Falling in love is perhaps the most beautiful and chaotic experience one can have all at once. It is that exhilarating rush one gets when one dives into unfamiliar waters. It is getting lost in a wonderfully strange world and not wanting to look back.
So many of us are like lost and wandering souls, looking for someone who would fill that empty void within ourselves. We are like incomplete puzzles, searching for our missing piece, our life mate. We desire someone who would give us the real feeling of love, of what it is like to love and be loved in return.
Love yourself first
Love is a very strange thing. Many go searching for it, wanting so desperately to find it that they ultimately lose themselves in the quest of finding love. Perhaps one of the most profound lessons one can learn in life is to fall in love with oneself first, in a non-selfish manner.
It is the kind of love that can never run out. It is the kind of love that makes you learn self-appreciation. Self-love is essential for allowing real love to fall into place.
Unfortunately, loving oneself is easier said than done. After all, love is a very mysterious thing, and not even the best-versed poet can capture its charms. The truth is self-love, much like love for another person, can get ultimately frightening and wonderful at the same time.
We are often told that one cannot truly love you, if you do not know how to love yourself first. Growing up, I would often wonder what these words meant. For the longest time, I had my doubts if these words would hold any meaning to my life.
However, experience has taught me that in order to allow love, real love to enter our lives, I would ultimately have to undergo the tedious and often humbling process of loving myself. Why? Because how can we give our love away when we don’t have any for ourselves? [Read: 11 tips for falling in love with yourself]
What is it like to fall in love without self-love?
You can be willing to give your all to someone you love, but what happens when you give them your all without leaving some love for yourself?
#1 We often think ourselves unworthy of being loved in return. To love is a great feeling. To be loved in return, that is an even greater feeling. It is ultimately fulfilling to have this love be reciprocated. However, when one feels unworthy of another’s love, the concept of love can be hard to comprehend.
We can never fully allow our partner to love us for who we are, because we ultimately fear something, whether it is being hurt or that the prospect of having another human being in our lives scares us. Finding ourselves unworthy of being loved is a tragedy in itself because, everyone deserves love. It is a far too precious commodity to not be shared.
#2 We often find ourselves to be lost in self-doubt. The first few months of a relationship are usually filled with feelings of bliss. However, when one has not learned to fully love oneself, one may find themselves continually asking, “Is this what I really want?” or “What am I doing here?”
Self-doubt can cause feelings of disillusionment in the relationship, which will only lead to feelings of discontent and, in a way, awe of what’s happening. When this happens, you feel like you are caught in between here and there, wanting to go another way, but always finding reasons to stay. When you succumb to the doubt of whether or not you can pull through, the odds of pulling through won’t be in your favor.
#3 It gives you feelings of restlessness. Being restless in a relationship makes your mind and heart wander. When you find that your heart is restless, you can never really be happy with what you have.
You find yourself constantly questioning the relationship in itself, because you keep wondering if this is what you deserve or if this is what’s good for you or if your partner will stay despite your shortcomings. The concept of having someone love you may be too overwhelming for you, especially when you haven’t learned to accept your own flaws.
#4 You often feel like your relationship will suddenly end. Falling in love is indeed a dangerous thing, because the concept of time is involved. Looking back on experience, I can say that there is no such thing as “forever,” because nothing really lasts.
I would believe in the more real statement, “I love you for as long as you will have me.” Love, like happiness, ultimately becomes a choice, and the so-called “honeymoon period” will eventually die down. When one hasn’t learned to love oneself, there will be the anxious feeling that the relationship will end and you feel like you are hanging by a thread. [Read: 10 ways to get through a rough patch in a relationship]
#5 Insecurities will always play a major part of your relationship. Let us all accept this one truth: there will always be someone better than you. For a time, I was plagued with insecurities, but I would eventually come to accept my insecurities. Every day, I am still learning.
Insecurity will always lead you to doubt your partner. You will constantly wonder if your partner is cheating on you, or if they will leave you, or if you will ever be good enough. Remember that there is a lot of beauty in this world, and you are beautiful in your own right. Remember this: your partner chose you. [Read: 9 ways to stop being needy and insecure]
#6 It will make you keep coming back to what broke you. When the relationship does end, everyone goes through a mourning period. Sometimes, when one hasn’t taken a chance to pause and do some introspection, they go back to what broke them in the first place.
This is a destructive habit because you will never know what you truly want and it doesn’t give you the chance to fully heal. In order to love yourself, you must have a chance to be alone and not go back to the same destructive ways that caused your world to come crashing down in the first place.
I realized that in order to find someone who would love me for me, I had to accept myself for who I was, no pretentions. After all, let’s be honest, if you cannot be true to yourself, how can you be true to others?
When you have learned to love yourself for who you are, warts and all, the right love, the one that you ultimately need, will land at your feet and you don’t have to chase for it.