Many of us think that the key to improving our dating lives is to pick the right person. To steer clear of bad intentions, fear of commitment and lies. And while those are great things to remember when dating, that’s not what’s going to really change things for you. You want a solution that will significantly improve your dating life? Well, honey, you are it.
Self-love isn’t just the solution to your dating life, but that’s for another day. Nurturing the relationship you have with yourself can change your whole outlook on life, with your love life being just one of the many areas that will be improved.
First, it’s important to remember that self-love isn’t an action, it’s a philosophy to live your life by. It means that you spend time with yourself to work out who you are, and learn to embrace that. Whether it’s your attachment style, body type, features, sexuality, skin colour or personality, exploring and accepting these things about yourself is the first step to self-love. There are many ways to achieve this, but it’s a hard, long-term commitment to make to yourself. Many people journal, use affirmations and self-care to promote a mindset of self-love. You will feel more positive, confident and want good things for yourself when you practice self-love, because it is the act of deciding that you are worthy of good things, happiness and love. Once you decide this, your whole life will change. But let’s look at how your love life will be benefitted first.
Looking at yourself, and working through your emotions and past baggage is the key to understanding your needs, which will then guide you better when choosing a partner. When you love yourself, you’ll make better decisions for yourself. You want good things for yourself, especially when it comes to love. Those who love themselves won’t accept love or attention that is negative, destructive or hurtful. You can see self-love as a barrier against people with bad intentions or who seek to control and manipulate you to make themselves feel better. In addition, it helps you to work out what kind of partner you want to be with, and what fulfilling your needs look like.
Unpacking childhood trauma and ideas about love is a key element of self-love, because a large part of making good choices for yourself is deciding who you let into your life and heart. Observing our parents’ or other adults’ relationships, past experiences with love and our relationship with our opposite-sex parent can give us a lot of explanations and insight to why we act the way we do when dating. Understanding how these experiences have shaped our ideas and connotations to love is invaluable, as it then provides the key to unlearning unhealthy attitudes. Self-love is about replacing destructive thoughts about ourselves with constructive ones, particularly in regards to how we should be treated.
The way we feel and think about ourselves is directly reflected in those we choose to keep around us. Aergo, if we think we are deserving of love, empowerment and inspiration, that is the kind of thing we’ll seek in a partner.
Self-love will also make you less likely to get into relationships where you have to “fix” someone else. Loving yourself means wanting to find someone to give you the love that you deserve rather than putting up with someone who drains your energy and time. Again it comes down to believing that you are worthy of an equal love that supports you as much as you support your partner.
This means no more fuckboys, or works-in-progress disguised as laziness. Relationships are about give and take on both sides, and self-love will help you to accept and demand that in any relationship going forward.
Self-love is a commitment to being the best version of yourself. In regards to your dating life, this can dramatically change things because you will be making yourself a better partner and person in general. Choosing positivity and acceptance will make you happier, and a nicer person to be around. And positive people want to be around other positive people, so investing in yourself means investing in a potential partner too.
Being in touch with your own feelings and emotions more will also allow you to be there for someone else with much more patience and understanding. Working through our own baggage and struggles gives us more empathy for the issues that others face, therefore making us a better source of support for those in our lives.
Relationships change over time, but many people don’t realise this until it’s too late. Having your own needs at the forefront of your mind by practising self-love is crucial in maintaining long-term happiness for yourself. Sometimes this can signal that you need to be alone, because as much as people hate to admit it, certain relationships do have expiration dates. There may come a time where the person you are dating stops being what makes you happy, whether the spark dwindles away, someone new comes into your life, or they go through an experience that makes them change as a person. Knowing when to end things can be an act of self-love if your needs are no longer being met, and your self-esteem is being affected.
Being aware of your emotions, and checking in with yourself to see if you feel happy and fulfilled is an important part of a relationship. And it doesn’t always mean that the end of a relationship is needed; sometimes we just need a change of direction. Changes in a relationship can mean that you have an opportunity to grow together and work through problems by addressing them, but only if both sides are on board.
Self-love can without a doubt change your life, you just have to choose it.