Love Yourself Before You Love Another

One of the biggest obstacles in my relationship with Peter… was me.

When Peter and I started dating, I was still hurting over my heartbreak just a mere five months prior. I didn’t give myself even half of a year to be alone before I committed myself to another person. I didn’t realize at the time that I still needed to work on myself before I can make a relationship work. I was so desperate to fill that void in my heart that when there was a spark, I made it a fire. Little did I know that that fire I felt when I met Peter should have already been there.

I did not love myself for a long, long time. My previous partner had me questioning whether I was a person worthy of love. He never fell in love with me – why would anyone else? I have no hobbies or outstanding talents. I’m quiet and can’t make people laugh. I’m not exciting to be around. I criticized everything from my personality traits to my physical traits. So when Peter came around and thought I was someone worthwhile of getting to know, I let him in. I thought that his love for me could be enough to compensate for my lack of self-love. And it worked for a while. But not forever.   

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When you don’t love yourself, it will seep through the cracks. This self-destructive demon will show itself and begin to tear apart anything dear to you. You will fight with your partner about the smallest, most insignificant things. You will live in constant fear that your partner will leave you or find somebody better once they realize how pathetic of a person you are. You will overthink any type of interaction your partner has with a friend or a stranger. You will question why your partner is with you every. single. day. You are constantly pushing away a person that cares for you while also pulling on them to stay. Unfortunately, some girls stay with a person that mentally, emotionally, and/or physically abuses them because they believe that they are not worthy of anything else, that no one else would love them if they left. All of these things stem from the lack of love for yourself.

Peter and I almost left each other for good on multiple occasions because I didn’t love myself. Looking back, many of our fights were over something that I had an insecurity about or something that I thought about too hard. Insecurities are normal, and I still have them; but because I didn’t love myself, these insecurities were at an unhealthy extreme. Our fights almost always ended with me stating, “Maybe I’m not ready for a relationship.” And I was right. How could I know how to love another person when I didn’t even know how to love myself? How could I believe that someone was capable of loving me if I myself didn’t believe I was worthy of love? If I could do it all over again, I would not have jumped into my relationship with Peter so quickly after my break-up. If he really liked me at the time, he would understand and wait until I was stable and emotionally ready. It was my first time being single in almost four years because I was always dating somebody. It was time to put all that effort I was putting into another person into myself. Fortunately, I caught the most supportive and patient man who fought through it all to stay by my side. (Love you baby!) But realistically, I could have potentially lost someone who truly cared for me with no one to blame but myself.

So if you find yourself heartbroken and alone, my advice to you is this – date yourself. Go have lunch solo. Pick up any hobbies you may have lost or find some new ones. Re-connect with friends. Go on casual dates for some innocent fun. Flirt with the bouncer just because you can. Find that person you were before your heart was shattered while also discovering who else you may be now. We have always been taught that we aren’t whole or complete without another person. Or that another person can save you from distress like the fairy tales we grew up loving. I was certainly convinced that somebody else could do the dirty work for me. But I realized that the only person who could help me, was me. 

I am a whole person on my own. I have a heart that is full of love for myself and then love for another. I have two hands that can embrace another because they want to, not because they were meant to. Loving who you are and being confident will help you and your relationship thrive. It’s also attractive as fuck. It can also make heartbreaks easier (God forbids that happens) and you won’t drown in self-loathing and ask “why?!” all the time. I’ve witnessed too many of my girlfriends who cover up their personal wounds with another partner and then crumble all over again when the relationship fails. You’ll know what you’re worth. And you are worthy of love. We all are. Some of us just don’t see it yet.

As Topanga once said – “You do your thing, I do mine. You are you, I am I. And if in the end we end up together, it’s beautiful.” 

Featured Photos by Maivab Photography

Designer Darly Vu

Makeup by Cindy Vu

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