Updated: Oct 18, 2022
You’ve probably been told that you have to love yourself in order to have the loving relationship you want, but now that you know this, you need to know how to love yourself.
What does it really mean to love yourself?
Loving yourself means knowing yourself, honoring your needs, validating your feelings, setting boundaries, putting yourself first, and speaking to yourself with kindness and support. You can’t expect to love yourself and exist in relationships as though your needs don’t matter, your boundaries are negotiable, and your goal in life (and relationships) is to please others. Engaging in the world this way sends yourself the message that you don’t matter as much as everyone else.
The good news is that you don’t have to do ALL of these things at once, nor do you need to do any of them perfectly. But, you need to start putting some of these skills into practice. You might be surprised by the impact of implementing small changes over time.
If you lead with self-love on your dating journey, you will eliminate the wrong people right away. When you waste less time with the wrong people, you can find the right one faster and with ease.
But most of all, when you lead with self-love you’ll create an amazing relationship with yourself. When you have a great relationship with yourself you can support yourself through hard times, and you can push yourself beyond your comfort zone more easily. Having a strong sense of self-love will allow you to be vulnerable and known by others, thereby creating deeply connected relationships. The benefits of creating a healthy relationship with yourself are endless. The most important thing to know is that loving yourself with action will change your whole life.
The following is a list of ways to navigate your dating journey from a place of self-love. If you’ve been struggling with dating, often feeling hurt, rejected or disappointed, these skills will dramatically improve the way dating feels for you.
Remember: your dating journey and relational journey will always directly reflect your relationship with yourself. The better you love and care for yourself, the better your next relationship will be.
Choose one or two of the following skills to begin practicing as you continue dating:
Know your boundaries and honor them. You are responsible for both knowing your boundaries and ensuring you engage with people who respect them. Pushing your boundaries is a red flag.
Worry less about being liked and more about taking care of yourself. Instead of showing up to dates trying to be liked, show up focused on whether or not your date is worthy of your time.
Trust your gut, always. Your gut feeling is your best guide forward. When you ignore your gut feeling, you abandon yourself. Trusting your gut feeling without tangible proof is an ultimate act of self-love.
Remember that how someone treats you is information about who THEY are. Rather than taking it personally, use that information to evaluate whether or not that person is for you.
Expect the utmost respect from those you date. When you don’t feel respected, that’s a red flag.
What are some other ways you can lead with self-love? Let me know in the comments!
This blog was originally published by Caitlin on Psychology Today.