Your lack of self-love is stopping you from receiving love.
I don’t subscribe to the notion that you can’t love another until you love yourself first. I see so many people who give love – often bucketloads of it – without saving much for themselves. But a lack of self-love will make it so much harder for you to accept love in return.
It’s very difficult for us to fully receive love from others when we don’t love ourselves. It’s like our love tank has shrunk so small that we can’t accept it – and we don’t believe we deserve it. Even if we have the most incredible partner on the planet who’s constantly pouring love into us, they won’t be able to make us feel happy or truly loved until we make the space for it within ourselves.
A lack of self-love shows up in relationships in a couple of different ways.
There’s the tendency to sabotage relationships and push our loved ones away. We’ll subconsciously create reasons to convince them of how unlovable we are. Or, it may manifest in the choices you make and what you choose to tolerate. You may settle to be in an abusive situation or with someone who doesn’t treat you well, or simply isn’t right for you because you believe that’s all you deserve.
Within relationships with others, a lack of self-love can appear as people-pleasing, having a lack of personal boundaries and putting yourself last. Taking on guilt. Worrying what others think of you. The list can be heartbreakingly endless.
A healthy relationship is not designed to ‘complete’ you.
Codependency shows up as an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on the other. As sweet as it sounds to say something like “He/she is my other half”, it’s important to recognise that a relationship is something you choose to be in, rather than something you rely on to fill you up.
Instead of seeing yourselves as two halves coming together, a healthier view is to see your relationship as two whole – already complete – people uniting. And that by being together, you inspire, support and love each other. By shifting your focus and giving gratitude for what you have, you will stop expecting a relationship to bring you happiness. You will recognise that happiness is already present in your life.
When you self-love, you’ve got your own back.
Self-love is a practice. It’s a journey rather than a destination. And it’s a lifelong commitment – to you. It’s an inside job and no one else can do it for you.
I’ll be posting about self-love here regularly because there’s so much to say. And so much we can do. But for now, here’s one way I invite you to spend a few minutes (or longer) loving yourself today.
Self-Love Practice: Speak kindly to yourself.
Bring attention to the messages you tell yourself throughout the day. You may be surprised by how many negative self-deprecating thoughts are running on repeat. Having awareness of the way you put yourself down is the first step to taking action around it.
As soon as a nasty thought pops into your head, interrupt it and replace it with a self-love mantra or kind and loving words. At this stage, you may not believe the positive mantra. But the more work you do, the more this will slowly begin to shift. The self-loathing messages will start to decrease, and the positive messages will have more impact. The self-love cup will begin to fill.