With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, everyone’s busy trying to rekindle the spark in their relationships that had dimmed since last year. Everyone, everywhere, is planning to celebrate their love in a special way. Some plan on spending the day with family, while some might prefer a date night with their partner. Either way, everyone’s working on nurturing their relationships. But what about your self-relationship?
A person’s relationship with self holds great significance in their life. Yet, it is the one that is also neglected the most. People have a lot of advice about how to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner but rarely do I ever hear people advising about healing your relationship with yourself. The truth is, no relationship can foster until you focus on nurturing the relationship you have with yourself. A self-relationship is basically the foundation that assures all other relationships in your life remain healthy.
As February 14th approaches this year, I want you to prepare yourself for it. And no, I don’t mean buying presents and booking a nice fancy restaurant to dine in with your loved ones. That can wait. What I mean by preparing yourself is to put an effort into loving yourself so that your loved ones get to meet the best version of you this year on Valentine’s day.
Importance of Self-love in Relationships
As opposed to popular belief, self-love is not selfish, It is necessary. Having an unhealthy relationship with self not only has the potential to affect your individual life, but it can also negatively impact your social life. Self-love is important in a self-relationship to make sure you are aware of your worth, your boundaries, and know how to love yourself.
A healthy relationship with yourself develops only when you’re willing to put yourself above everything and everyone else. The depth of this bond with yourself determines the strength and quality of your connection with others. Why is self-love so important to practice for the sustenance of your intimate relationships? This is why:
Your happiness depends upon you
Your happiness is nobody’s responsibility but yours. A healthy relationship with yourself requires that you place your confidence and happiness in yourself rather than looking for it elsewhere. Relying completely on your partner to make you happy is unfair to the both of you. After all, you’re the only one capable of knowing what’s best for you and what can make you happy.
Unrealistic expectations like this can harm your partner by putting too much unnecessary pressure on them, severely damaging your relationship. Self-love lets you take responsibility for your happiness and allows you to be present in your relationship instead of being consumed by feelings of sadness. Additionally, when you know what makes you happy, you can better communicate it to your partner, making it much easier for them to understand your needs and desires.
How you treat yourself decides how others treat you
You may not realize it, but the way you treat yourself can impact the way your partner treats you. When you show signs of not being aware of your worth, you’ll come across as a weak person with low standards who doesn’t hold herself/himself in high regard. As a result, people will begin to think that they can get away with treating you badly. And, you won’t even realize it because you don’t even know how you deserve to be treated yet.
In a self-relationship, confidence is key. It lets people know that you hold yourself in high regard and wouldn’t let anyone — not even yourself — trample over you. This gets the point across to the other person about how you expect to be treated in a relationship. So, if you would want your partner to treat you with kindness and respect, be kind and respectful to yourself.
Confidence attracts worthy partners
You attract the same kind of energy that you emanate. When a person truly connects with their spiritual, mental, and emotional self, they begin to radiate a positive energy that can be felt by the people around them. Think of it like this, you hang out with someone who is depressed a lot, never has anything positive to say, and is always paranoid. It won’t take long for their negativity to affect you too.
Similarly, when you radiate confidence from your actions and words, you will begin to connect with and attract like-minded people, who have good intentions and are worthy of you. Ultimately, this will lead to a start of a healthy relationship and you may even end up realizing that you had been settling for toxic partners all your life.
Relationships are not supposed to be codependent, they are a partnership
We hear this expression quite often; relationships are a partnership. A partnership entails equal involvement of both partners in every aspect of their life together. Lack of self-love is connected to codependence in a relationship. A person who has an unhealthy relationship with themselves is often found to be absent in a partnership, always wallowing in self-pity, engrossed in pessimistic thoughts, and consumed by their insecurities.
This leaves behind the other partner, trying to manage both, themselves and their partner, with the added responsibility of upholding the relationship single-handedly. When both partners maintain a healthy self-relationship, both of them will be able to contribute to their relationship equally.
