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Love Thyself Before You Date: 4 Tips for Self Love
By Erika Ettin
In life, we’re often taught not to focus on ourselves but rather to put others first. In love, though, I’m going to tell you to flip that concept on its head and focus on yourself for a while before you decide to bring love into your life.
Some people think that finding the right partner will make them happy. Not so. The only person who can truly make you happy is you, and then adding someone else to your life can only add to that happiness.
Here are a few tips for creating some self love before you can love someone else:
1. Get to Know Yourself, Cause You’re Pretty Awesome
Sometimes when we’re in a relationship or focused on others we lose a bit of ourselves in the process. It’s important to never lose yourself, and if you do - be aware and put yourself first again. Take a class you’ve always wanted to take, write down your goals and even what you love about yourself, meet that long-lost friend you’ve always felt like yourself around.
I got out of a very serious, long-term relationship about two and a half years ago, and I remember meeting my friend Betsy for lunch shortly thereafter. She looked at my feet and saw that I was wearing my favorite pink sequined sneakers, and she said, "Erika! You’re back!"
I had lost something in myself, and in the process of healing, I discovered (and rediscovered) my love for wearing pink, performing on stage, and tap dancing. These were all things that I knew I loved, in theory, but it took some reflection to reconnect with them.
2. Treat Yourself the Way You Deserve to Be Treated
I actually have a small tattoo on my foot that says, "Be good to yourself." While I want to make sure I practice everything I preach, even as a dating coach, I need a reminder sometimes. Get enough sleep. Work out. Buy things that make you happy. Basically, treat yourself the way you’d advise your friends to treat themselves.
3. Be Happy Hanging Out All On Your Own
Find contentment on your own. I know many serial monogamists who jump from one long-term relationship to another, often because they have a fear of being alone. Being along, and being content when you’re alone, is a wonderful thing. Not depending on someone to entertain you or make you happy is a very important step in loving yourself. Even if this starts with one night a week at home watching TV or cooking for yourself, it’ll be a great feeling when you know you’re fully self-reliant.
4. Tune Out the Social Noise
Many of us feel outside pressure to follow a preconceived social norm of getting married, having children, and following this "normal" path. I strongly advise you to tune out those people who constantly ask if you’re seeing someone. You never have to do anything before you’re ready or to please anyone else. Again, you come first.
Healthy relationships are made up of two people who are comfortable and happy with themselves, in addition to each other. Keep that in mind when entering your next relationship. Are you doing it for the right reasons, or are you filling a void?
Learn about yourself daily, do things that make you feel more like yourself, and take this time to focus on you… and then revel in your next relationship when you feel ready and whole. No one should complete you; someone can only complement you.
Once you’ve mastered the art of self-love, then you might need to know how to balance dating a few people. It’s an exciting world out there, so remember not to get lost and always, always love who you are.
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