The first and most important relationship you'll ever have throughout life is with yourself. How you feel about and care for your own mind, body and spirit sets the stage for all relationships outside yourself—with your partner, family, friends and co-workers. From psychological, spiritual and practical perspectives, it's pretty clear that if you don't love yourself, it's in turn harder to give and receive love.
We asked the YourTango Experts to clue us into the signs, attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that reveal someone loves himself or herself enough to sustain a relationship. The point is not that you need to fulfill all the points on this list (no one is that perfect!), but that you can use this list to inspire you and the ones you love to increase love from the place where it starts—within. Never Too Late: How One Couple Learned To Love In Their 40s
Here are 25 signs you're ready to share and accept love:
1. You attract a like-minded partner. When you're in the energy of self love and acceptance, it's easy to magnetically attract a like-minded partner who not only loves himself/herself but is available, interested, and ready for healthy, happy, whole love.
- Lisa Steadman
2. You complete yourself. You know you are ready for a relationship when you don't need a relationship to feel happy and worthy, when you want a relationship to share your love rather than to get love, when loving yourself and sharing your love is more important to you than having control over getting love. When you want a relationship to deepen your growth rather than to fill your emptiness, you are ready.
- Margaret Paul
3. You won’t settle for conditional love. Men and women are ready for love when they realize they deserve to receive unconditional love from a partner.
- Nicole Johnson
4. There's nothing "wrong" with you. The only person who can complete you is you. The way to do that is to realize that there is nothing wrong with you; you are not broken, you don't need to be fixed. The truth of love is found in self-acceptance, and in shining the light of love on those dark places inside of us.
- Matthew & Orna Walters
5. You don't seek constant distraction. You're not afraid to be alone—and in silence, even. You like spending time alone and don't need the television to be on or the phone to be glued to your head. You can be with just yourself.
- Christine Arylo
6. You're not waiting for someone else to "save" you. One is ready to manifest healthy, lasting love when they truly abandon the wish that another can "save" or "heal" them. Self acceptance and self love are markers that one is fully ready for intimacy. This state of being allows one to be open to both giving and receiving love in a pure, authentic way—unburdened by notions of healing wounds from the past.
- Hillary Goldsher
7. You honor your bigger "Self." When you understand who you are—as a human, in relation to God or your spirituality—and when you are able to consider the "other" without compromising or obsessing about "me," you are setting yourself up to live a healthy, beautiful relationship.
- Christopher L. Smith
8. You've tossed your list. I know my clients are ready for love when they don't come to a session with a ridged set of expectations and a laundry list of must-haves and deal breakers. They simply want to find someone wonderful to love and share their life with.
- Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW
9. You're OK being single. If you can say "I am OK without a relationship," then you're ready for one! You're OK being single—not in a resigned or defeated way. It's more about one have a deep knowing of who you are, your purpose and that while you desire love, you won't allow yourself to be miserable while you're single.
- Alanna Levenson
10. You've called off the search. The old adage is true: the person who is most ready for love is she who has stopped actively pursuing it. Instead, she has been concentrating on developing her own skills, passions, and happiness. A confident, grounded and interesting person is extremely appealing.
- Laurel A. Fay
11. A relationship is a want, not a need. I realize someone is ready for love when they want it but don't need it. That's the absolute best place to be: wanting a relationship, believing it would be great, but not needing it for your happiness. Per the point above, being truly happy without it is often the fastest way to bring it about.
- Amy Johnson
12. You smile a lot. Notice the next time you see your reflection. No matter what you might be wearing or if it is a good hair day or not, is the reflection you catch a glimpse of is one that makes you smile? When you catch yourself smiling more than making comment, excuse or judgment, then you know you accept yourself unconditionally—and are ready to do the same for another, too.
- Karen Kleinwort
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