Why Self-Love, Before Shared Love, Is Key
Renowned author and playwright, Oscar Wilde, once said, “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” Whoever comes and goes romantically, you’re stuck with yourself for a lifetime. Loving yourself will certainly make the journey a lot easier. But, beyond the need to love yourself for your day to day happiness, it is vital to recognize that self-acceptance and self-love has to come before shared love if you hope to build a healthy relationship that will stand the test of time.
Before we can ever learn to love someone else, we must first learn to love ourselves.
Many people spend hours every day, obsessing about the things they don’t like about themselves. It is easy to get fixated on small flaws or imperfections. We imagine that other people see those faults just as clearly as we do. In reality, though, others are busy thinking about their flaws and hoping no one is noticing them.
It’s important to know yourself. Take stock of who you are. Be honest about those parts of your personality or life that could use improvement. But, be just as honest about those parts of you that are excellent. Everyone has things they are good at, things they do better than anyone else. Ask yourself these questions:
Where are your strengths?
What do you do better than most people?
What do you do that makes you genuinely happy inside?
What do you do to make those around you happy?
Once you’ve identified your strengths, really own them. Give yourself opportunities to shine. Use your talents to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Enjoy those gifts that you’ve been given and use them to make yourself and others happier.
Once you know your strengths and come to embrace and nourish them, they will become an even bigger part of who you are. You’ll gain confidence in your worth as a human being when you fully understand how unique and extraordinary you are. And, once you truly understand how valuable you are, you’ll be less likely to be envious and jealous of someone else.
Understanding your strengths is a great beginning. But, don’t stop there. If you’re already a member of TriState Black Singles, ask yourself if your strengths are listed on your profile page? Have you clearly laid out the things that make you happy and the ways you enjoy making other people happy, on your profile, as well? These are important areas to be clear about when getting to know someone new, and what better way to make sure they know these important things about you, than to make them an integral part of your online profile? If you’re not a member of TriState Black Singles, there’s no better time to join than now. Be sure to create a complete profile, including all of your strengths and the things that make you happy. A thorough profile attracts more responses and ensures that those who respond to you understand who you are and what you’re looking for.
Nobody’s perfect. Everybody has flaws. That is just a part of being human. We all know it. But, there is more than one way to deal with the parts of ourselves that we’re unhappy with. For starters, we can accept them or change them.
Some flaws need to be changed. If you’re honest with yourself and find that there are things about yourself that you truly dislike, then set about doing the work necessary to make a change. Whether it’s increasing your integrity or improving your health, making a plan for improvement, and sticking to it, will give you a sense of accomplishment. You’ll come to know that you can overcome anything, including yourself.
Sometimes the things we dislike about ourselves either can’t be changed or don’t need to be changed. Perhaps you hate the shape of your chin or the size of your feet. If you allow yourself to dwell on these slight imperfections, you can convince yourself that all anyone sees is your weird chin or giant, clown feet. When the truth is, what they see is your smile and your sense of humor. That is until you bring up flaws and make that the focus of the conversation. Other people don’t want to talk about your faults any more than they want to discuss their Auntie’s sciatica.
Learn to be okay with those things about yourself that you can’t change, and work to change those things about yourself that truly need changing. Maya Angelo said it best, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Learning to be happy with who we are starts with not constantly harping on those things that we dislike. Talk about yourself the way you would about someone else if they could hear you. Say positive and uplifting things. You may find that you want to live up to all the good stuff you hear yourself saying.
Who decides what you’re worth? Who gets to say how you’ll be treated? Who determines the amount of respect you’re due? The answer to all of these questions is simple: you do. And, you set the example by how you treat yourself.
If something is important, you take care of it. That includes you. If you know that your physical and mental health is important, you will feed yourself correctly, take yourself to the doctor, and make sure you get the emotional support that you need. When you take proper care of yourself, you set an example for how others should treat you. You can’t expect them to treat you with more care than you treat yourself. If you want respect from others, respect yourself. If you want to be treated with kindness, treat yourself and others kindly, and refuse to accept anything less in return.
When you’ve trained yourself to expect good treatment, you’ll only accept good treatment from others. People may treat you with unkindness and disrespect on occasion, but if you find yourself being treated badly by someone over and over again, you have the power to decide to not accept it any longer. People can only continue to treat you the way that you allow them to.
When you know what you’re worth and understand all that you have to offer, you can approach a potential relationship with the full knowledge that you bring something of value to the table. You are an important and unique human being. You like yourself enough to spend time alone, until the right person comes along. You are not desperate for companionship. But, you recognize that the right companion will make your life even more full and enjoyable, and you welcome that companion eagerly. Until then, you are content to wait.
By waiting for your right person to come along, you avoid trying to fit yourself to the wrong person, just so you won’t have to be alone. The right partner will recognize your value and enjoy you, just as you are. Being comfortable with yourself means you don’t spend hours worrying that your significant other isn’t calling because they found someone else, or don’t want to spend time with you. The jealousy and petty emotions fade away when you are confident in who you are deep down. The ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, said, “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.”
If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you’re sure to have a hard time loving another person. Self-love allows you the energy to love someone else and gives you the experience to love them well. When you are confident and happy with yourself, you are better able to care for your partner. They, in turn, are better able to focus on you, creating a self-fulfilling cycle of mutual love and care that can last a lifetime.
Another Favorite Quote on Loving Yourself: “It is surprising how many people go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you’re not comfortable within yourself, you can’t be comfortable with others.” – Sidney J. Harris
Do you have a favorite quote about love or the importance of self love? Please Share!