It’s easier said than done, but it’s true: The journey of love starts with you. That’s because finding true love starts with cultivating self-love and self-acceptance.
It’s time to break free from seeking validation from others—whether it comes in the form of romantic relationships, friendships, or something else entirely. To tap into that self-love and find the courage for growth, you will have to understand what lies at its root: compassion for yourself.
What does it mean to love yourself?
Loving yourself first involves recognizing that you are valuable and worthy of respect.
It means having high self-esteem and constantly striving to improve yourself and your outlook. It means that you know what you need and want out of life, even if those things are difficult to achieve. It means embracing who you are and taking the necessary steps to become the person you want to be.
Ultimately, learning how to love yourself first helps foster a greater sense of self-confidence, worthiness, and positivity. With a stronger foundation, you can feel at peace with yourself—and that feeling radiates outward into your relationships with others.
Learning to set boundaries in relationships
Learning to set boundaries in a relationship is not only key to establishing a healthy connection but also a crucial step in learning how to love yourself. It’s not always easy to know when you’re giving too much, or when it’s time to take some space for yourself.
But clear boundaries form the foundation of healthy relationships by allowing you to have a better understanding of yourself; who you are and what you need. When you understand what your limits are, you can help ensure that your emotional needs are being met in the relationship.
It is also important to remember that putting yourself first in a relationship is essential for both your physical health and mental well-being. Take the time for yourself and practice saying “no” every once in a while. Remember that making self-care a priority helps establish healthy boundaries and gives the relationship room to grow.
How to stop seeking validation from others
Learning to love yourself first before searching for validation from your partner starts with understanding why you have been seeking external validation in the first place.
To understand this, consider the relationship you had with your parents or caregivers when you were a child. How did they respond to your needs or show their affection? In what ways did they express their love towards you? Have they ever rejected your emotional needs, leaving you feeling invalidated and unworthy of love?
When you find yourself getting caught up in obsessing over what your significant other thinks of you, remember to take a step back and check in with yourself. Take some time for self-reflection, and ask yourself what is it that you’re looking for and why? Doing this will help build trust within yourself and make decisions based on how to best care for your own heart and soul.
Drown out the negativity with acts of self-love: practice self-care, do things that make you feel good about yourself, start healing old patterns of behavior, be gentle on yourself; focus on the goodness from the inside out. By doing so, the external validation becomes unnecessary because now instead of seeking approval from a partner, you are validating everything that lies within—you become the source of validation.
Moving forward with a healthy sense of self-worth
When you take the time to reflect and look inside yourself, it becomes clear that to find true love, you must first learn to love yourself.
- Self-love and self-compassion
As a recap, self-love is concerned with understanding and appreciating yourself as you are and developing inner strength. You must be brave enough to accept what makes you unique, good and bad, and build on these insights. Self-compassion involves being kinder to yourself when things don’t go quite as planned or when things that are beyond your control don’t go your way.
- Understanding people pleasing is a losing battle
Rather than focusing your energy on seeking external validation by pleasing other people, recognize what it means to love yourself, and value who you are as a person despite any perceived shortcomings or failures. That’s when you will authentically attract real love into your life. You will realize that people-pleasing was just a losing battle all along, but now you have the power of true self-love instead!
Ultimately, the journey of love starts with you. Whether we realize it or not, our expectations for relationships are largely set by our capacity for self-love. If we’re looking externally for validation, acceptance, and love, likely, we haven’t found true love within ourselves. True love starts with you. When the love and acceptance within you are stronger than its external counterpart, the journey of love will be nothing short of extraordinary. Learning how to love yourself is a process, but by taking the steps necessary to prioritize self-love, you can find yourself experiencing a happier, more balanced, and more meaningful journey of love.