“Self love is the only way to a high quality love relationship. The quality of men and love relationships you’ve experienced is a direct result of the degree of love you have for yourself. Most of us only love the good sides of ourselves and wish we could disown the self-perceived bad sides. If you only love parts of yourself, you’ll find yourself with men and in relationships that aren’t satisfying. Once you do the inner work to love yourself completely, you’ll have a wonderful and fulfilling love relationship beyond your dreams.” – Janet Ong
Focusing our attention and love solely on our mate perpetuates the myth that we can only feel loved when we’re with someone else.
More from YourTango: Why You Judge Your Partner & How To Stop It
This limited approach to love makes it impossible to sustain romantic love. Many times, focusing on our mate is a way of not having to look at ourselves for fear of what we’ll see. The reality is, the more we fully love and accept our selves, the happier and content we are in life. This leads to more fulfillment in our romantic relationships.
The challenge and opportunity are to uncover, accept and embrace your self-perceived bad aspects. These aspects are defined as things you try to hide from others, things you feel embarrassed or ashamed about, things you think others will judge you on, things you judge yourself on, etc. If you’re looking for a resource to better understand this, check out “The Dark Side of the Light Chasers” by Debbie Ford.
Debbie’s message is that we suppress behaviors, thoughts, feelings and characteristics that are not acceptable in certain environments. There is a gift in the areas we suppress once we’re able to uncover and embrace traits that are buried in these self-perceived bad aspects of ourselves. When I read this book and practiced the exercises, a new way of thinking and being opened up for me. It gave me the freedom to be more authentically who I am.
I’ve learned that love starts inside of us. Only when we can fully love ourselves, can we have a relationship that is loving and full of possibilities. Until then, we’ll have relationships that are on and off, inconsistent, unfulfilling, etc.
Self love is about loving and accepting who you are. This is about healing the parts of yourself so that you can be whole rather than wanting someone else to “complete you”. In the movie, Jerry Maguire, Tom Cruise says to Renee Zellweger, “You complete me.” While it sounds so romantic, it’s not reality. The reality is when you approach a love relationship as a whole person, your mate will enhance and not complete you.
More from YourTango: How to Create a Heart-Catching Online Dating Profile
What will you do to love yourself even more?
P.S. If you're frustrated and tired about not being successful in love, get your free Monthly Guide to Love. You'll receive insightful articles, inspirational resources and best practices that support your journey to love.