I was sitting in Lambert airport early this morning engaging in a rapid fire text session with a girlfriend who’s currently going through a breakup. We were talking about why this guy was wrong for her and how to find the “right” one and thoughts were pouring out of my brain (heart?) and onto my phone at lightning speed.
As I paused to re-read the messages I had sent I realized that they had a common theme: It’s going to be very difficult (if not impossible) to attract a healthy relationship until you really, really love yourself.
The summarization of “you need to love yourself first” is not something I’d walk around saying… and certainly not in that language (it’s just not really ‘me’ – hence the “No, but really” above). I’m not sure I even consciously knew how much I believed in this concept until I read my own words – but MAN, yeah. This is important!
I know my friend is not alone in her despair over this relationship ending and her desire to find a new one… and lock it down. Home girl wants to get married. Stat. And I get that. But for all of my Universal “home girls” who are in this same boat I say to you: make sure your side of the street is clean… and more than just clean… make sure you LOVE all of the unclean, imperfect crap you’ve got laying around. If you don’t truly love yourself first, this is not going to work.
Now I know what you might be thinking:
That sounds like a lot of work. I mean, getting to a place where you can honestly say that you “love and accept everything about yourself”!? That sounds hard.
And hard work takes TIME. And I don’t have time. I want to be in a relationship now! I want to get married and have kids and I am (fill in the blank) years old! I thought I’d be there already!
My answer to all of that?
Yes! It IS hard work – but please point me in the direction of work that’s more worthwhile to do? (Go ahead, I’ll wait.. but I won’t hold my breath).
Hard work takes time and “you don’t have time?” (I’m going to do a whole separate post on that very popular lie that we tell ourselves). Well, do you “have time” to be in another failed relationship? Do you “have time” to fake it down the aisle to check some imaginary check box just to end up divorced? Do you “have time” to be a single parent?*
*Caveat: I know many tremendous people who are divorced single parents – I was raised by one of the best – and I sincerely do believe that in many circumstances “the obstacle is the way”… however, if there’s way to avoid this fate and create a healthier relationship from the get-go, isn’t that worth a shot?
You really DO need to love yourself first. Scars and all.
If you’re sweeping stuff under the rug and entering a new relationship hoping you can tap dance on top of said rug and no one will be the wiser, 2 things will surely happen:
- You will be exhausted from all of that tap dancing. Seriously. And that exhaustion will come out of you in different ways:
– You might blame him for not understanding you (well sister, he can’t possibly understand you the way you want him to if there are parts of you that YOU are not willing to understand about you.)
– You might feel like something is missing
– You might feel like there are parts of HIM that he’s not being forthcoming about
– Or you might just feel bitchy and irritable
- It will create distance.
There is no way that there can be parts of you that you don’t love and accept and someone else will love and accept those same parts. It’s impossible. You’ll keep them hidden. You’ll be inauthentic about them. Your partner won’t be able to fully SEE them in order to love them. There will be distance. You don’t stand a chance.
Worst part? You’re not likely to make the connection that these feelings and experiences are tied to the crap under the rug because of the denial you’re in about the crap under the rug, so you’ll experience the above symptoms without understanding why. (Cue Big Pharma to compound the problem – also, a whole other post/rabbit hole.)
Some of that may sound a little bleak – and it is. As long as you are hiding, shit is going to be bleak – but let me shed some hope and light here:
This is all (ALL!) within your control.
Doing this work requires only YOU and your own desire to show up and live more fully in your relationships. Getting real with you – learning to love yourself – has ZERO potential negative outcomes. It is ALWAYS work worth doing.
So to all my soul sisters (and brothers) who are frustrated by wanting to be in a relationship but the “right person” just isn’t showing up – consider this:
And to all the warriors battling to make their relationships work, to find deeper fulfillment – consider this as well:
It is never too late to pull up that rug. NEVER.
Your relationship with yourself is truly the most important one you’re in. It allows you to show up authentically for the people you love now and will love in the future.
You actually DO need to love yourself first.
PEACE & (SELF-)LOVE
PS: Here is my favorite quote on this subject that I re-read often. It helps me to make sure I am being raw and real in my relationships and with myself:
You learn that you put your partnership most at risk by avoiding that which you are most afraid will destroy it. It is not easy to express what is inside you; especially that which makes you feel vulnerable or painful or angry or upset. These are the emotions that empower words that can do either damage or can do so much healing, You learn that sharing your concerns with consideration and the intention to heal and trust in the process is the only appropriate avenue.” – Gary Zukav , Seat of the Soul