Once upon a time, years ago, I saw a reality television show called Tough Love. It was about a relationship coach / matchmaker who was hired to give a group of women a good dose of reality when it came to their dating behaviour. One woman in particular had a bad habit of drinking too much and making a fool of herself in front of her dates. Frustrated with witnessing this pattern of behaviour time and again, the host finally yelled, “How can you expect anyone else to love and respect you, if you don’t love and respect yourself?” I’d heard this sentiment before, of course, but something about the way he said it, and the context in which it was said, really stuck with me.
I was in a long-term relationship at the time. I had a great career, lots of friends, and on the outside, what appeared to be a wonderful life. So I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t blissfully happy.
The TV hosts’ words continued to tumble around my head for days. I thought about my internal monologue and how critical I always was of myself and my body. I noticed my unhealthy addictions to sugar, social media, and alcohol. I squirmed as I observed my habit of people-pleasing for fear of being rejected, and the multitude of ways I let myself down and broke promises to myself.
Could it be that all of these patterns were merely symptoms of a dysfunctional relationship with myself?
I decided to embark on a quest of self-discovery, that led me to finally create a life that fills me with joy. I ended my relationship, became passionate about wellness, resigned from my corporate career, founded my own health and life coaching practice, fell in love with the man of my dreams, paid off my debts, cleared a ton of clutter from my life, and most importantly, learnt what love really means.
In the process, I discovered that when we say things like: “When I find that perfect job/partner/friend, then I’ll be happy,” we’re giving our power away. We’re putting the keys to our happiness in someone else’s pocket.
The truth is that there is only one person in the world who holds the key to your happiness, and you see her reflection in the mirror every morning.
The most important relationship we will ever have is with ourselves. After all, who else are you going to spend 24/7 with for the rest of your life? Plus, everything else – all of our other relationships, career success, creativity, health and happiness – flow from how we first feel about ourselves.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into place.
What if you spoke kindly to yourself, forgave yourself for your mistakes, followed your heart, encouraged your own dreams, made peace with your natural likes and desires, cheered yourself on, made your wellness a priority, and believed that you CAN do it?
How do you think that would play out in the rest of your life? How would it permeate your relationships, boost your energy levels and self-belief, and ultimately help you reach for your dreams?
Valentine’s Day is a great day to begin a lifelong romance with yourself. Start something that excites you. What have you always wanted to experience? No need to wait around for someone else to become interested in the same things – plan solo dates to your favourite art galleries, start a new passion project, or enrol in that class you’ve always wanted to try. You might make a new friend in the process, and if not, you’ll already have at least one friend there – YOU.
Practice all the things you want to give to a partner – all the kindness, love, and respect that you can’t wait to bestow upon them – with yourself first. Get to know yourself; figure out what fills your heart with joy, and do more of it.
Because we weren’t born to stay small, angel. We were created to become all that we are meant to be. To stretch, to do things for the first time, and to reach our beautiful potential. To follow our hearts, always, even when it’s scary. To learn what love truly means and to practice it with everyone in our lives, starting with ourselves. ⠀
We were created to find and shine our magnificent light.