Relationships can be really tough to navigate when you’re trying to discover who you are. The popular saying, “you need to love yourself first before getting into relationships” stands partially true, especially in a world where loving yourself seems next to impossible compared to the standards that society has projected. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to completely love yourself before you can love someone else. Relationships should begin with self-love and care through a growing process. Beginning with asking yourself questions can go a long way.
Read on for self love advice from relationship experts and students before entering a relationship.
1. Do You Understand that You are Constantly Changing?
Like every relationship, the relationship you have with yourself fluctuates as you go through life. You are constantly changing and growing into the person that you want to be. The process of change stems from your physical and emotional surroundings and can easily change when you encounter something or someone new. You’ll experience days where you might not fully feel like yourself, where you feel lost and maybe not fully loving who you are in those moments. Embracing these possibilities will lead to self-love through the choices you make daily. The process of self-love will always be ongoing and should not be a sole factor as to why you shouldn’t be in a relationship.
2. What is the Current Relationship that You have with Yourself?
Taking a step back to understand the basics of who you are can be a good thing. What hobbies do you have that you haven’t picked up in a while? Is there anything you wish you were doing more of? Reflecting on your dreams and aspirations will build the foundation for the relationship you have with yourself.
“Before you jump into a new relationship, consider the relationship you have with yourself. Do you like yourself? Or do you feel worthy of being loved? Do you know your likes and dislikes? Loving who you are and being self-compassionate will help you choose partners who are better for you and leave ones that aren’t sooner,” said Relationship Hero co-founder and head coach Lior Gotesman.
Taking the time to consider the relationship within yourself can help you begin your self-love journey and eventually help you make a decision on what kind of partner(s) you want to have.
3. Are There Any Past Experiences that May be Harming You?
Past experiences are usually the reason why many people don’t feel ready to begin a new relationship. Whether you have unresolved issues with past relationships or experiences in your personal life, healing takes time and can impact the relationships you have in the future, especially the one with yourself.
“When we have the courage to heal our younger selves, we can then show up fully for our partner, and cultivate an environment that will yield us the greatest outcomes for relationship success. Cultivating a relationship with ourselves, and honoring our needs first and foremost is not ‘selfish.’ It lets our partner know we understand our value, and will never settle for less than we deserve,” said Founder of LovEd Isabell Springer.
You should not have to go beyond your comfort or boundaries in any relationships. What’s more important is that you’re trying to heal from any past experiences that may be impacting you, in whatever way you feel is best.
4. Do You Feel Ready to Enter a Relationship with Said Partner(s)?
Loving yourself and loving others can be a great responsibility. Developing feelings for new people can be scary and opening your heart to love brings both vulnerability and bravery. Asking yourself if you’re ready to pursue something new and checking in with yourself can help make this process easier. Establishing the type of relationship you want with partner(s) and making sure all parties are on the same page is important to establish a foundation for each other and give you the opportunity for growth.
“Ask yourself, how can you expect from others what you can’t even give to yourself? It is crucial to feel secure in yourself and what you think/do because it promotes a safer and healthier relationship. When you love yourself, you will not tolerate poor treatment or feel the need to seek constant validation/happiness from your partner,” said University of California, Fresno junior Samah Mohamed.
Relationships will always be fluctuating when the cards of life are dealt. Remembering that you’re all human and are bound to make mistakes can help you navigate the relationship.
5. What Are Your Relationship Values?
Exploring your relationships within yourself and others through created values can help you stay connected to your personal needs in life. Identifying values such as patience and honesty allows yourself to make commitments to honor those values before you begin a relationship in clarity. Some follow-up questions can include, “How can I recognize that value when it appears?” “What can I do to cultivate that value?” and “What should I ask a partner to do to cultivate that value?” By identifying and manifesting values within yourself and looking for partner(s) that have similar needs, the relationship can have a chance to begin.