Falling in love is a tricky thing. It takes so much time and then takes no time at all. It’s a balancing act of knowing when to be selfish and when to compromise. It’s forgiveness and trust and discovery. It’s confusing, but exhilarating. Difficult, yet so satisfying. There are many different kinds of love, but the trickiest of them all is the love we must fall in with ourselves.
You see, we can’t expect to give ourselves fully to another person, to trust that it’s right, to be a strong partner, if we’re unsure about ourselves. How can we expect someone else to be happy with us if we aren’t happy with us? We all know this to be true, but, man, is it easy to forget. Let us never be too stubborn to deny ourselves the help of these simple reminders.
1. We don’t need someone to love us in order to love ourselves.
I don’t understand this notion that pairing up with another person will bring happiness. Isn’t it unfair to put that responsibility on someone else? As if once we meet someone, all of the sudden all of our insecurities go away, all of our fears and doubts vanish, that lingering sensation of loneliness and inadequacy just disappears. That’s not how it works. We can’t depend on someone else to make us whole, to make us happy. We first need to achieve that ourselves, on our own, before we can ever expect to share ourselves with another person. Looking for a partner at a time when we’re unhappy being alone is a recipe for disaster. Partners should enhance each other’s happiness, not be responsible for it.
2. The self-discovery never ends, we just get better at it.
Sometimes, partners need to pick each other up.Those fears and doubts, they never really go away. We are ever-evolving creatures. And while it is imperative we discover ourselves and grow individually, we will also continue growing once we’re in a relationship. Different hurdles will spring up in front of us, new emotions will begin to rattle our nerves and shake our security. But it takes being completely comfortable with who we are now, in our moment, to fearlessly look forward to who we will become. The beauty of having a strong partner is that they can offer support in those times when we inevitably begin to question ourselves. But a strong partner must be strong on their own before they can be strong for another.
3. We all get lost. No one gets a map.
Unfortunately, we aren’t given a road map to navigate this journey. And as effortlessly beautiful as life can be, it’s also rough and dirty and hurts like hell sometimes. We’re going to cry gut-wrenching sobs and question and doubt ourselves and feel achingly lonely in our own company. But all of that confusion is shaping us. It is helping us find our direction, guiding us down the path to be the people we need to be. The people we can then share with someone else, confidently, knowing we don’t need fixing, knowing we don’t need to depend on that other person to show us how to love ourselves.
4. People aren’t mirrors, they can’t show us who we are.
We can’t depend on someone else to show us why we’re worthy of unconditional love and affection. We should know. Deep down in our gut, we need to know our worth. That is the only way to trust that we aren’t settling for less than we deserve. And to do that, we must look within. Introspection is difficult, and often avoided, but it is so important. Love must first be cultivated within ourselves in order to be given out and then returned. We receive what we put out into the universe. Therefore, we must take the time to nurture and love ourselves, so we can then trust we are receiving only the best. Only what we deserve. No less.
So let us first commit to ourselves, before ever committing to someone else. Take the time and put the effort into getting to know ourselves. Test boundaries, try new things, fail, feel rejection, revel in accomplishment. Let us learn what fills us with joy, what gets under our skin, what challenges our ego. We owe it to ourselves and to our future partners. It’s not easy, but it is so worth it. Because self-love is the most beautiful thing we can ever give ourselves.
So go ahead, fall in love.