We often think of romantic relationships when discussing the need for self-love, but our lack of it affects all aspects of our social lives, from friendships to intimate partnerships. You might have a hard time seeking out the kind of relationship you want if you don’t love yourself. It’s easy to become consumed by insecurities when you don’t have high self-esteem — and this can make it difficult to form meaningful connections with other people.
It starts with being open and trusting of others. If a part of you is constantly questioning why anyone would want to be around you in the first place, it can create a wall between you and potential friends or partners. It’s like walking into a room and feeling like everyone is looking at you, judging how lonely or unworthy you seem to be. Potentially meaningful conversations may come to a screeching halt, leaving you standing alone in the corner.
Self-love doesn’t just apply to how much you value yourself. It also means taking responsibility for mistakes and forgiving yourself when things don’t go according to plan. We are our worst critics and typically judge ourselves far harsher than we would judge someone else in the same situation. This creates a cycle. We learn to expect perfection from ourselves and never make mistakes — a recipe for loneliness, because no one can live up to that standard.
In relationships, it’s challenging to maintain trust and intimacy if you’re not comfortable with yourself. The fear of abandonment keeps you from getting too close, pushing out supportive individuals who can be an important part of your life. You might feel timid when important decisions come up and instead of hashing out the best solution, you retreat — hoping you won’t seem needy.
This fear begins to dominate interactions, making it hard for people to see the real you. Eventually, it can even lead to you playing games and manipulating the situation to get what you want — even when it’s not in your best interest. With a lack of self-love, it’s easy to blend into the background instead of standing up for what you believe in.
It’s important to remember that self-love comes from within. It’s not something that somebody can give to you. Until you reach the point where you accept and appreciate yourself, everything else you do in relationships will be hampered.
Successful relationships require genuine understanding, respect, and compassion — but these are difficult to give if you don’t have them for yourself. By focusing on self-love, you can work towards healthier relationships that give you the space to practice honest communication and compromise in equal measure.
It takes time and effort to love yourself, to begin to recognize each step forward and savor the moment. To take pride in who you are and trust that you deserve to be seen and loved. Though it may be hard to find the motivation, once you do, the ripple effects will be felt in all of your relationships. Hold those feelings in your heart and honor the fact that you were brave enough to reach for something new. You won’t regret it.
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