If you want to experience more love in your relationships, it’s important to start by learning how to love yourself more. In this article, we’ll explore how to love yourself more, and how loving yourself more will allow you to have a great relationship, inner peace, happiness, and fulfillment.
How loving yourself more creates true love in your relationships.
Often times, we seek love from others, and in our relationships, because we feel a sense of lack within ourselves. Maybe parts of us don’t feel wanted, good enough, lovable, loved, acceptable, accepted, recognized, desired, validated, appreciated, etc. These feelings may result from past experiences – and more specifically, our interpretations of those experiences – where we experienced some kind of rejection, pain, or some form of abandonment. As a result of our interpretation of those experiences, we may have created beliefs about ourselves and our worthiness, or lack thereof.
We all want to be loved more
We ALL want to feel loved, appreciated, wanted, respected, cared for, admired, supported, safe, and understood, and that’s totally understandable. Because of this innate desire in all of us, we then try to resolve the discrepancy – we feel within ourselves – between how we feel and how we want to feel. Disempowered by this perspective of lack, we then try to resolve our feelings by attempting to control and change our external environment.
How a perspective of lack prevents you from loving yourself more and having a great relationship
The perspective of lack, and the control strategy that we apply to it, create a co-dependency (a need) to our external environment that can lead to: resentment, anger, sadness, feelings of victimhood, a tendency to control others, feelings of not being good enough, despair, depression, and more, when our need is not met. Additionally, when we operate from a perspective of lack, we often overlook all the ways in which we are being loved and deeply cared for. It seems almost impossible for anyone to feel love and loved, without first learning to love themselves. Through the lens of not fully accepting and loving ourselves, our interpretive process is biased. We continue to interpret the behaviors and actions of others as not accepting or not loving, without even realizing that it is happening.
Focus on loving yourself
In order to further enhance our experience of love, it’s useful to be aware that we all have different ways of both giving and receiving love. If we get stuck in only wanting to receive love in a specific way, we become unable to perceive how we are being loved in many other ways. We then react to that perceived reality – of not being loved – with fear, thus further reinforcing the feeling of lack, disconnect and miscommunication in our relationships. There is a simple and extremely effective solution to resolving those detrimental relationship dynamics that can, when left unresolved, bring about misunderstandings and pain. That solution is simply self love. When we become self-sovereign and self sufficient in our capacity to give ourselves love, we free ourselves from the negative cycle of depending on others as our source of love. As we focus on self love, we no longer experience the negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions that result from our expectations – of how we should receive love – not being met in relationships. When we focus on self-love, we also have the opportunity to give, our partner and others, the love that we use to expect and depend on them for.
Love is all around
It’s important to realize that, if someone is not giving you love in the way that you would prefer, it’s most likely because they don’t know how. And if someone doesn’t know how to give love, it’s most likely because they too lack self love. Through this realization, and by starting to give them the love that you used to expect from them, you’re actually teaching them how to love. Over time, this creates and builds more love for you to share in your relationships. In addition, when we start to shift our focus on the abundance of love around us, we start feeling extremely fulfilled and we grow in self love. Look around you at all the ways in which you are being loved, and you will never feel lack again. Nature, animals, young children, are just a few of these sources of unconditional love available to us for us to resource at any time.
Experiencing more love
Once you’ve experienced this love, here are a few ways in which you can experience more of it. Learning to give ourselves love starts with self awareness, understanding our own needs, and where they stem from. Once you’ve done this groundwork, start cultivating your love of self. When you first start out on this journey of self love, begin externally. Once you feel more love for yourself as a result of your external efforts, you can then move inwardly. Having identified your needs and intentions, start building the life that you want, where your needs and intentions are always your highest priority. Focusing on your own personal fulfillment doesn’t make you self-centered or selfish. It makes you realistic, self aware, and grounded. The idea that you should love others before you love yourself only comes from a misunderstanding. Such a biased and ungrounded perspective is often rooted in co-dependency and leads to conflict, miscommunication, and pain in relationship. So, just as it’s best for you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first – if the airplane you’re on goes through depressurization – before you help someone else put theirs on, the same goes with love. Learn to know yourself and your needs, and to love yourself, so that you can, in turn, do the same with others.
Ways to love yourself more
Ways to love yourself more can be as simple as:
- doing something you love every day
- nurturing yourself through a massage
- spending time in nature
- praying or communicating with a higher self
- listening to an inspiring podcast
- reading a great book
- exercising consciously
- cooking delicious foods
- taking care of your body
- eating healthy
- having a balanced work schedule
When you know yourself, and what truly brings you deep fulfillment and contentment in life, you’ll always know what to do to feel love and loved.
How to love yourself more inside and out
Once you’ve grown more and more love, start moving inwardly, and working on complete self-acceptance, compassion, and appreciation for yourself. What that means is becoming aware of any and all self-judgment, self-punishment, shame and guilt, or even self-hatred, and working through the emotional dynamics that brought those emotions about so that you can release them permanently. This might mean making certain changes/ adjustments to your self-talk, speech, decisions, and any other behavior that usually brings about inner conflict, self-judgment, and self-punishment.
Become aligned with loving yourself more
To accelerate the release of all self judgment and punishment, focus on inner alignment. When you start living in alignment with your intentions and in integrity with your values, the tendency to judge and punish yourself will decrease more and more, over time. In this way, there will be more room for self loving thoughts, feelings, emotions, words, and actions.
Use journaling to learn how to love yourself more
Finally, if you’re into journaling, start celebrating yourself and everything that you are in your journal. For example, you could keep a special journal of appreciation and self love. In this journal, you could record all the things you love about yourself, all the things that you do well, all the things that bring about goodness in yourself, others, and the world, etc. This practice is not narcissistic in any way. It’s choosing to apply a balanced and compassionate approach to yourself and your experience of life. This approach in turn leads to more loving behaviors towards yourself, others, and life as a whole. How can we possibly have compassion towards others if we don’t have it for ourselves first? Self love is the foundation for giving and receiving love. Without it, we can’t feel love and loved. Give it to yourself everyday, and heal the parts of yourself that don’t feel worthy of it.
How feeling unworthy prevents you from understanding how to love yourself more
How will you know that you don’t feel worthy of it? That’s easy to recognize. Whenever you’re consciously giving love and complete acceptance to yourself, you might experience this feeling of unworthiness in the form of resistance, negative thoughts, shame and guilt, or any number of negative emotions that come up in reaction to your attempt to give yourself love. Don’t reject or resist those parts, allow them to surface and simply choose to let them go. Maybe, they’ll even have ‘stories’ to tell you about why you don’t deserve love. Watch those parts without clinging, and choose to consciously release them back into the pool of unlimited experiences that life offers.
Loving yourself is a choice
Self love is a recurring choice that we have the option to make, again and again, at every moment. Sometimes, you will, sometimes, you won’t, and that’s ok. Keep at it with the intention of constantly refining your process of self love, and over time your self love will continue to grow more and more, and lead you to make new choices that will continue to grow your love of self and others and greatly enhance all your relationships.
If you’d like to use a guided meditation to cultivate self love, click here: Self Love Meditation