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Art of self-love for a healthy relationship

Published by The Nation on Sat, 23 May 2020

By Rois OlaWhen it comes to what is necessary to have healthy, thriving, passionate, intimate and trusting relationships, we are all looking for answers. Can it really be something as simple as self-love'We are all looking for the secret ingredient to the perfect relationship recipe that will fix all of our problems with our significant others. We are obsessed with how to love properly, how to express it in the right way and what we can fix about ourselves in order to do so.Its all about you While this might seem a bit obviousthat the answer lies withinits the realist, harshest and most overwhelming and intimidating truth out there.Accepting yourself as you are is the answer to how to create the healthiest romantic relationship possible.Definitely not an easy road Self-love isnt all about body positivity and incorporating new self-care routine (although those are important). At first, it is actually much more difficult.Self-love is staring your inner demons in the face until they cease to exist.It is facing your traumas, your insecurities, your mistakes, and your flaws, and overcoming them all.It is forgiving yourself for being imperfect.It is forgiving those that have hurt youno matter how badlyand releasing those resentments for your own good.It is addressing where you have been toxic to yourself and to other people, and doing the work it takes to change it.It requires a lot of honesty with yourself, which can be a very difficult thing to do. However, once achieved, turns into something truly amazing.It will transform youWhile you once looked in the mirror with loathing and disgust, you now look in the mirror and see your best friend staring back at you.While you once were going to extreme lengths to change your outward appearance, you now only work on doing what is best for your optimal health.While you once settled, you now have raised standards.While some may state that this is conceited, it is extremely necessary that self-love and self-care become daily practices.Being single should not be scaryIf you are single, then self-love is your highest priority. It is easy to fall into the trap of constantly questioning why everyone around you is seemingly able to find love, while you are always struggling with it. It can cause you to find faults within yourself and highlight insecurities instead of provoking love for who you are.Try not to let it make you look desperate It can cause you to settle for the first person to come along that shows interest. The first spark that you feel with someone else can feel like potential for a serious relationship. Sometimes, however, a spark is just thata spark. It burns brightly for a split second, then it dies.We want to believe so badly that spark is what we have been looking for, so we try to force a connection with someone who may not be a good fit for us at all.Its like we try to squeeze this person into a mold of what we want them to be, but no matter how hard we force it, they will never fit. The fear of being single is so strong that we would rather settle for a once brightly lit spark that died out fast and is now nothing but a cold pile of ash.This is because we dont love ourselves enough to turn down those that arent a good fit for us.What you really are missing from your life is youWe have this notion that being alone is a negative thing. Yes, humans are social beings and are not meant to live alone forever. However, being comfortable alone is how to find love with someone else that you so desperately crave.When we are happy alone, we stop settlingThe fear of being single can be overcome when we genuinely enjoy being with ourselves. We have the confidence that someone else will eventually come along because, hell, were a catch. We are the complete package and anyone would be lucky to date us.We will eventually find someone who is compatible, who speaks a complementary love language, and that treats us how we deserve to be treated.Self-love teaches us that we cant imagine settling for a spark when we deserve an eternal flame.It is one of the foundations for fulfilling relationships, alongside feeling safe with your significant other.The love that you feel like you have been missing your whole life isnt the love you receive from a relationship, but the love you give and receive yourself. Then, when somebody else comes along they only add to the existing love you already have.When you treat yourself without respect or love, you basically give others permission to do the same. So set high standards for yourself. Be able to stand up for yourself and say: Im better than this. Im not going to tolerate this happening to me. If you dont love yourself first, youre not going to have any standard as to how others should treat you. When you have that unconditional self-love, its a lot easier to recognize when people are giving you less than you deserve. Youll notice that as you grow in your self-love journey, youll cut ties with certain people because you realize they dont make you feel good, they dont uplift you, and they dont help you grow. Yeah, it can be hard, and can even hurt. However, as your self-love increases, your tolerance for negativity, and disrespect decreases, and these toxic relationships just wont be worth your time and energy anymore.Depending on other people to make you feel loved can result in unhealthy relationships not only with others, but with yourself. Honestly, if you dont have a loving relationship with yourself, you cant reflect love very well in your relationships with others anyway. At least not in the way that you could if you loved yourself first. This is the same concept as you cant pour from an empty cup when were talking about self-care. Know your true, genuine self, and let your light shine. That way, whoever you attract is loving you for you, and not some sort of compromised version of you.So in a nutshell, self-love is healthy in a relationship. It is the art of learning how to enjoy your space, learning how to enjoy you, being happy with who you are even with your flaws and seeking to be better than who you were yesterday. I wish you all the best.
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