Learn how to enjoy your own company, how to be okay with spending a Friday evening by yourself. Learn that spending time alone will not equate to an existential crisis-inducing nothingness – unless you let it. Figure out that there are a lot of things you can do on your own: reading and documentary-watching and DIY projects and acting classes and pottery and coding lessons and catch-up phone calls with friends and purging those belongings you’ve wanted to purge for years and long walks and YouTube tutorials. And a million other things, too.
Understand that it is possible to love being alone, instead of just trying to survive it. Understand also that even if you eventually find the most perfect person in the world for you, you still have to learn how to be alone.
Understand that even if you fall in love to the point where it sets your soul on fire, you still have to be you. You will still come to learn that you have to be your own person outside of them.
Understand that falling in love can play a huge part in where your life will go, but it is not THE defining factor.
Because if you hate yourself, if you can’t stand listening to your own thoughts and thinking about your own life, if you really don’t like who you are – another person is not going to fix that. They will be a temporary distraction of course. A beautiful, loving, encouraging, can’t-think-about-anything-or-anyone-else kind of distraction, but eventually that feeling will come back down to earth, and settle itself into a more comfortable and sustainable sort of existence.
And even though you’ll be with your partner now, even though you might be happier than you’ve ever felt in your life because of their presence within it, you’ll still be stuck with yourself too. Just like before.
So learn how to love yourself. And understand that another person can love you with every fiber of their entire being, but that their total acceptance of you and who you are cannot fix you. Only your complete and total acceptance of who you are can fix you.
And it’s not going to happen in a day, or in a month, or in a year. It will probably be a lifelong process, just like it is with everyone else. You do not have to completely check off this ‘falling in love with yourself’ requirement from your to-do list before you can begin falling in love with someone else. But you do need to have begun the journey. You do need to have come to this realization and acknowledged that as happy as a new (and potentially lifelong) love can make you, that you are still the only person in the entire world who will live your exact life. You will spend every waking moment with yourself until the day you die. So you might as well start right now. What are you waiting for?