When searching for love, it’s easy to forget about prioritizing the most important person – you!
It is in our nature to desire a loving and compassionate relationship with someone else. We long to find that person who will make us feel accepted, valued, and protected. Oftentimes, we seek love in an effort to feel complete or fill a void we feel exists within ourselves.
But what if we began our search for love by learning to love ourselves first? You may be surprised to find that you don’t need someone else to feel complete. Instead, you need to feel complete before finding someone else to love. Take a good, hard look in the mirror. Are you giving yourself the tender love and care you deserve? When we accept that we are failing to love ourselves well, we will unlock the secret to receiving love from others.
So, how do I start to love myself more?
We’re glad you asked. Let’s break down a few practical (and potentially life-changing) strategies to help you love yourself first.
If you want to learn how to love yourself, it’s time to understand and embrace who you really are.
When you look at yourself, who do you see? Do you see someone who is unique and worthy of value and love? Or do you turn away and feel ashamed or uncomfortable?
We now live in a world filled with curated social media feeds, highly edited profiles, and constant comparisons to unrealistic standards. This can cause us to try and become an idealized version of who we assume other people want us to be. Unfortunately, you’ll never find true love if you’re never your true self. How can someone love a person that doesn’t actually exist underneath it all?
Embrace who you really are, “flaws” and all. When you stop trying to chase what you are not, you can start learning to love the real you with honesty and acceptance.
Whether we mean to or not, we are often our own worst critics. Our judgments range from how we look to the decisions we make. Self-deprecating thoughts and opinions plague our day and make us wonder, If I don’t love myself, how will anyone else?
Unfortunately, our self-criticism tends to be far more hostile and out of proportion than it should be. We are incredibly talented at making the slightest doubts or minor stumbles the center of our attention.
So when negative self-talk arises, stop and ask yourself: How can I give myself a bit more grace today?
Think of someone you love dearly. Now consider the grace you extend to them when they make a mistake or let you down. Was it really that big of a deal? Of course not! We forgive others quickly because we love them greatly!
Sure, sometimes we need to be honest with ourselves about missteps here or there. However, make sure you are giving yourself the same amount of grace and forgiveness that you often extend to others. You deserve it!
Want a practical technique to help you love yourself more? Try shifting your mindset, and become someone who sees themselves as deserving of love.
It’s easy to feel alone and isolated when we look around and see friends or family enjoying healthy, thriving relationships.A mindset shift may be just what you need. Our advice? Try the method of inversion. When you think of a reason why you don’t deserve to be loved, say the opposite out loud:
Invert “I’m not beautiful enough for a loving relationship.”
into “I deserve a loving relationship because I am a beautiful person inside and out!”
Invert “My current life situation is pushing people away.”
into “I have the freedom and opportunity to invite someone into my life to offer me love and affection.”
It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe the inverse statements at the moment. What matters is the power of speaking these truths to yourself.
Over time, as you continue practicing inverting negative self-talk, you will find that you have more to offer another person than you ever thought possible. You are worthy of love, and you are worthy of believing that you are! Put these statements out into the universe, and the law of attraction will help guide the right person your way.
So far, we have focused on the various ways that we can impact ourselves through our thoughts and actions. However, what if our lack of self-love and compassion is due to those we keep in our lives?
Think through the list of individuals that you surround yourself with each day. They may be family, friends, or even a potential partner.
Now, ask yourself a few essential questions to gain clarity:
It should come as no surprise that we are affected by the energies of those around us. Think of a great conversation you had with a friend recently over a cup of coffee, during a night out, or even a FaceTime catch-up session. How did you feel afterward? When we feel connected, accepted, and loved, our spirits soar, and we feel valued.
The opposite is also true. If the relationships in your life are sources of negativity, they will have reverberating effects throughout all aspects of it. Sometimes the best way to love yourself is to say “Goodbye!” and move on.
Whether it is a temporary separation to allow the other person to heal or a long-term break for your wellbeing, it’s important to remember that life is too precious to be filled with those who lead lives of negativity.
When searching for love, the best place to start isn’t the latest swipe app or nearest bar – it is within yourself. Start by learning to love that unique and beautiful person you see in the mirror every day.
Changing your mindset toward loving yourself more doesn’t happen overnight. It requires boldness, acceptance, and confidence. For most, radically altering years of negative self-talk and replacing it with compassion requires starting with baby steps.
Continue to refer to the steps above, and try to implement one (or all) in a small way each day. The magic of self-loves comes over time. The process may seem strange at first, but over time, loving yourself will become second nature.
An individual who loves him or herself, can’t help but draw others in. True confidence is extremely attractive. People enjoy being around enjoyable people – and those who love themselves enjoy themselves the most! Give it a shot, and let us know your thoughts. How have you seen your self-love journey impact the success of your relationships?
Hi, I’m Raghed!
Founder and lead relationship coach at HeartAppeal.
Our blog will be your new favorite place to go for advice, laughs, and comfort through all the stages of dating. We stay up-to-date on all the latest dating trends, so you don’t have to. Have a topic you’d like us to cover or a story you’d like to share with our community? Send me an email; we’d love to include it!