Learning to properly love yourself is something that you must do for yourself and for those around you. This is never more true than when you are in a relationship. Sure, learning self-love when you are single is more simple than when you are sharing your life with a partner, but it is not impossible to do while in a relationship.
So why is loving yourself so important while in a relationship? Isn’t the entire idea of a relationship centered around having someone to love you so you don’t have to?
No matter how loving your partner is it is still vitally important that you have ample self-love on both sides of the relationship and here is why:
People Treat You the Same Way You Treat Yourself
This idea feels a little weird until you think more deeply about it. While there is never an excuse for a partner to treat you poorly it sometimes becomes hard to recognize when they are giving you less than you deserve. Not only do you not recognize when to stand up for yourself, but you may also be unintentionally giving them permission to bring you down.
This idea will become more clear as you grow in your self-love. As you love yourself more you will allow individuals who do not lift you up and make your life better slowly drift away and not feel too much of a loss.
Depending On Others To Make You Feel Loved is Unfair
Anyone who has been in a relationship knows how tricky they can be in even the best times. Relying on your partner to constantly make up for your lack of self-love is both unfair and unsustainable. To make it worse this lack of self-love also makes it harder to reciprocate your love to your partner, even if you are trying to.
Relationships Are A Partnership
A lack of self-love can often cause relationships to swing from a partnership to a co-dependency situation. Co-dependency means you rely too heavily on a partner for psychological or emotional support. This is extremely common when one or both of the partners have an illness or addiction.
Focusing on self-love can help swing relationships back towards a partnership. This swing will go a long way in mending wounds and helping you both move forwards.
No One Knows You Like You
By far the clearest reason to focus on self-love in a relationship is that even those closest to you don’t know you like you do. Only when you fully believe, trust, and love yourself can you explain to other people what you need, want, and desire on the deepest levels.
How To Build Self-Love
Now that the importance of self-love in a relationship is clear how do you go about building it up while still supporting your partner at the same time?
Set Aside Time For Yourself
While this seems intuitive it is still important to mention it. Sometimes a lack of self-love can come from a loss of personal identity. Try to make time to do the things you love, maintain your rituals, and spend time apart from your partner to remember your own personal place in the world.
If you have trouble finding time for yourself it can help to start by setting a certain time where you put everything down and go think, meditate, or exercise. If you plan these activities and properly communicate when and why you are doing them to your partner they should understand and support you.
Remind Yourself That You Can Control Your Own Happiness
It is very easy to start relying on outside powers to be happy. These powers can be in the form of other people, substances, or vices. It is vital to remind yourself that only you can really make yourself happy.
This is often easier said than done, but a good place to start is by actively choosing happiness. Instead of thinking about when you may be happy in the future, think about how you can be happy in the moment. Focus on simple joys like good food, nice weather, or enjoyable activities.
Another technique that helps many people is to break down the baggage from your past to relieve long-standing stress that you may have not even realized you are under. This is especially helpful when starting a life of sobriety.
Forgiving yourself for mistakes in your past will not only relieve that stress you were under but will also free up space within your psyche. You can then fill that space with positive thoughts of self-love and appreciation.
See Yourself Through Your Partner
Seeing yourself through your partner is a great way to both cement positive images you already have of yourself as well as learn more about what makes you, you. Becoming more secure in your self-image through this support will allow you to trust yourself more completely in your journey to self-love.
Additionally, learning how the small things you do that your partner appreciates will give you more things to love about yourself. Things you may not even remember doing could have had a profound effect on them, and that will help you realize that there is more love inside you than you knew.
Think of Love As An Action
Throughout life, love is often discussed as an abstract feeling. Something you know and don’t know at the same time. This abstractness sometimes makes it difficult and intimidating to work on loving other people or yourself. By considering love an action you make it tangible and thus easier to think about and work on.
Once you start thinking about loving yourself as an action it will be far easier to schedule time for yourself to do the things you love. It will also make it easier to communicate your love to your partner, and most importantly make it easier for you to love yourself thoroughly and completely.