As we enter what is widely recognized as the month of love (February), I have a few thoughts to share. We always see a heavy push on relationships (or lack thereof), romance, “how to find the perfect match,” etc., but rarely see the guide on how to love yourself first, or creating a healthy relationship with yourself. And I’m not here to produce those guides, but I will offer some advice from my own experiences.
Yes, relationships should feel good and flow easily. However, they are also hard work; and just like with any outside relationship, the relationship you have with yourself is also hard work. Loving yourself is a process; a journey that keeps building and keeps getting better, but also hurts and may require sacrifices or changes similar to those of any outside relationship.
Think of the common foundation in most relationships; you create boundaries, learn what to compromise, might establish roles, find common interests that make you happy, etc. Now think, do you do this for yourself? Self-love may look different for each of us, but the general idea is that is you have regard for your well-being and happiness. Those are two very important and distinct key words. Something may make you happy, but doesn’t make you feel well, and vice versa. Finding the balance between what feels good and what’s good for me seems to be the challenge in my self-love journey. For you it might mean creating boundaries for work/rest/social time or choosing between a yummy meal at your favorite chain restaurant and a not-so-yummy nutritious meal at home. And the sacrifices may come from the physical pain of working on your fitness or the emotional suffering that may come from letting go of a friend or even a thought.
Whatever the case, what matters is that you take the time and effort to build a better relationship with yourself, before anyone else. Every change you make or lesson you learn gets you a tiny step closer to being absolutely in love with yourself. And when you’re in love with yourself, you won’t accept anything less in any other relationship.