be good for others when we are good to ourselves.
Here are six things to conquer in order to achieve self-love as the new #relationshipgoal:
1. Partners treat you the way they see you treat yourself. Say goodbye to neediness, insecurity, and jealousy. With self-love, you’ll show up in relationships as a strong, confident, and secure person. You’ll feel whole, which will end the need for external validation. You’ll love from a place of feeling fulfilled, rather than a place of feeling empty, and you’ll understand your needs, which will help you communicate effectively with your partner. When you truly love yourself, you’ll know what boundaries you need to set, what you’ll put up with, and when to walk away. You’ll show up as an empowered person and healthy partner when you embody self-love.
2. More self-love will attract healthier relationships. When you truly love yourself, you shift your energy and begin to attract better lifelong mates—individuals who are worthy of your love. Think about it: like attracts like. If you’re experiencing a depleted sense of self-love, you will attract people with the same depletion and the potential for being taken advantage of. On the other hand, if you have a radical sense of self-love, you will attract partners with the same attitude. Remember, you must be what you want to attract, so if you want better, be better.
3. A relationship should be a partnership, not a codependent situation. Codependency is virtually impossible when you have high regard for yourself. You are capable and strong enough to stand on your own two feet. When partners lack self-love, the quality of the relationship becomes frail and wrought with mistrust. In order to get your needs filled, you become fixated on depending on your partner to assuage your insecurities and reassure you. The problem with this dynamic is that it sets your partner up for failure when they inevitably miss bids for your unrealistic expectations.
4. No one can make you happy the way you can make yourself happy. It’s true: Who knows you better than you know yourself? When you practice how to make yourself happy, you’re better able to communicate to your partner how they can contribute to your happiness. When you put unwanted pressure on others to be responsible for your needs and insecurities, that kind of pressure is unfair and will end up damaging the relationship. On the other hand, you can get so wrapped up in being the perfect girlfriend, husband, etc., that you forget about your own needs and desires. If you become too caught up in the other person, you end up compromising too much. The solution? Be yourself and love yourself from the beginning. Know your virtue, and don’t be afraid to let your light shine. With this, whoever you attract is loving you for you, and not a compromised version of yourself.
5. Understand and accept that you cannot depend on other people to make you feel loved. Depending on others to make you feel loved can result in an unhealthy relationship, not only with other people but also with yourself. This is the same idea as “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Envision filling yourself up with love from the inside-out, and you will pour an overabundance of love in your relationship with others.
6. People treat you the way they see you treat yourself. You’ll know your worth. You’ll know exactly how you want to be treated, and you won’t settle for less than you deserve. By showing yourself love, you set the tone for how you want your loved one to treat you. Simply put, when you treat yourself with love, compassion, forgiveness, and respect, your significant other will treat you the same.
A happily ever after is possible... but it starts with you. When you fuel up on self-love, the types of people you attract, the quality of your relationships, and the way you contribute to the relationship sets both partners up for long-term success.
To sum this all up? Self-love plays a pretty big role in your relationships with others. When you shift your mindset to view your relationship with yourself just like any other relationship you desire with someone else, your relationship will thrive. Don’t forget that the relationship you have with yourself is the one relationship that you know for sure you’re going to have for the rest of life, so why not make it the best relationship you’ve got?
“You owe yourself the love you so freely give to others” —Unknown