If you are like most people, the first thing that comes to mind when you decide to improve your relationship is something that you can do for your partner.
You start to think about getting him tickets to a playoff game, or cooking her your famous lasagna. You might even start researching unique ways to improve your relationship.
Let’s be clear, those things are great. However, the real key to improving your relationship is to start with numero uno. That’s you, by the way.
You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t love anyone else until you love yourself.” Well, it’s true. Loving yourself in a relationship is one of the best things you can do to improve and strengthen your relationship.
Before we get into some strategies you can use to love yourself more, let’s explore why loving yourself is important and what happens when you start loving yourself.
Why Loving Yourself Is Important In a Relationship
There are many reasons why it’s important to love yourself in a relationship. But one of the biggest reasons self-love has an impact on the quality of your partner relationship is because of a psychological term called “projection.”
Projection occurs when you have negative or uncomfortable feelings about yourself that are hard to accept. So, you unconsciously project those feelings onto someone else.
Let’s take a look at what this looks like in the real world. If you don’t love yourself or feel like you’re unworthy of love, then you might feel like your partner doesn’t love you. You may interpret their behavior as proof that they don’t love you.
As you can imagine, all of this can have a pretty significant impact on your relationship. If you’re working to improve your relationship, then it’s important to make loving yourself the first step on your to-do list.
How To Love Yourself & Improve Your Relationship
So, if you’re convinced that self-love is an important part of improving your relationship, how can you go about actually doing it? Use these 5 tips to make loving yourself in a relationship easier.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Grow
I get it. You finally found someone who you love spending time with, and you don’t want to risk changing, because what if that ruins the relationship?
The thing is, one of the biggest markers of a solid relationship is the ability of both partners to reach their highest potential, while together. If one or both partners feels like they are being held back, the relationship will likely fail. In other words, growing and changing as an individual can actually help improve your relationship.
Allow yourself the space to develop to your fullest potential. Live fully and take chances. If the relationship is meant to be, it will grow right along with you.
2. Establish Who You Are Outside Of The Relationship
Relationships that bring together two whole people are much healthier than relationships made of two half people trying to be who the other wants them to be.
Do you like swimming or skiing? Are you interested in drawing, painting, or poetry? Whatever your interests are, make time to indulge in them outside of the relationship. Not only will this brighten your step, but it will also give you something new to talk about when you see your partner again, which can help improve your relationship.
3. Realize That You Did Not Marry Your Mother/Father
I can’t tell you how often people, unconsciously, make this mistake. If you find yourself acting like a child around your partner, it may be that you have some unfinished business with one of your parents.
Therapy can help with this, but, sometimes, all you need is a reminder that you are an adult and your spouse is not your parent (even if he/she may act like it sometimes). Keeping this in mind is one of the simplest ways to improve your relationship.
4. Keep A Gratitude Journal
Numerous studies have shown the far-reaching positive effects of gratitude. Everything from your stress-level to your overall happiness is affected by being grateful. Not surprisingly, this practice can help improve your relationship too.
By keeping a gratitude journal, you are reminding yourself of all of the reasons that you have to be happy, and this happiness will naturally leak out onto your relationship. Try to write 3 things per day that you are grateful for and make at least 1 of them about your partner or relationship.
5. Follow Your Dreams
Happy couples support each other’s hopes and dreams. If you’ve always wanted to learn French, do it! Or, maybe your goal is to race a triathlon.
Whatever it is that you’ve been dreaming of, now is the time to make it happen. Either your relationship will become stronger for it, or you’ll realize he or she wasn’t the one for you. Either way, you win when you start loving yourself.
Improve Your Relationship Even More
If these tips don’t seem like enough to help improve your relationship with your partner or yourself, then you might need a little help in the self-love and happiness department.
If that’s the case, an experienced couples therapist or individual therapist could help you learn to start loving yourself and improve your relationship.