We’ve heard it a thousand times:
If you don’t love yourself, you’ll settle for a man who doesn’t value you.
That’s obvious, right?
But looking back on your relationship history, you may be able to pick out quite a few exes who didn’t value you. Even a few that you probably settled for.
Does that mean you don’t love yourself?
“Love yourself,” like a lot of feel-good sayings, is popular because it feels true.
But the more you dig down into it, the more you find it doesn’t actually tell you much at all.
Let’s say you’re talking with a friend about a romantic difficulty you’ve found yourself in. She looks you straight in the eye and tells you, “Girl, you just gotta love yourself!”
Of course you’re going to nod. Naturally, you know she’s right.
But how has that comment helped you?
What can you possibly do with it?
Are you going to go home and start loving yourself from this day forward?
It would be nice if you could. But self-love isn’t that easy.
Here’s what we do know. We know there’s a link between low self-esteem and staying in bad relationships.
A study found that partners with low self-esteem avoid confrontation for fear of rejection. They don’t want to bring up problems, because they worry that any complaint could cost them the relationship.
So is the answer to tell that person to love herself…
Or help her develop the courage to ask for what she wants?
I can’t give anyone the self-love they may be missing. But what I can do is help my coaching clients envision how it would feel to them to be in a great relationship.
When you know in your heart what a great relationship feels like to you, you can see the difference between the one you’re in now and the one you want to be in.
You may still struggle with feeling worthy, but knowing that what you have isn’t what you want will give you enormous power.
The power to ask for changes to your existing relationship … or release it with love.
So let’s look at some questions to help you brainstorm what your great relationship might look like.
- When I say the words “great relationship,” do any of your past relationships spring to mind? If so, think of 3 words that describe each of them. For example, loving, fun, exciting, stable, committed.
- What feelings do you crave when you’re with someone? Do you crave to feel cherished, completely accepted for who you are, respected, appreciated, supported, beautiful?
- What habits or behaviors will you use to show each other love? Will you tell each other, “I love you,” buy each other gifts, show physical affection?
- What lifestyle do you associate with a great relationship? Would you be married or living together? Would you both be working? Would you be living in a house or an apartment? Would you cook meals together, watch television together, go out on regular date nights?
- What does a great relationship teach you about each other? Does it challenge you? Is it an opportunity to work on relationship skills? Does it help you learn about vulnerability and intimacy?
- How does a great relationship enable you to serve? What role do you play in his life? How do you contribute to the greatness of your relationship?
The clearer you become on what a great relationship feels like to you, the more you can see ways to make it happen.
If you would like your partner to say he loves you more often, ask him. Make it easy for him by describing exactly what you feel inside when he says those words.
If you feel like a great relationship means treating each other with enormous respect, talk to him about it. Help him see your vision for the two of you.
When you hold this idea of what the two of you could achieve together, you inspire the right man to stand with you.
It’s not just about winning a man’s love anymore. It’s not about feeling wanted or needed. It’s about taking your love for each other and using it as a springboard to create a wonderful life.
When you come from that perspective, you trigger his sense of mission and purpose. He’s not just in a relationship with you because he likes you. He’s in a relationship with you because, together, you can create something beautiful.
As students of my His Secret Obsession course know, that’s an important key to triggering his sense of commitment.
Loving yourself is a worthy goal. But it’s not enough. Because what you really want is to love each other, and that takes two.