¿How can you fall in love with yourself?
Surely you’ve heard it before, increasing your self-esteem is the key to improving your life. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?
It’s impossible to give what we don’t have. We just don’t understand how it works in our relationships. But Ray, I know how to give love, I’ve loved my partners a lot, but they don’t reciprocate, they lie to me, and they don’t respect me.
I know exactly what you’re talking about. For a long time, I sought from others what I lacked. I didn’t like being alone, so I entered relationships with women who didn’t really attract me but would be willing to go out with me without much effort. I felt I lacked love, so I looked for it in my girlfriends. I believed I was incomplete and tried my hardest to find someone who would complete me.
When you’re with someone because you believe you lack something, you’re forming a relationship out of necessity. I need you because I don’t want to feel lonely anymore. I need you because I feel that without someone to hug me or tell me I’m valuable, I won’t believe it myself. Needing in a relationship is completely opposite to loving.
Giving a bit of your time and attention to someone, expecting that person to give you what you don’t know how to give yourself, is using them. When I understood this, I realized how selfish I had been. I thought I was the most loving person, unrequited in love. When, in reality, I was a person manipulating others out of the fear of being alone and of taking responsibility for myself.
¡UFF! , that's intense, isn't it?
But that’s not all, the consequence of acting selfishly is fear, frustration, and pain. When I started loving myself more, I realized that all those relationships had been a direct reflection of me. I was using them to avoid feeling alone, and they were doing the same. I lied when I said I loved them, when in reality I didn’t want the relationship to end because that meant returning to the loneliness that scared me so much; that’s why they lied to me in return.
In relationships, there’s always a balance; there are no victims or villains. We share our lives with people who have our same level of consciousness and self-love.
Therefore, if you want to change your relationships (and all other aspects of your life), all you need to do is change yourself – in simple words, practice loving yourself more.
¿Have you ever wondered what would happen if you stopped doing everything certain people ask of you?
¿How can I learn to love myself more?
1. Be kind to yourself.
No matter how much you prepare, the experience you have, or how much you meditate, you will always make mistakes, say things without thinking, and get angry. Because that’s what humans do; in fact, making mistakes and striving to correct them is how we learn and improve. When we accept this as part of ourselves, we can love ourselves fully – not just the qualities that others admire in us, but also the aspects we dislike. That is complete love.
2. Practice self-care.
Many times, we believe we don’t know how to love until we have a pet or meet our niece or nephew, and we are overwhelmed with love for them. We all know how to love; the problem is that when it’s time to love ourselves, we choose not to. What do I mean? We always have two options: one that benefits us and one that harms us. For example: today you have the choice to watch your Netflix series until 2 in the morning, resulting in a challenging day at work tomorrow due to difficulty concentrating and struggling to stay awake. Or you can choose to sleep at 10 in the evening, get your eight hours of sleep, and wake up early to exercise. Two options, one sabotages your entire day, and the other helps you build a better version of yourself.
3. Ask yourself: What do you need?
Depending on where you live, your education, social circle, and culture, your standards will be different. Something that used to happen to me very often (sometimes I still catch myself doing it) is comparing myself to others. On social media, we see people living spectacular lives.
I would spend hours a day watching travel influencers or famous actors posting photos and videos of them exploring countries I didn’t even know existed, while feeling miserable because my life wasn’t like that. What had gone wrong? These comparisons happen because I wasn’t clear about what I wanted.
The travel influencer spends most of the year away from home, but I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. Am I really willing to sacrifice time with them to visit other countries? When I asked myself what I wanted, I was able to create my own formula.
I have lunch with my mom, my grandma, and my little sister every Sunday because they’re very important to me, and I organize my time to explore new places on other occasions.
4. Enjoy your solitude.
When I realized I didn’t like being alone, I started practicing being alone. At first, going to the cinema terrified me. I would arrive late and leave the theater as soon as the movie ended so that in the darkness, other people wouldn’t see that I was there alone. But I did it so many times that eventually, it stopped bothering me. Now, I treat myself to meals at restaurants, go for walks, and even travel on my own. It took some time to get used to, but I realized that I’m a good person and I really enjoy my own company.
5. Know yourself.
Honestly, enjoying my own company wasn’t something that magically happened after doing many things alone. The secret was paying more attention to get to know myself and asking myself what I wanted to do.
For me, life is a journey of self-discovery where we have the opportunity to get to know ourselves through challenges and different stages of our lives. You won’t be the same person who was studying in university at 20 as you will be at 40, being a husband and a father.
Thanks to these changes, we grow and have the opportunity to create a version of ourselves that we like more, one that we can feel proud of and love unconditionally.