Updated: Sep 28, 2021
So, you’re single. Maybe you don’t want to talk about it. Maybe you want to shout it from the rooftops! Possibly some of both. Why does this particular relationship status, apart from all others, feel so polarizing? Such a love or hate thing. The single life is too often shunned by a society that seems intent on trying to partner everyone up.
You can love yourself, all by yourself, for yourself.
I'll skip the “you have to love yourself well before you can love someone else well” platitude. I’m not sure that is entirely true. There may be an element of truth within it, but there is so much more to your contentment in singleness.
Loving yourself actually does comes easier when someone else loves you right, but the catch is that someone else does not have to be a romantic partner.
It could be a friend, parent, sibling, or even God. When you are being loved well, you learn more about how to love well, and that includes loving yourself better. If you’ve been in dysfunctional relationships, whether family of origin or a chosen partner, you have probably learned to devalue and dislike yourself more as time went on rather than learning to value and love how you show up in the world. That takes some time and intention to reverse, and at least at first, much of that is more easily accomplished on your own without the inevitable entanglements of another flawed being. (And they are all flawed beings, my dear.) Be especially wary of the insidious mindset of finding someone to rescue you in any way. That is never a partner’s job. We may inevitably play some kind of saving role with a new partner but seeking someone for that purpose is particularly damaging to your self-love. You want to save yourself! If you learn how to rescue yourself and love yourself, you will show up totally differently in a relationship—and you will find the whole relationship development process to be radically smoother and more satisfying.
Loving yourself isn’t all massages and bubble baths—
though do please include some of those. Loving yourself is about choosing to treat yourself well.
It is believing the best about your motives and intentions, getting to know why you do what you do, accepting your quirks as your unique value to the world, living a well-intentioned life, being open and honest with yourself and others. It is holding healthy boundaries to let good in and keep bad out emotionally, physically, financially. It is enjoying all of the activities of life (work and play) whether you are with a friend or partner or on your own. It is actually desiring and welcoming silence and solitude as you explore getting to know and love yourself—just as much as you would desire and welcome togetherness when pursuing a romantic partner. It is learning the empowerment of not seeing yourself as a victim but accepting that you have a choice. You can control most of the outcomes and all of the attitudes in your life. It is setting and achieving your personal and professional goals and dreams. It is clearly defining what you want in life and in a future partner and taking the deliberate steps to get there, rather than taking life as it comes. Invest in your mental healing and well-being, personal growth and development, and watch how life starts working for you.
If this new life road trip has you feeling like an overheating car stuck on the side of the road, it might be time to call for roadside assistance. When you work with a coach to navigate divorce, you will save time, energy and often money, on your divorce journey. Chart you course and head out on the highway of this new life you are launching as you close the former chapter of your life. Find out more with Starting Over Stronger Divorce Survival and Recovery.
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