Self-love. When you hear the term for the first time, it makes you wonder why there is so much fuss about it! Don’t we all feel love for ourselves?
If you pause for a moment and think about it, you will realize that this is not the case.
You may love parts of yourself but not fully. There are facets of yourself you just cannot tolerate. You manage by ignoring these shortcomings in yourself.
Yes, you can manage your life like that, but at what cost?
Only when you want others to love you, you will realize how this plays out. Isn’t it unfair to expect others to love you unconditionally when you are finding it impossible?
Looking at this from the other end, how do you expect to love another person, when you cannot love yourself wholeheartedly?
You need to learn to love yourself before you can love others or expect others to love you. This is the unvarnished truth, though hard to digest.
Often self-love is afforded negative connotations and this may be the reason why most of us ignore or refrain from it. It is high time we revise our viewpoint on self-love and embrace ourselves with warts and all.
Read on to learn more about why we need to practice self-love without guilt or shame. You will also find here reasons why self-love is vital for the success of relationships and how to make it work.
Why should you love yourself?
Self-love is often portrayed as a selfish and egotistical gesture. And this makes you look down upon others who practice self-love and refrain from loving yourself.
It is time you challenge this age-old theory ingrained in your psyche and take a look at it from a different angle. Let’s explore what loving yourself entails.
It is often said that you are your own worst critic. You rarely appreciate your good traits but you are ever ready to pounce on any of your shortcomings. Loving yourself means acquiring the ability to overcome this behavior and to overlook your imperfections.
When you love yourself, you make yourself your top priority and put your wants and needs above that of others, including the people dearest to you. From this perspective, self-love does seem to be a selfish and self-centered act.
Try to look at self-love from another viewpoint. When you take good care of your wants and needs, you will be happy and content. Isn’t this essential to make others happy? Or can you make others happy, when you are feeling miserable?
Self-love helps you know yourself well as you don’t need to hide your flaws. Here are some more reasons why you should love yourself first before loving others.
- You know how to stay away from undesirable people.
- You learn to communicate better.
- You heal your hurts faster.
- You know when and whom to say “no”.
- You won’t seek approval from others.
- You learn to accept bad days just like you enjoy good days.
- You know that you will always have your back.
- You learn to forgive yourself.
- You are in charge of your life.
- You learn to love others.
Why is self-love important in a relationship?
Loving yourself is vital for you to grow as a person, improve mental health, and form healthy relationships with others. The role of self-love in relationships is easy to understand. Others will treat you well only when you treat yourself well.
Here are some more motivations for practicing self-love in a relationship.
1. Others will regard you with love and respect, only when you do the same.
When you look down upon yourself, you are permitting others to mistreat you. When you love yourself, you will not tolerate others disrespecting you. You will stand up for yourself without hesitation. You would rather walk out of a romantic relationship than tolerate disrespect.
Self-love will open your eyes to incompatible people and unhealthy relationships.
2. You shouldn’t rely on others to feel loved.
Everyone wants to be loved. There is no denying this and this is nothing to be ashamed about. This is fine as long as it doesn’t overrule other conditions and cast a shadow over your life. Your need to be loved should not become be-all-end-all. For example, when you are in unhealthy relationships, you should not overlook the way it is affecting your self-esteem to satisfy your craving to be loved.
The best way to find someone to love you is to love yourself. When you love yourself unconditionally, no one can hold you hostage or take advantage of your need for love. Even if your relationship fails, you will not collapse as you know that you will always have your love and be there for yourself.
3. A codependent relationship is harmful.
Relationships should be on equal footing and should not be one-sided. When you are excessively dependent on your partner to satisfy your needs, the relationship turns toxic in no time. As the relationship progresses, you will get deeper and deeper into the mess and will find yourself unable to extricate yourself from the situation.
When you are in a codependent relationship, you tend to hang on to it despite being aware of how it is harming you. If you love yourself, you will never agree to such a relationship.
4. No one can love you as you can.
It is a simple truth that people give love to get love. This means when others love you, there is some motivation behind it, even if it is harmless. This is true even in the case of the purest of love you can find on the face of the earth.
The only person who can love you without expectations is yourself. All the more reason why you should practice self-love.
How to practice self-love in a relationship?
It is easy to lose yourself and your identity when in a romantic relationship. So, you must be asking yourself, “Where is the space to practice self-love?”
You need to understand at the onset that loving yourself is not something you are doing just for yourself, it is vital for the health of the relationship as well.
If you really want to do something, you can always find a way to make it happen. Self-love included. Here are some ways to love yourself in a relationship.
- Become mindful and raise your self-awareness.
- Hone your artistic talents. Get creative.
- Pay attention to your personal hygiene and appearance.
- Get active and work on your fitness level. Make healthy choices.
- Build on your self-image. Improve your posture and learn to maintain eye contact when interacting with others.
- Volunteer your services and help others without expectations.
- Learn to appreciate your achievements. Desist from seeking validation.
Download our self-love worksheet to increase your self-love exercises.
The absence of self-love can ruin a perfect relationship in the blink of an eye. When you expect your partner to make you happy, entertain you, or make you feel loved and respected, you are putting more stress on your partner and strain on the relationship. Most partners and relationships fail to survive such relentless pressure.
On the other hand, if you are the self-sacrificing kind and focus on making your partner happy and feel respected even as you ignore your need for the same, again your romantic relationship is headed for failure.
When you lose your identity and compromise your wants, you can neither be happy nor make others happy. Instead, try to be yourself and love yourself. The rest will follow naturally.