Helps establish and enforce personal boundaries
Personal boundaries are necessary regardless of the nature of the relationship one is in — romantic, familial, friendship, or work relationship. Boundaries are the limits that you establish to communicate what is acceptable treatment for you in a relationship and what is not. This lets the other person know that you’re serious about your limits being respected and would not tolerate otherwise. Likewise, this means you are obliged to respect the boundaries set by other people as well and are not to overstep them.
Boundaries allow you the right to maintain your individuality both, inside and outside of the relationship. Setting boundaries can be difficult for some people, especially people who have suffered through traumatic childhood experiences — due to their need to make people stay in their lives — and people who lack self-love.
7 steps to improve your relationship with self
Granted, all relationships hold great value, but your relationship with yourself sets the tone for your other relationships in life. A lot of people don't realize that just like an intimate relationship, work relationship, or a friendship requires work to be put in, a self-relationship does too. Sadly, however, self-relationships are often forsaken for the preservation of other relationships resulting in the absence or lack of self-love.
These days, while you’re busy exhausting yourself planning something special for Valentine’s day, take this as a sign and give yourself a little break to work on healing your relationship with yourself before the special day arrives.
Of course, learning to love yourself is not easy at all. You may get stuck, feel unmotivated, or frustrated but as long as you stay focused, you’ll achieve your goal. Here are a few tips to help you take your first step towards the exhausting yet rewarding journey of self-love!
Mindfulness is an easy trick to push you out of a slump when you feel like your negative thoughts and self-doubt have become too much to bear. Usually, in such a situation, you tend to wallow in self-pity instead of trying to cope with it rationally. When you feel like you’re low on self-love, practicing mindfulness can do wonders to lift your spirits. Mindfulness activities can include guided meditations and yoga, positive affirmations and even taking a walk to clear your head.
Include self-care habits to your routine
The first step towards learning how to love yourself is caring for yourself. It can be an exhausting and tedious process if you’ve never had any experience with loving yourself, but including little habits of self-care in your routine can strengthen the relationship you have with yourself. There are simple ways you can incorporate self-care in your life. Journaling, healthy eating, exercising, getting enough sleep, and meditation are easy self-care exercises you can do at home.]
Learn to prioritize yourself
Self-love looks like saying ‘no’ when you don’t feel like doing something instead of forcing yourself to do it for the happiness of others. It entails putting yourself, your needs, and your desires above all else. Only when you have learned to respect yourself will others know to do the same. However, prioritizing yourself does not entail disregarding the other person in your relationship. It just means not allowing yourself to be trampled over.
Acknowledge your shortcomings and forgive yourself
Imperfections make us human. To deny or ignore them is foolish. Learning to love yourself does not mean only loving your qualities. It entails loving everything about yourself — your good traits, your bad traits, your imperfections, and your faults. In short, everything that makes you, you. Acknowledging them comes first, then comes loving them, for the lessons they’ve helped you learn, and then comes forgiving yourself for them instead of hanging on to them.
Know Your worth
Not being conscious of your worth is a major sign of an unhealthy relationship with self. Being aware of your self-worth is crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship not only with yourself but also with your partner, family, and friends. Showing yourself respect and knowing that your individuality holds value is a great way to promote self-love in your heart.
Learn to trust yourself
It’s a difficult process learning to trust yourself but an essential one, necessary to ensure a good and healthy relationship with yourself. When you lack self-esteem and confidence, you begin to doubt your abilities and what amazing things you're capable of. Trusting yourself, your judgment and your decisions is a huge step towards healing your relationship with self.
Avoid comparing yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others can have devastating effects on your mental well being and self-esteem, in turn deteriorating your relationship with self and promoting feelings of depression. Avoid comparing your aptitude and skills to others to protect yourself from feelings of doubt, envy, and sadness. These feelings can impact your relationship with your partner negatively.
Bottom line? Self-love is among one of the most essential things required to achieve happiness in your individual as well as social life. That being said, the truth is, it’s not all easy-peasy to just begin loving yourself all of a sudden. A self-relationship requires great strength and patience. Still, no matter how difficult, this valentine’s day, let’s vow to put effort into mending our relationship with self to ensure our spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being along with protecting other relationships from falling apart. H
How are you celebrating yourself this Valentine’s Day?