Love Yourself First
Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t love another until you love yourself”? Well, it’s true, and here’s why.
When you don’t love yourself it’s very difficult to be in a relationship with anyone else. There are many reasons for this, but one particularly juicy reason is a psychological term called Projection. Projection occurs when you have uncomfortable feelings that are hard to accept, so you unconsciously project, or place, those feelings onto someone else.
For example, if you are a selfish person but don’t accept or like this quality about yourself, you might end up accusing others of being selfish, mainly because it’s too hard to admit to yourself that you are actually the selfish one. Kind of confusing, I know.
So, let’s look at how this applies to relationships. If you don’t love yourself, you might feel like your partner doesn’t love you either. You project that lack of love onto him instead of accepting that it is actually coming from within.
You might think that he is the one who thinks you are overweight or unworthy when instead it’s really you who thinks these things about yourself. He actually thinks you are amazing!
Unfortunately, you don’t believe him when he tells you that because you don’t believe that about yourself.
As a result, you might push him away and start to distance yourself because you just don’t get how someone like him could possibly love someone like you. Your ego hates to be wrong so it will do everything in it’s power to find evidence to support these limiting beliefs about yourself.
So while all this is going on in your unconscious mind, you start to act on it without even realizing it. You start to self-sabotage and find reasons why he is not good enough for you when in reality it’s you who feels not good enough to be with him.
Crazy right?! The unconscious mind is a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Not loving yourself almost always leads to feeling insecure, and this is likely to make you more prone to jealousy and mistrust. Jealousy and mistrust are relationship killers and make it very difficult for your love to thrive. If your partner hasn’t given you any reason to doubt him, but you still feel the need to check his phone every night, a lack of self-love may be the culprit.
Furthermore, if you are insecure about your body and looks, you will probably be oversensitive to the idea that your partner finds other women attractive. You might find yourself constantly asking for validation or reassurance, which can backfire and actually make you seem less attractive!
As a psychologist, I believe that the best relationships happen when two whole people come together to make a union. This idea of a “better half,” is really flawed, because how can a half a person contribute to a loving relationship? The hole that is left from not loving yourself has your shape on it. It can’t be filled by anyone else.
So, what are some ways to love yourself more?
Watch The Talk
Be mindful of the things that you say to yourself. Notice how often you criticize your own efforts and stop doing it! When you hear yourself say things like, “I’ll never be able to finish this class,” or “I am too slow to run a 5K,” try to turn those into more optimistic thoughts. Praise yourself for whatever you are able to do, and try not to focus so much on what you haven’t done.
Setting boundaries and saying no to things that you don’t really want to do goes a long way toward self-love. In a sense, you are being a good parent to yourself by limiting how much you have to do, and saving your energy for things that bring you joy.
Love Your Flaws
Whether it be emotional or physical flaws, know that they are part of you for a reason. Understand that your flaws show where you have been and made you who you are. Embrace these parts of yourself and know that they are part of what makes you a unique and valuable human being.
If you’re like most people, you are probably thinking “but I don’t love my flaws.” You probably have a list of body parts you would change if you could and you can’t possibly imagine loving them. That’s why I am so excited to introduce my friend Lauren McAulay, an incredible body love and intuitive eating coach and my own personal ambassador of self-love.
I know what an impact self-love and body image issues can have on your relationship and how freeing it can be to put those insecurities to rest. Lauren and her business partner Jenna were gracious enough to put together a free guide to help you ditch the diet, heal your body image, and free up space for you to be your best and most confident self.
Check out their free guide on the homepage of The Body Love Society and be sure to share this article on your favorite social media platform by clicking the share buttons below.