Loving yourself when you’re not in a relationship

Don’t love yourself first. 

An honest note from the author:

Say what?! What sort of crap advice is that? Hear me out and let me explain. But before that, I just want to take you back a little bit first so you can understand where I’m getting at with the heart of this concept. 

So, I have several friends who, although they are in their late twenties and early thirties, are yet to find themselves in successful, long-term relationships. The strain of the expectation to fulfil this societal and personal need really starts to form cracks in their character and unfortunately, bad decisions have been made. I suppose this is out of some wild desperation to complete the perfect picture of their world. 

As a person who has swung from relationship to relationship quite easily in the past and is only recently embracing a future of sexual dormancy, further exasperated by the presence of a lust-busting 2-year-old in tow, I couldn’t grasp why having a partner was so important, especially when it all just happened so naturally. 

But I approach you today, those seeking solace in their solitude, a viewpoint that both holds firmly to my original belief in the strength of independence, coupled now with a respect of the pressures that are placed on women who are not in a relationship. These pressures are both internally created hurdles as well as external implications that bombard us day upon day and something that takes pure courage and power to overcome. 

Loving yourself when you are not in a relationship is easier said than done. But one of the first changes you can do is to make a shift in your attitude towards your future expectations and rewrite the script that you’re unaware has already been written for you. 

Yes. Ryan Gosling painted a rosy picture of love back in 2004 and it’s been stuck on in there with Gorilla Glue. Then your mum keeps harping on about grandchildren and as much as you roll your eyes, she isn’t getting any younger. Your friends keep setting you up with losers and Tinder keeps pinging as a constant reminder. 

The fact is, you’ve most likely allowed other’s intentions, good or otherwise, to quietly convince you that if you’re not a part of something, you’re not whole. 

How can you rewire yourself into accepting that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a marketing ploy from Hallmark? Well, here is where not loving yourself first comes in. 

Why shouldn’t I love myself first?

My question to you is, then what comes next? If your goal in loving yourself is just the tip of the iceberg, with second and third courses to come before dessert and coffee, then you’re not really savouring the moment when your eyes are fixed on something else, are you?

When we love ourselves first, we unconsciously decide that after accomplishing this goal we will move onto the next, which could ultimately be finding a man, woman or any other kind of loving partner to our many sprogs, encapsulated all within a white picket fence with friendly neighbours, the smell of baked cookies and expensive art on the walls. 

Or whatever that dream may be for you. 

Don’t love yourself with the condition that it will bring you to the next chapter in your life. Love yourself because the moment you’re in right now is that next chapter. You know you best, better than anyone else can, but you can always surprise yourself and as the center of your very own world, you have the ability to shape it as you want and to live in each moment with loving, mindful attention. 

Let’s just take it back a step.

Facing your inner demons of failure. 

When we are not in relationships, we can feel like we are failing life because we have been bred by society to believe that a successful relationship is the epitome of a successful life. By looking at these feelings candidly, we can pick them apart and decide for ourselves what we hold true and what we feel are opinions that have been forced upon us. 

Speaking out against opinions. 

Explaining to people who believe they are supporting you when in actuality they are inhibiting your progress forward as an individual will give you a sense of power in yourself. This can lead you on an exciting path towards self acceptance and love. 

To truly love yourself when you’re not in a relationship takes courage. You can start this journey by recognising that your goals may have been influenced by everything and everyone except yourself. By deciding to love yourself with no agenda or future plans attached, I hope you can find freedom in the ability to live more in the moment and sow seeds that serve your personal and immediate needs. 

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