It might be a bit outside your comfort zone to read an article on how to love yourself more. Maybe you find it too new-agey and wonder what it requires. Do I need to cue up Enya? Bust out my crystals? Take a bath?
But, if you’re like most people, you might have a resistance to self-love because you think it is selfish. In reality, it’s actually the opposite. Why? Simply put, loving yourself allows you to better love others. Self-love, self-care, a focus on self —none of it means “Me first, always.” It only means, “Me too.”
The Importance of Self Love
To truly understand the importance of self love in romance, we must look at the context in regards to relationships and dating. One thing that woman often say when in the dating world is that they just “want to be loved.” They want someone to see them – for their strengths and weaknesses, for their good and bad, for their perfections and faults. And they want someone to love them through it all.
The problem with this is that when we look for love outside of ourselves, we forget how to do it ourselves. We get stuck in looking for the external and move further away from self-fulfillment. In essence, self love is the act of filling your own cup instead of relying on someone else to pour.
If you're continually practicing looking outside yourself for the love you desire, it can lead to one of two things, typically. First, you may put up walls because if you haven't practiced witnessing love within yourself, then it may feel oddly unfamiliar when your partner tries to love you. You may get defensive, grow suspicious of them or play games in effort to secretly prove to yourself that they do in fact love you. Embracing self love, on the other hand, can help you avoid this dangerous dynamic and an unhealthy co-dependent relationship.
So, are you loving yourself? Perhaps you don’t know the answer.
Think about this way:
- Can you be with yourself?
- Can you attend to yourself?
- Can you hang out with yourself?
- Do you like your own company?
- Can you be present with yourself?
- Can you slow down and notice what you’re thinking and what is going on with your body?
- Do you have intimacy with yourself in this moment?
The last question is of particular importance: do you accept yourself for who you are in this moment? If you’re in the future thinking about what you could be or you’re stuck in the past thinking about the decisions you’ve made and your long-past regrets, then you’re not actually practicing self-love.
So, how do you practice it genuinely? As a tangible actual practice of self-love every day, it might mean taking a walk out in the park or in nature. It might mean journaling. It might mean hanging out with friends and avoiding the urge to continually think about the things that you have to do in the future and all the stuff that you've got on your to-do list. It might mean being present in the moment with them. It might mean connecting and celebrating your deserving-ness and your worthiness. It might mean taking a class or joining a club for no reason other than you want to.
Practicing being present is setting you up to get to a place of wholeness. But that doesn’t mean self-love doesn’t get boring.
In fact, that’s one of the reasons people throw in the proverbial towel – they get bored and seek ways to distract themselves. But the more you can sustain the boredom, the more you can learn to sit alone with yourself and attend to your self-care. Think of it like looking at a picture – the longer you look at that picture, the more details you start to notice. The longer you can sit with yourself, the more you can attune to yourself – the more details about yourself you can notice.
Miraculously, you may begin to get present to your boundaries, your values, the things you deeply need and want to honor in your life. You can learn about your shame response, your response to anger, your response to joy, your response to amusement. The more you attend to yourself, the more you love yourself in this way, the more definition in your picture. The more nuance, contour, subtlety, fragility and vulnerability. The more you know who you are, the more you can embrace that person.
If you’d like explore this topic further, join us for our next webinar Three Keys to Being Relationship Ready – The Three Keys to Attract In A High Quality Man. Click this link to register now.