“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
It may sound simple, it may even sound obvious that these two words: love and respect—are the epitome of a successful relationship. But why is it that they are also the two key ingredients that are missing from so many marriages, so many relationships and so many friendships, the world over? Instead, we are faced with a lack of love, a lack of mutual admiration and a lack of honoring and respecting the one we are choosing to live our life with.
Why is this so? A lack of love and respect on the outside is simply mirroring back to us a lack of love and respect on the inside. If we can’t show love to ourselves, why on earth should we expect someone else to be able to love us? If we don’t feel a deep satisfying respect for ourselves—then once again we are only going to see that reflected in our partners.
The truth is, receiving love and respect is an inside game.
When we start loving ourselves first, all of a sudden things start to shift. When we put self love and self care at the top of our priority list, when we fill our own cup up first, the whole dynamic of the relationship begins to change. The love that we are beginning to feel inside for ourselves starts to get reflected back to us in our partners. As our love of self slowly grows, so too does the respect for our self, and in turn, we start to receive the respect back from our partners that we have been craving.
You see, trying to change our partner never works. Telling them ‘you don’t love me’, ‘you don’t respect me’ and then expecting them to change, only comes off as being needy and never ends in the desired result of feeling more loved. Why? Because no matter how much love they ‘show’ us, it will never be enough. We will always want more. Until the time comes that we realize, it’s not about them (and it never has been) we will be desperately seeking love from outside of our self. And we will be extremely unhappy with the result. Our relationships will always fall short. We will never feel satisfied.
In an effort to guide this process, here are a few key elements to get started:
When your partner is reflecting back to you something you don’t like—ask yourself…’Where in my life do I do this?’ or…’Where is it in me that I feel like this?’ This will start to bring more awareness to what you need to start working on.
2. Write a list.
Start writing down all the things that make you feel amazing. Whether it’s getting a massage, having a hot candlelit bath, reading a book or having dinner with your girlfriends, write it all down and keep the list somewhere where you know you are going to see it. You will be referring to this list often!
3. Commit. No, not to him/her…to you!
Make the commitment that you are going to do at least one thing from your list every day. It only has to be something small. But make sure you do it. You have to make sure your self love and self care is a priority. This is non-negotiable.
This can be a tough one, but it’s super important. Every morning, stand in front of the mirror look yourself in the eye and love what you see. Say ‘I love you [first name]’. Then focus on all the places on your body that you don’t like.
Touch them and send them love too. Even if it makes you shudder.
Keep doing it. This is powerful and it works, and is an essential part of learning to love every part of you.
So it’s quite straightforward (but not necessarily easy). Start with loving ourselves first. Do whatever it takes to make sure we are feeling good. This is the most important gift we can ever give ourselves. There is an endless amount of ways that we can do this, and if you’re struggling to figure it out then find a good coach or a supportive friend who can help you. Know that you are worthy. Know that you are enough. Know that you deserve to be loved.
And you will be.
But first you’ve just got to learn to love yourself.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Cami Krueger / Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons