February 22, 2024

Why We Need to Stop Telling Women they have a “Self-Love” Issue.

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Good girl conditioning made enough damage training women for millennia to accommodate the world, displaying certain ways of being expected from a future perfect wife.

To be chosen and to not end as an outcast, they developed a capacity to watch themselves constantly.

They internalized society’s codes carrying within an inner police made of shame.

As a woman today, though we still fight for the most basic rights in too many places, most of us have the choice when it comes to our romantic partners.

Does it mean all the relationships you get into unfold the way you want? No. I suppose you noticed.

And guess what the new-agey self-development world has to say about that:

If someone doesn’t love you, it’s because you don’t love yourself enough.

Or more exactly:

“You have to love yourself first for others to love you.”


And if you don’t believe me, take me on it. Go to your yoga mat, or in front of your mirror, or to your journal to do your self-love practices, and tell me if it changes your relationships.

I am not saying, by the way, don’t do these practices. Absolutely do them if they help you to feel better.

What I am saying is it’s damaging to explain to women that their relationship disappointments come from a lack of self-love. Leading them to look again to what’s wrong inside them. To treat themselves like a problem to solve. To turn a blind eye, or more likely a numbed body, to everything in that relationship that should have felt off since almost the beginning.

By the way, did you ever hear a man say, “I am not having the love relationships I want, I might have a self-love problem?” Me, never. Funny.

I coached hundreds of women and I am convinced deep down most of them love themselves enough to navigate life.

This is not a self-love issue.

This is a power issue.

The majority of women and men want to be in a fulfilling romantic relationship.

But for women, being in a relationships is more tied to feel valued as a person. There are several sociologic reasons for that, but a big one is a this power dynamic remaining through a tale:

The tale of being valuable as a woman if chosen.

Being chosen is depicted in so many stories, movies, series as the gateway to the “happy ever after” package.

I want first to say that during history, though it’s not often mentioned, there are many examples where women were the ones having the last word in term of partnering. It was the case during the Victorian era, for example, that women actually were the ones choosing between several suiters.

But back to the old times (and as I write this I am conscious of being a European and understand that not every woman in the world can write it’s over), the deal was “If you stand here displaying the perfect ways of being, you therefore will be chosen.”

2024 version of this in the personal development world:

“If you stand here full of self-love, you’ll manifest the perfect romantic relationship/love/partner.”

The common thread is the same. Who you are, your ways of being, determine if you will be loved or not.

How do you know when you play that game to your detriment?

When you wait—for an answer, a sign, help, touch, sex, love, recognition of some sort—and you don’t ask for anything. You suffer in silence, and you wait.

And what is the patriarchal message which keeps you in check? And makes your nervous system, wired to adapt to this old narrative, freaking out if you show you want more from that relationship than what’s actually happening and you voice it?

You’re needy!

Booohhoooo, here is the internal police, shame, creeping in.

“Did you just show you have needs and therefore boundaries? Needy girl, how dare you? Go and love yourself.”

There’s something important you want to build more capacity for in your nervous system, and spoiler, it’s not self-love;

It’s for owning that you are a woman who wants.

It requires feeling legitimate for wanting, to the point you can show it and voice it to another person with unshakable confidence.

That, to me, is the journey.

This paradox of wanting a relationship, but feeling exposed displaying it, is exhausting for women. There are two people involved in a relationship. Being convinced you’re the only one responsible for the outcome with “your vibe” will only make you feel like an ass and lead you to some sort of “trying to figure out love” burnout.

So here is a map to save yourself a lot of time and energy:

Set the intention to stay in your body while interacting with a person you want to be in a relationship with, or with your partner if you want to change the dynamic between you two.

Stay with how he or she makes you feel, and speak accordingly to your internal experience, not to what you think is expected from you.

Ditch the thought error, “If I ask, he/she will think I am needy and I’ll make him/her walk away.” A person willing to meet your needs won’t walk away; a person not willing to meet your needs will.

Look at the women around you, spot the ones who get what they want, and find out if they did a lot of self-love work.

Decide to walk in the direction of owning you are a woman who wants, shamelessly.

Tend to your nervous system during this process, because that’s where you’ll feel the resistance, and as well, where you’ll create powerful and sustainable changes.


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