Whether we are single or in a committed relationship, self-love is important in both situations. Being single for a certain amount of time has advantages. It could be the perfect opportunity to work on ourselves and achieve growth and self-awareness. A disadvantage could be the lonely moments that being single entails. However, there can be lonely moments in relationships too, which is usually a sign that things don’t work out as they should. Being lonely can also act as a catalyst to do some necessary inner work.
Without a healthy amount of self-love, we tend to take our insecurities into our relationships without examining them. There is also the danger to expect our partner to be the fulfillment for anything in our lives that feels empty. When this does not work, we are disappointed and look for new love. Instead of looking inwards, we expect a solution from the outside. Like a merry-go-round we repeat the same pattern, hoping for a different result, knowing full well that this does not make any sense. Practicing self-love and doing the inner work can help us to get out of this trap.
No matter where we are at, single or in a relationship, it is important to take stock and find out what is working for us and what is keeping us in a numb state of just getting by. Self-love is a practice that allows us to check out habits and choices, patterns and thought processes. Some may be helpful, while others may be causing us pain and blocking us from getting what we really want. With self-love we can be truly ready and receptive of a harmonious, long-lasting, and healthy relationship.
Let us dive right into the reasons. Remember, these are things to consider and are not meant to be an exhaustive list or the solution for everything. Read on with an open mind and I hope I can inspire you to practice some steps of self-love.
1. Being Independent
Being independent is good in both instances, being single and in a relationship. Nothing pushes people further away as a clingy and needy partner. This is true for co-workers, friendships as well as for intimate relationships. If we can be happy and content within ourselves, we feel a lot better when we are on our own and when we are with other people. The idea is to complement rather than to complete each other.
This doesn’t mean that it is not nice to be with someone. We can still enjoy someone’s company when we are independent. We can graciously accept their compliments and confessions of love too, when we know that they also come from a place of independence. Yes, being independent is a lot more attractive than being needy with low self-esteem. If we are feeling empty inside, it is best to practice self-love to increase our sense of self and worthiness. Once we feel comfortable with ourselves, it is a lot easier to see and appreciate others exactly who they are.
2. Healthy Boundaries
Ah, the boundaries! Most of us would have heard about this concept before. It refers to the invisible but tangible limits that we have in place in order to interact with others. How strict these boundaries are, depends on a range of things. However, some people are on the extreme ends of the spectrum, which makes dealing with them difficult. People at one extreme allow others to walk all over them as if they were a doormat. On the other extreme, people have super strict boundaries, making them socially awkward and they can appear hostile to others.
Being on the strict end of the spectrum can sometimes even result in people staying single, because their boundaries are so rigid and self-protective that they don’t allow for a true partnership. If people hover at the lax end of the scale, chances are that others don’t take them seriously and for granted. Eventually it can lead to one of the partners to be so fed up that they leave. Healthy boundaries, just like independence, are best built on solid self-love. Self-love can prevent drifting into the extreme ends of the spectrum and being grounded in the healthier middle.
3. Value Yourself
Whether we are in a relationship or happily single, the ability to value ourselves is deeply rooted in our own self-love. No one from the outside can give value to us, not even our mums. Sure, they can love us with all their might, but if we don’t value ourselves, we won’t believe them anyway. Essentially, we’ll become annoying attention seekers, because there cannot be enough validation from the outside to satisfy the hunger for our own validation.
Again, we need practice self-love to eventually reach the point of saturation. It will make our lives so much more pleasant and it will also help to attract love from the outside. That is the funny thing about the concept of self-love, we will get more love from the outside when we have finally learnt to love ourselves from the inside. Then we become the vessel that can receive true love, instead of settling for someone who doesn’t value us and doesn’t treat us well or smothers us with fake love to satisfy their own unworthiness.
4. Confidence Is Sexy
That’s right. I even have scientific evidence from my own psychology experiments for my PhD to suggest that confidence comes across as attractive. People want to be around confident men and women. It gives reassurance that they know what they are doing and can stand on their own two feet. They won’t be a burden, which is probably where it comes from in an evolutionary sense. Someone who is a burden to the tribe can endanger the whole group. Hence, confidence is a good quality to have.
Luckily, confidence can be learnt, and self-love will be a valuable tool to help us get there. Some people confuse confidence with arrogance. Arrogance is obviously not attractive, but arrogance is also not the same as confidence. In fact, arrogance is insecurity in disguise. Most people see right through arrogant behaviour and are repelled immediately. Confident people though, are quieter, don’t need to trumpet out loud how good they are. They just confidently do their own thing or step it up to become charismatic leaders. Their confidence is built on a solid self-loving foundation.
More than anything else, the path that leads to being confident involves practising self-love. From there, we can be confidently open to lasting love.
5. Healthy Belief System
An unhealthy belief system sets us up for failure in all aspects of our lives, and especially in relationships, if we even get that far.
Everyone has certain ingrained, often limiting beliefs. We develop them influenced by our genetics, but mostly through our experiences. This belief system is often based on our interests, desires, and fears. For instance, if we are afraid of rejection, all we attract, is being rejected. Many people can tell us how wonderful we are, but we won’t believe it. With our selective attention, shaped by our belief system, we only see that one person that doesn’t seem to like us.
Because our reality is shaped by our belief system we think and behave in a way – and often unconsciously – that confirms our belief system. That’s why it is so important to work on ourselves and to challenge our automated thoughts and limiting beliefs. Again, the practice of self-love can be very helpful in unravelling those thought habits and belief patterns that no longer serve us.
One of the best self-love tools to do on our own is to keep a gratitude journal. It helps to focus on the good in our lives and retrains our brain to think differently. Surprisingly quickly our world can change for the better including attracting better relationships or improving the one we are in.