Do you really need to love yourself first?
Self-love is a crucial part of living a happy and fulfilling life. You might have heard the saying, “You need to love yourself first before you love someone else.” But is that really true?
If you don’t love yourself, it’s still possible to be in a loving and supportive relationship with a partner. However, you’ll be able to give more to that person if you also show love to yourself.
I’ve been single for a while, and it’s given me time to reflect on my past relationships. I’ve struggled with self-esteem for most of my life, and it definitely took a toll on my romantic relationships.
Whenever I was dating or “talking to” someone, I thrived on that person’s validation. And if I didn’t get it, I felt really, really bad about myself. My emotions and self-worth were in someone else’s hands. It was a miserable way to live.
As a single woman, I’ve had time to focus on myself and work on my self-esteem. I started practicing self-love. Instead of constantly feeling hollow, I became a well-rounded, happy, and motivated person.
I know I’m not ready to start dating again. I still have work to do. But as I love myself more every day, I’m getting closer to the point when I’m ready to bring a romantic relationship into my life.
So, to answer the question, self-love is not always a requirement for a healthy relationship, but it will help out a lot and make life more enjoyable for both partners.
Here are 12 reasons why you should make self-love a priority ASAP:
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1. Self-love gives you an identity.
At my lowest, most self-loathing points, I felt like a shell of a person. I didn’t have a clear identity or purpose. But as soon as I started loving myself again, my path in life became clearer.
Loving yourself will give you an identity both as a single person and a partner in a relationship. You’ll thrive on your own without relying on validation from others.
When you’re dating someone, you’ll know who you are as a partner. You’ll understand the importance of your role in the relationship.
2. When you love yourself, you live more intentionally.
Once you have a firmer grasp on your identity, you’ll feel compelled to make the most of each day. Instead of letting life pass you by, you’ll live intentionally and take action to improve yourself.
I don’t think I’ve ever been in a relationship with someone who has truly challenged me. I’m way more productive as a single lady. I’ve also achieved more growth on my own than I ever have in a relationship.
I hope my next partner is someone who motivates me and supports me in everything I do. But until then, I’m going to continue to push myself and live intentionally every day.
Personal growth should never come from a negative mindset. It’s important to balance self-love and personal growth so your self-improvement goals come from a place of encouragement. Love yourself first!
3. Loving yourself makes you comfortable in your present state.
Before you work toward a new personal development goal, it’s so important to accept and love yourself the way you are.
When I was in high school and college, I hated my body. There were many things I didn’t like about it. And when I set fitness goals for myself, I got discouraged easily because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin.
When I made self-love a priority, I stopped comparing myself to the “ideal body” image I had in my head. I felt less pressure to look a certain way. And most importantly, I quit beating myself up when I didn’t see progress.
The path to achieving your goals will be much smoother if you love yourself.
4. Self-love helps you heal from heartbreak.
Fun fact: I started blogging after a bad breakup with my first serious boyfriend.
In the beginning, I didn’t intend to write about personal development, mental wellness, self-care, and self-love. I just wrote about whatever I wanted. But I felt compelled to write self-improvement posts because they helped me heal.
Writing was one of the ways I practiced self-love. It was therapeutic for me. In-person, I’m not very open about my feelings. In fact, I hardly talk to anyone about my struggles in life. (That’s something I need to work on!)
The point is that self-love will help you feel better when things go wrong.
After my first relationship ended, I was so hurt that I felt like I wouldn’t survive the heartbreak.
But I did survive it. How? By choosing to love myself.
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5. When you love yourself, you’ll be able to give more to others.
Self-love isn’t selfish! In fact, it helps you give more love to the people you care about.
When I was insecure, unsure of my purpose in life, and in a self-loathing state of being, I felt very jealous of others. I had a difficult time supporting my friends who were successful or in happy relationships. It sounds bad, but I’m being honest here!
I cared about my friends. I wanted them to be happy. But I pitied myself so much that I couldn’t give my full love and support to the people in my life.
Now that I’ve worked on my self-esteem, I’m able to build others up and cheer them on without feeling any jealousy at all. Because I feel secure in myself and where I am in life, I can celebrate other people’s wins without wishing they were my own.
Even if you’re in a wonderful relationship, you need to love yourself. Through self-love, you’ll be able to give so much more to your family, friends, and romantic partners.
6. Loving yourself makes you happier.
I got through the lowest, most depressing phases of my life by practicing self-love.
If you’re struggling to maintain a positive mindset, it’s time to look inward. Focus on your goals and inner desires. Practice self-care regularly. Do more of the things that make you feel alive.
Small, intentional actions make a big difference in this case. You don’t have to commit a lot of time or make massive changes to see improvements in your mindset.
