Before You Fall In Love With Someone Else, Make Sure You're In Love With Yourself

Confident black woman
PHOTO: DEREK TORSANI VIA UNSPLASH

It’s one of those kinds of things that’s simple and complicated at the same time. Most of us have heard that there’s no way we can love someone right or set the standard for the kind of love that we should get in return if we don’t love ourselves first.

How many of us really believe that, though? How many of us are confident that, beyond the shadow of a doubt, we make sure to put ourselves first, meet our own needs and know how to fall in love with the right man because we fell in love with ourselves long before he ever arrived?

If you sit and think back on some of your hardest relationships, while it might be hard to admit, the common denominator was you. Not only that but, if you loved yourself as much as you were deserving of, there’s a significant chance that you wouldn’t have chosen the men that you did.

Ouch. Sometimes the truth really does hurt. The silver lining is that there’s no time like the present to make a change.

If you really want to have a happy and healthy relationship with another individual, it is an absolute must that you fall in love with you—FIRST.

This is how you (start to) do it.

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PHOTO: PEXELS
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Pamper Yourself

When’s the last time that you pampered yourself? We’re not talking about painting your toenails while binge watching some show on Netflix or Hulu. We mean scheduling an appointment to get a massage, have your eyebrows threaded and to get a mani/pedi too. 

Before you say that you don’t have the time or the money, we bet that if you were in a relationship right now and his birthday was coming up, you’d find the money for a present. 

That same hustle ethic that you would muster up to make him feel special? Do it for yourself instead.

pretty Black woman
PHOTO: UNSPLASH
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Spend Time Alone

Some people are more extroverted than others. They need to be around other individuals in order to refuel their own energy. That’s totally understandable. But whether or not you are naturally the life of the party, something isn’t healthy if you never know how to enjoy time alone (for the record, being alone when you’re about to fall asleep doesn’t count!). 

The saying that “If you can’t be with yourself, why would you expect anyone else to?” is the exact point that we’re trying to make here. Loving yourself includes reading in bed, taking yourself to a movie or going for a long walk without longing for anyone else’s company. 

You don’t need it. You already love who you’re with.

a woman signaling "no"
PHOTO: UNSPLASH
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Have Healthy Boundaries

How do some of us stay in the pattern of choosing the wrong friends and relationships? Our boundaries are totally out of sync. If we’re not codependent, we’re a doormat. If we’re not a doormat, we’re terrified to say “no” to certain things. 

Setting boundaries for yourself is nothing to feel bad about or apologetic for. It sends the message, both to yourself and to others, about what you expect and also what you’re not willing to tolerate. 

By having these kinds of “guidelines” in place, everyone is clear, there are no misunderstandings. So, if someone does violate your boundaries, you don’t have to wonder what you should do. Their lack of respect has made where they stand with you abundantly clear.

a Black woman standing in the dark
PHOTO: UNSPLASH
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Forgive Yourself

No relationship works or lasts if there isn’t forgiveness in it. Your relationship with yourself is no exception. 

Forgiving yourself isn’t “giving you a pass” on reckless behavior or overlooking things that you need to work on. Forgiving yourself simply means that you’re going to be gentle with your shortcomings, you’ll let yourself off of the hook for not being perfect and once you’ve made a mistake, you’ll focus more on not repeating it in the future rather then reliving what you can’t change about the past.

How well are YOU at truly forgiving yourself?

a Black woman in a dress
PHOTO: PEXELS
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Be OK With Being Single. And Abstinent. (Sometimes)

“Single” is not a dirty word. Guess what else isn’t? “Abstinent”. 

When you can sense when you don’t need to date, that you need to spend time alone and that includes not sleeping with anyone, that is its own form of self-love. 

It’s saying that regardless of how someone is able to make you feel physically or emotionally, they can’t top how you feel about yourself. And sometimes that means feeling like you need some undistracted time alone.

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PHOTO: PEXELS
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Don’t Settle

How else do you fall in love with you? You don’t settle. You don’t settle professionally. You don’t settle personally. 

You get to this point by knowing your worth and value and not lowering your standards, even if it means waiting a little longer for what you really want. Even if it means no one else understanding what you are doing. Even if it means saying “no” to something good so that you can have something so much better. 

A woman who lives out her life in this way? She has not only fallen in love with herself, but she’s just the kind of person men will want to fall in love with too!

On her terms, not theirs.

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SHELLIE RENEé

Just a woman who digs all things relationships. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, that is. I've been writing (professionally) for close to 20 years, including having two books published. I'm also a marriage life coach and doula. Sometimes I speak to large audiences or do radio interviews, but usually I'm sitting in my favorite chair, surfin' the 'net and penning stuff that I wish I had read in my early 20s.

Listen, I don't have all the answers, not by a LOOOOONG shot. But whatever I can do to spare folks any heartbreak, bitterness or straight-up drama, I'll devote some keystrokes to doing. 

That's it...in a nutshell. For the most part. Kinda. ;)

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