The Important First Step Toward Finding Love This Year

Love, Self

How much does self-love come into play in the dating game?

"To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance."—Oscar Wilde

We all want to love and to be loved. As we find ourselves reaching the end of January and with Valentine's Day just around the corner, it's important to check in with ourselves and see what we're doing to bring that love into our lives.

At the very start of the year, we make New Year's resolutions about how we are going to take better care of ourselves by committing to good health, eating better, and exercising more. So why do we have such a hard time keeping our commitments? How do we expect to commit to someone else to find love if we can't commit to ourselves?

Perhaps we are going about it incorrectly. As a society, we believe that if we looked better we’d be able to attract a mate, perhaps a soulmate: this is all about your body on the outside. Your body houses your soul. If you want to connect deeply with someone else, it begins with the connection to yourself from the inside out—the connection to who you truly are, deep inside.. This begins with getting to know yourself, committing to yourself in more authentic ways, and honoring the promises you’ve made to yourself. It also begins with loving yourself.

We all have our own version of negative self-talk going on frequently. We bombard ourselves with self-judgement. Just listen in a public bathroom as we look at ourselves in the mirror. This public negative commentary is more common amongst women, but men, too, experience similar thoughts. And part of the problem is that we are always comparing ourselves to others—whether it's with the person at the next sink, or the celebrity on the cover of a magazine.

We are all unique individuals and do not need to be clones of one another. Others are attracted to confidence that shines from the inside out, which comes from being your authentic self. That is true beauty and it can be magnetic. So it starts with ourselves and connecting to our true essence. It begins with caring for and loving ourselves.

So how do we begin this journey of self-love? How do we commit to treating ourselves with more respect and kindness? How do we retrain our mind to steer away from the negative self-talk, the constant chatter in our minds?

Change starts with a single small step.

The next time you look at yourself in the mirror and begin to pull yourself apart...stop! Change the conversation: Start speaking to yourself with kindness and positive thoughts, as you would to anyone else you care about and love. The may be difficult at first, but it is a practice. It is a process that needs to be repeated over and over again on a daily basis each time you speak to yourself in a negative way.

Another important thing to do is breathe. It sounds so simple, but it's something we so often forget to do and can make a world of difference in our journey to find internal and external love. Practice connecting to your heart by closing your eyes and breathing love in, and anything unlike love out.  For a few minutes each day, make time to sit quietly with yourself and connect to yourself in a deeper way by breathing in and out. This will also quiet your mind and slow down your thoughts.

It is also crucial to start respecting yourself, your time and your needs. Make yourself important by taking time for yourself. Connect to the inner voice that knows what's best for you. This includes not feeling pressured by what others are doing. If you want to stay home on Saturday night and be with yourself, that's okay. If you want to go out, that's your choice. But think about what is bringing you closest to what is important to you. We are all mirrors of one another: If you want to be loved and respected, love and respect yourself. Treat yourself as you would a cherished friend or lover.

In the end, finding love starts with finding the love within yourself and then shining that love outward. Perhaps then your soul will connect to another in a more meaningful way, free of negative thoughts and feelings that can slow this process down. This may take some time, but you will end up feeling happier and more loved as you treat yourself in kinder more loving ways.

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