Here are some little ways you can show yourself love:
- Start journaling daily. Get to know yourself better. Ask a few tough questions. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn about yourself by dedicating just 15 minutes a day to your journal. For inspiration, check out these personal growth journal prompts and self-reflection journal prompts.
- Treat yourself to something small. It could be an ice cream cone, a new pair of shoes, or a book to read. Just a little something to excite you and make your day better!
- Find new ways to invest in your personal growth. Here are some ideas on ways to invest in yourself.
- Take a self-care day to relax and recharge. For ideas, check out my post on how to plan the perfect self-care day.
- Repeat positive self-affirmations daily. Check out these affirmations to empower you.
- Change the way you speak to yourself. Learn how to use positive self-talk and silence your inner critic!
- Take yourself on a date. For ideas, read this list of solo dates!
- Practice self-care using your self-love language. If you don’t know yours, take this self-love language quiz!
As you can see, there are many ways you can show kindness and compassion to yourself. You just have to discover the ideas that work for your needs and lifestyle!
7. Self-love improves your communication skills.
When you prioritize and understand yourself, you’ll be able to communicate your needs to your partner.
In some of my previous relationships, I’ve been afraid to ask for the things I need. My communication skills haven’t always been the best. When I kept my feelings bottled up instead of being open and straightforward, I caused conflicts that could have been avoided.
In any healthy relationship, communication is key. Love yourself enough to be willing to speak up when you’re not getting what you need out of a relationship.
8. When you love yourself, you’ll willingly accept love from others.
Especially in my most recent relationship, I felt like I didn’t deserve the love I received from my partner. I kept asking myself, “Why does he love me?” And I told him that I didn’t understand how he could love someone like me.
My lack of self-worth strained our relationship because it made my partner feel like he was doing something wrong. In reality, he was doing everything right, but I couldn’t accept the love he was showing me.
Neither of us was perfect, but I know for a fact that my self-esteem issues caused major conflicts in our relationship.
When we broke up, my partner told me that he felt like he was “never enough” for me, even though I constantly reassured him that he was an amazing boyfriend. He blamed himself for my unhappiness, which breaks my heart to this day.
That’s why I’m taking a break from dating for now. I know I need to love myself fully and feel happy as a single person before I get into another relationship.
9. Loving yourself helps you make healthier choices.
Self-love applies to mind, body, and soul. Truly loving yourself means treating your body with respect, fueling it with nutrients that give you energy, and doing things that make you feel good on the inside.
I struggled with an eating disorder in high school and college. At that point in my life, I wasn’t showing love to my body. I was on a routine of restricting and overexercising. Instead of nutrition, I focused on image. The exterior.
After years of being in that unhealthy cycle, I went to therapy for my body image issues. There, I learned to love the body I was born with instead of wishing it was different.
Now, I try to respect my body by making healthy choices.
I enjoy exercising regularly. I eat mindfully, which means I practice nutrition when I can, but I also treat myself when I feel like it. I take great care of my skin. Overall, I just do things that make me feel good on the inside.
Healthy actions are forms of self-love. It’s all about the choices you make day-to-day!
10. Self-love helps you set appropriate boundaries with the people in your life.
Boundaries are a crucial part of any romantic or platonic relationship. In short, a boundary defines what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not.
You should communicate boundaries to be clear about your expectations in a relationship. Openness and clarity will prevent future conflicts.
When you love yourself, you’ll be able to set firm boundaries and stand your ground if they’re crossed. If you set healthy, appropriate boundaries and the other person follows them, you’ll get the respect you deserve from the relationship.
11. When you love yourself, you’ll feel passionate about life.
Some days, I wake up excited to take on the day and 100 percent ready to overcome the challenges in my professional and personal lives.
But on other days, especially during dark periods in my life, I’ve woken up feeling dead inside. Zero passion. No motivation to do anything.
Self-improvement is something that gets me excited (if you haven’t noticed, LOL). When I started focusing on self-love and personal development, I rediscovered the passion I lost when I got depressed.
If you’ve lost your drive, and you don’t feel passionate about anything, I encourage you to work on loving yourself more. You might rediscover your passion for a long-lost hobby, or maybe you’ll feel more motivated to make your next power move.
There’s a reason why “love” and “passion” are synonyms. Remember that!
12. Loving yourself gives you the confidence you need to pursue your dreams.
Many times in life, I let self-doubt get in the way of my goals. I missed out on opportunities because of it. Although I’m grateful for my journey, I regret the moments when I held myself back instead of just “going for it.”
Self-love will build your confidence. That confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth will give you the guts to take risks. You’ll go after the things you really want in life.
If there’s any good reason to love yourself, it’s because self-love fosters courage.