I thought this would be a lovely topic of discussion, right on valentine’s day. Love, romance, excitement and Covid in the air. OK the last one is a joke, but you understand.
A time of year where most of us can’t help but look back on past love, or evaluating our current love life. Perhaps a lack thereof. I don’t say this with any judgement, purely from experience. This post however is to focus the attention on the ‘Art of Loving Yourself’. When you ponder on your past and current status of love, how many of you have taken the time to ask “How much do I truly love myself?”. Again, speaking from past experience, and from being a witness on the outside. We all grow up assuming our lives are dictated by our romantic relationships. That we’re not complete until we find love and romance in another. In some cases, using a relationship to cover up our own insecurities, failing to see our own amazing traits in which we bring to the table.
So, what happens when we become single? All of a sudden, we find ourselves in a limbo where we start to wonder what we did, or, what we’re currently doing wrong. This is normally the time we try and jump straight into a new relationship. Maybe through fear of being alone, or afraid of realising some cold hard truths. I’m sorry to say, this is just going to cause huge problems in the future. Mainly (again speaking from experience) because we feel we can’t feel enough, worthy and complete without someone else.
Yes, I’m single at the time of writing this, but honestly, I don’t write this to sound bitter or jealous, quite the opposite. I was able to reach a place, a state of mind where I truly love myself, and wanted to discuss that journey.
You Have To Love Yourself Before You Can Love Someone Else
This phrase used to piss me off no end, especially when I was going through a difficult time and coming out of a previous relationship. Why? Because I didn’t know what it meant. Deep down I don’t think I ever knew what it meant. What the definition of “love yourself” was. I was in a place where I had more questions than answers. I would speak to my friends thinking they were just making up this random nonsense as way to get me to snap out of the funk. Sure, but tell me how. What’s the damn secret?
Eventually, I gave up asking the question. Life is too short to waste so much time and energy over analysing every situation in my life. So, I decided to just flip it on its head. Instead, removing any kind of resentment and jealousy I had for others. Instead, I was just happy for them and decided I deserved that too. It was time I just starting living my life. Being the hero of my own movie. Only doing things I wanted to do. Things that made me happy. Giving myself some much-needed self-love, and really understand how to take care my own wellbeing.
Over time I came to realise I needed to look at the phrase differently. “You have to find peace in yourself, before you can give love to others”.
The true essence of it all is finding a sense of inner peace within yourself. For me, accepting that sh*t happens. That your anxieties, baggage and history aren’t worth wasting energy over. I was viewing things so differently in my life. Really raising my energy of love and joy from within. It really was that simple. I was at a sense of pure calm. Walking down the street with a feeling of weightlessness and mastery. Like walking on air. Enjoying every little thing possible, just because. Without questioning why. Everything felt centred. Like everything was just moving around me, going about its business. That’s the best way I can explain it.
More importantly I finally understood the saying. I had found a sense of calm and peace with everything. A loving and joyful energy from within myself. I then felt ready to push out that feeling to the world.
This isn’t something that can be taught, but rather used as guidance. Finding an inner peace is something you need to work on and find out for yourself because it has to be unique for you. Also understanding that feeling of love, so to speak, is only a small part of the overall picture.
Now don’t get me wrong. Loving yourself can be a difficult mindset to maintain. As most of you know, the mind always has a tendency to want to put a downer on your happiness. Thinking you need some kind of unfair reality check.
I recently came across an old Keanu Reeves quote relevant to this topic. Who doesn’t love John Wick? So naturally I kept reading.
“Someone told me the other day he felt bad for single people because they are lonely all the time. I told him that’s not true. I’m single and I don’t feel lonely. I take myself out to eat, I buy myself clothes. I have great times by myself. Once you take care of yourself, company becomes an option and not a necessity” – Keanu Reeves
This resonated as I recently started following a similar approach. I treat myself as if I’m dating myself. For example, I’ll go out for nice walks, go for dinner, take the effort to cook myself a nice meal. I’ll arrange a cinema night, a pamper session (guys do that too, or certainly should). All to focus on improving and maintaining my physical and mental wellbeing. There’s a subtle tranquillity in doing things for yourself. Perhaps because you’re doing it for you and not for the recognition of others.
These are the things you should be doing even if you’re in a relationship in my opinion. It’s so important to do these little things for yourself. To show yourself some self-love, you deserve it too. Then imagine, when you can feel like this in your own space, how magnified it could then feel to experience that with someone special.
Remind Yourself How Awesome You Are
Adding to that was ‘focus’. Focusing my energy and attention to the right areas of my life at the right time.
It’s vital we listen to ourselves and our bodies. Not the negative thoughts, but scratching the itch so to speak. If you want to go read, go read. If you want to exercise, go exercise. Listen to what’s calling out to you. Playing hand in hand with ‘dating yourself’ in a way. This will drastically change the outlook of your life. It certainly helps bring me back to myself If I waiver.
Also, remind yourself what’s great about being you. What do you love about yourself? Don’t be stupid and say nothing. There will always be something that’s great about being you. Then, remind yourself what you’ve achieved, no matter how small it may feel. Look at your successes, how far you’ve come and the work you’ve put in. This in itself should make you fall in love with yourself. Why? Because you’re amazing!
You can always change your beliefs, but doesn’t mean you should fall back into autopilot mode. Keep working on yourself, but don’t overwhelm yourself (easier said than done I know). Be the leading role in your own movie, not concentrating all your energy on trying to be the bit part role in others’. Fully understand what makes you, you, and enjoy that. That’s what worked for me, and helped me find a deeper love for myself. Hopefully, something I’ve said here has resonated and can be used as guide to you discovering a greater love for yourself.
I’m now in a place where I’m fully embracing and taking the time work on myself, and honestly, fall in love with myself again and again. Going back to the premise of love and relationships, I can confidently say being in a relationship would amazing, but it’s no longer a dependency for me to truly be happy. I’m already whole and complete!