How many people have said something to you along the lines of “You have to be happy with yourself in order to have a relationship” or “you have to love yourself first before someone will love you”?
These are phrase that are used a lot and yet, I find it kind of bothers me.
If it bothers you too, that’s OK.
You see, that simple phrase can make single people feel like life is somehow punishing them for not being this perfect, happy person. That unless they achieve this talent of being a bubbly, happy tigger-like character, they’re destined to be eternally single. That if they can’t achieve this mystical goal of complete “self love” that they will never meet The One.
I’m not OK with that.
When someone tells you that phrase, they’re probably in a relationship. I doubt they were blissfully happy with being single beforehand and I bet they’re happier now that they have someone to share a bed with at night. Otherwise what would be the point of having a relationship in the first place?
Of course not all relationships are great and some people are genuinely miserable with their partner, but saying that you have to be happy with yourself FIRST to get a boyfriend or girlfriend puts so much pressure on single people to be perfectly at one with themselves.
Humans are social creatures. We feel elation when we meet someone we really like. We don’t just pro-create, we feel love, attachment and romantic feelings. We learn about ourselves through connecting with others and having children.
Loneliness on the other hand, can be a killer.
It’s OK to admit that being lonely sucks and you’d be happier if you had someone to hold.
If you’re keeping healthy, getting exercise and eating right. If you’re working hard and keeping up with your hobbies. If you’re doing all the things you’re supposed to be doing to better yourself and you’re struggling to feel happy happy, don’t beat yourself up that you’re not happy enough and that’s why life isn’t sending you Mr Right. You’re not being punished. This isn’t some weird test.
Have you ever gone through a breakup and after some extended time alone thought, “I’ll do things differently next time”? You feel like you’ve “worked on yourself” and won’t make the mistakes again, yet when you meet another person you still make mistakes.
The reason for this is that we don’t actually learn about ourselves on our own, we learn about ourselves through our interactions with other people. So you actually only learn to be better at relationships by being with someone and gaining practice. The people you date help you learn a lot more about yourself and show you the parts of you that are awesome and the parts you may need to work on.
So loving someone and being loved helps you on that journey to self love.
The real reason is you just haven’t found the one person who’s right for you. Some of it is just pure dumb luck of being in the right place at the right time and meeting someone who likes you just as you are. Someone who you instantly click with and are attracted to, and they are too.
You don’t have to be perfectly happy, you just have to be happy enough that you’re not bringing tons of negativity and problems into the relationship. But aside from that, you don’t need to obsess over trying to “love yourself” alone.
If everyone had to be happy to get in a relationship, I’m pretty sure everyone would be single. We all have our own issues, hangups and self defeating thoughts.
So don’t worry about having to love yourself to find a partner. Just know that you can find love – it’s just a numbers game.