A New Year and New You Starts With Self Love

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Most of us will agree that 2020 was a challenging year. Many things happened to us that were unexpected and not within our control. There were protests, unnecessary deaths, and job losses due to the pandemic. My family and I personally experienced several deaths of friends from Covid-19 and other illnesses. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and fortunately I caught my cancer early enough to have an excellent prognosis of survival and found love with a wonderful man during the journey of healing. Although our world turned upside down, I feel like through the pain of 2020, I was provided with a gift:  It gave me 20/20 hindsight. It taught me that time is sacred and it granted me a clear vision for my future.  

We need contrast to grow because; without it, we stay small. How can we dream, desire, or appreciate something if we don’t have the difference in experiencing the things we don’t want. How can we feel the impact of happiness without understanding sadness? 

Life is hard; that is the reality, but we have not come here to “face reality” we have come here to create it. The thoughts that we think, the words that we say, and the actions that we take all dictate the course of our life. Once we recognize that we CAN positively influence our circumstances we begin to see a shift. We might not control events but we are able to control whether people, situations, or experiences break us or make us. If they discourage us or motivate us to be more, do more, and have more.

As we launch into a new year, many of us will be making resolutions. To be successful there is a need to focus on self-love. Studies show if you are motivated by self-compassion or self-love, you are more likely to stick to your goals long term instead of being influenced by your inner critic. How do you silence self-loathing and put into practice this self-love? The answer is in the question- it takes practice.  If you want to move from platitude to practice it takes some work.

Although self-love is a reflective process in which one turns their energy inward, the benefits are not selfish. In actuality, in order to care for others effectively, one must first care for themselves. Prior to taking off on an airplane, the flight attendant assures flyers that in case of an emergency, regardless of who is nearby, it is critical to first put on your oxygen mask before helping others. We wouldn’t dare tell someone who abides by this regulation that they are truly selfish. Similarly, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-focus is not egocentric; ultimately, self-focus helps you and others.

We’ve all heard it before, “you can’t love others before you learn to love yourself first.” It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow, and for being such a simple statement, it can feel super complicated. Let me start this off by saying that the statement is the truth. Self-love plays a huge role in our relationships with others whether it be romantic relationships or friendships. Therefore, it’s important to recognize and thoroughly understand how self-love affects the love we give and receive from other people.

When you treat yourself without respect or love, you basically give others permission to do the same. So its important set high standards for yourself and be able to stand up for yourself and say “I’m better than this. I’m not going to tolerate this happening to me.” If you don’t love yourself first, you’re not going to have any standard as to how others should treat you. When you have that unconditional self-love, it’s a lot easier to recognize when people are giving you less than you deserve. You’ll notice that as you grow in your self-love journey, you’ll cut ties with certain people because you realize they don’t make you feel good, they don’t uplift you, and they don’t help you grow. Yeah, it can be hard, and can even hurt. However, as your self-love increases, your tolerance for negativity, and disrespect decreases, and these toxic relationships just won’t be worth your time and energy anymore.

You do not want to be in a situation depending on other people to make you feel loved or worthy. Codependency is defined as “excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically a partner who requires support due to an illness or addiction.” This is usually the kind of toxic relationship that can develop if one or both partners seriously lacks self-love, self-confidence, self-worth, etc. There are different levels to this, but regardless, it’s not a healthy situation. When you build dependency on a partner it gets scary. You start thinking things like what if that person leaves? How am I going to live without them? Who else is really going to love me? Then if the relationship does end, you’re left there devastated and feeling like you’ll never find anyone else. Yes, breakups are difficult regardless, but being filled with self-love can make it easier to bounce back from the fall. Think of a relationship as a partnership. Two whole people coming together to support, uplift, and empower each other, NOT two “halves” coming together to form one whole person. So as cute as it may sound to tell someone that they “complete you,” that really shouldn’t be the case. Make yourself whole on your own instead of searching for someone to “complete” you or validate your worth.

Learn how to make yourself happy, so that you’re able to communicate to future partners how they can make you happy too. You can end up ruining a perfectly good relationship if your relationship with yourself isn’t there yet. When you don’t know how to keep yourself happy, and only gain happiness from your relationship, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your partner to constantly keep you happy. That kind of pressure is unfair, and can end up damaging the relationship as a whole. The other extreme, is getting so wrapped up in being the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband/etc. and trying to keep your partner happy, that you forget about making yourself happy. You lose yourself in them and end up compromising way too much. The solution? Just be yourself, and love yourself from the beginning. Know your true, genuine self, and let your light shine. That way, whoever you attract is loving you for you, and not some sort of compromised version of you.

Self-love plays a pretty big role in your relationships with others. Shift your mindset to view your relationship with yourself just like any other relationship you have with anyone else in your life. Treat your relationship with yourself with the same level of care and love that you would treat a relationship with a partner. The relationship with yourself is the one relationship that you know for sure you’re going to have for the rest of life, so why not make it the best relationship you’ve got!

2021 is the year to get intentional about making ourselves happy: to be a magnet of love, confidence, and fulfillment, no matter how bizarre or testing it might be.

Set yourself up for the challenge to step into your power in 2021. 

Let’s do this together and start off 2021 with a bang!

There is no better time for change.

Just Keeping it 100,

Stephanie

Picture Courtesy of Freepik

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