On the mental health forum where I help people, I see all too often people who do not love themselves who are craving a partner to give them the love and self-worth that is missing within themselves. We cannot rely on others to give us happiness, meaning, self-worth or value in this world. We have to give all of these things to ourselves, first. Otherwise, we attract all the wrong kinds of partners and end up in unhealthy, addictive, co-dependent and dysfunctional relationships. To attract true love and healthy love, one must first love oneself.
If we don’t love ourselves, we end up with people who treat us poorly or less than what we deserve; people will often treat us with disrespect, lack of true love or lack of acceptance. We attract the kinds of partners that are at a similar emotional level as us. If we are mentally and emotionally unhealthy, we will attract an equally unhealthy partner. Then the relationship naturally becomes a dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship. That is not true love, and this relationship will most likely be an unhappy and unfulfilling one that ends in pain. On the opposite end, if we love, respect and value ourselves fully, we attract similar types of partners. This then becomes a very healthy, loving relationship that is well balanced and respectful.
If we don’t respect ourselves first, how can we then expect others to respect us? If we don’t respect and love ourselves first, we are much more willing to accept poor treatment that meets us at the level at which we love or value ourselves. Finding true love starts by loving ourselves first and foremost. We also cannot approach love from an emotionally needy place. That is not healthy love. It is needy and dysfunctional love. We have to be strong on our own two feet first.
So what steps do we need to take and how do we start to love ourselves more?
1. You have to believe in yourself.
People treat you the way you treat yourself, and the way you expect to be treated. This is why we repeat patterns over and over again; we expect something to happen, so it does. This is called a limiting (or dysfunctional) belief.
Think about this concept for a second: If you care about yourself, you won’t stand for someone treating you poorly. It just doesn’t happen; you stand up for yourself (the way you’d stand up for a good friend), and move on. But when your self-worth is lower than it should be, you end up accepting treatment that mirrors that low self-worth. This keeps you stuck in relationships that don’t work for you!
The problem is that most of us don’t treat ourselves the way we treat our friends. The way we think, feel, and behave toward ourselves can be pretty harsh!
In order to find incredible love with another person, you have to love and respect yourself. This means you have to treat yourself the way you want to be treated. Say kind things to yourself, do thoughtful things for yourself, listen to yourself, get to know yourself.
Make this major shift and your entire experience in relationships will shift, too.”
2. Learn to accept, value and love yourself and define your own worth, rather than waiting for someone else to love you and give you a sense of worth.
This means that you need to learn to see yourself through the eyes of a higher source of truth — your higher self — rather than through the eyes of your ego-wounded self. The wounded self has been programmed to believe that we are not good enough, and that we can feel okay only through others’ love and approval. This is what creates neediness. When you learn to see your beautiful essence through the eyes of love, you can learn to truly value yourself. When you value yourself, you will start to treat yourself lovingly, which fills you with love and gives you a deep sense of inner worth. You then have love to share with a partner. You become a person able to share love rather than someone always trying to get love.”
3. Learn to be happy BEFORE you are in a relationship, rather than looking for a relationship to make you happy.
When you are willing to take loving action in your own behalf to bring yourself joy, then you are no longer dependent upon another to do this for you. Your happiness attracts others who are also making themselves happy, and opens the door to a happy, loving relationship. You CAN attract the love of your life by learning how to love yourself!
Those of us who have struggled with self-love have had a harder time attracting true love. I know I have. Once one fully loves themselves, this attracts true love. Self-love shines outwards and it shows. Happy, secure and healthy-minded people are attracted to that. Otherwise, when we don’t love ourselves fully, that also shows and we attract all the wrong kinds of people who don’t love, respect or treat us as we deserve. Work on loving yourself first, then the right kind of love will follow.
I found true love myself, the love of my life, in just this way, which is what contributes to my happiness today. It took me years to learn self-love through my own personal journey and many toxic, unhealthy relationships. But it finally clicked for me that one cannot truly love another or be in a healthy relationship until they love themselves first.
Here’s to finding true love and to your happiness!