• Tinukè Olatunbosun

Self Love And Relationships

Two months ago I wrote a shortened version of this post for the The Move but decided to add to what I previously wrote and post it on my own site. I really enjoyed writing this particular post as I felt like I could relate to it on a personal level and I found it to be very thought provoking as I was writing it.

Self-love is a word I hear so frequently in today’s society, but the question is are we using the term loosely or actually making an effort to practice this? On my own personal journey I have found it quite challenging to accept both my strengths and weaknesses, but believe learning how to love every part of myself is one of life’s biggest lessons. Many of us don’t realise the importance of self-love and how it shapes us both in everyday life and in our relationships.

Self-love is often overlooked but it’s the process in which we embrace who we are, imperfections and all. Weaknesses exist but we don’t allow them to decrease our worth in any shape or form.

Self-love is also the foundation in which a successful relationship stems from. When you are secure in yourself and what you have to offer, you are able to give and receive love authentically. We often make the mistake of believing that it is a selfish act, when in actual fact it’s about getting in touch with ourselves and our happiness. Those who appear vain or conceited are perhaps battling their own personal demons and not in fact self-love.

Self-love for me is:

  • Allowing my yes to be yes and my no to be no without fear of upsetting others.

  • Having morals and not dropping them due to a partner or no one else for that matter.

  • Chasing my dreams and ambitions and not abandoning them or sabotaging them

  • Accepting that I have flaws but not allowing anyone to make me feel insecure due to them.

  • Removing toxic individuals from my life and not being afraid to do so.

  • Avoid comparing myself to others as there is no one like me and that is my power so embrace it.

I also believe self-love is an ongoing process that has to constantly be worked on. This can’t be learnt over night but instead is a journey. A journey that you won’t regret, that will do you a world of good both now and in the future.

Why did I relate self-love to relationships? The simplest answer I can give is this, if you have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself they will eventually become part of your relationship. This will usually happen unintentionally but inevitably and will most likely have a bad impact on the relationship. There are many areas of the relationship that can suffer due to lack of self-love, I will discuss some below:

Believing your partner is too good for you

Lacking in self-love can lead you to think you are punching above your weight in regards to your partner. Believing your partner is out of your league can result in you being insecure. Ideally you should embrace single life and use it is as a time to gain confidence and be secure in what you bring to the table in all aspects.

When in a relationship your partner can constantly attempt to reassure you but in reality there is nothing they can say to make you feel different. You have to think your enough and only you can change your mind set. Insecurity has the potential to take its toll on the relationship in the long run.

Relying on your partner for happiness

I am sure you have heard of the saying “happiness starts from within” and that is a fact. We all want to be loved and experience the feeling it brings. However a partner is simply there to enhance the happiness that already exist. When we become reliant on another individual for happiness we give that person full control over how we feel. This means that if the relationship ends you will be left distraught and unhappy. We control our happiness, our relationships don’t.

Putting your partner first and yourself second

In some circumstances of course you will have to put your partner first but some find themselves in a place where they constantly put their partner’s needs before theirs whilst constantly ignoring their own. A relationship is about supporting one and other and it should never be one sided. One person needs and wants shouldn’t be put above the other.

Staying in a relationship out of fear of being alone

Let’s face it a lot of us find ourselves in situations where we want to leave a relationship but find it extremely difficult, especially when in quite long term relationships. We get scared of the prospect of being alone, but is fear doing you more bad than good?

Without a strong sense of self love we will stay in situations such as this, even if the relationship doesn’t satisfy us. Whereas a strong love for ourselves would give us the confidence and courage to leave, simply because we know we will happy alone regardless and are not willing to have our happiness tampered with for the sake of not being lonely.

Personally, I am sure just like most people, we would like to enter a relationship completely in love with ourselves. I can hold my hand up and say that me and a lot of others are not even aware of our lack of self-love until we are actually in a relationship and start to notice particular traits in our behaviour that we can put down to a lack of it.

This can be anything such as agreeing with a partners point even though deep down we disagree with it or allowing things to slide that we shouldn’t necessarily but do anyway. I know we have all come across the quote “The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” ~Sonya Friedman 

This is a quote that has really stuck with me as I believe far too many of us forget the bar we should set for ourselves. If we set boundaries and standards of behaviour we feel we deserve we will not allow anything other than that to occur or continue.

Self-love is important for a successful relationship as if we lack it, it can have a negative impact on both ourselves and our partner. A relationship should not define you nor should it be the reason for your happiness.  Whilst in the relationship you will feel a false sense of happiness but if the relationship falls apart you will find yourself in a negative place which is not good for you mentally or physically.

It is essential we make it self-love a priority in all aspects of life. We should try different ways to improve how we feel about ourselves. Two exercises I would definitely recommend is writing attributes which you love about yourself and the reason you love that trait in yourself. I also love the idea of daily affirmations as I believe it can assist in restoring self-confidence. Of course you will not wake up tomorrow in love with every part of yourself but its steps in the right direction. We all need a starting point.

Thanks for reading, I would love to know your views on this topic and also some of the tips you may have in improving how you see yourself and ways to work on self love.


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