Sounds cliche, I know.
You’ve definitely heard this at least 1000x times on Instagram in an post with a white background + Times New Roman font saying “Learn to love yourself”. I strongly believed it as cliche up until the moment when I realised that there’s no way out.
I jumped from several connections to others to find happiness — up until I fell sick of relationships and connections. Now? I cannot even think of the fact that I would like to be with someone in the next few years. Why?
Because the only thing I need now is to be in a relationship with myself and offer my all in this connection: me and myself.
In my last 2 relationships/connections — I ended up loving my partner more than I loved myself. I would idealise them and then beat myself up for:
- Not working hard enough
- Not making enough effort
- Not being good enough
- Not looking good enough
Up until one day, I received a comment from my partner which sounded exactly like my self-sabbotaging mind: “Why don’t you do more for us??” — After having made more efforts than I would ever do now for anyone. For him nothing was ever good enough. And guess what? I fell sick. I felt sick. I still feel sick. I’m sick of mindless love for partners.
My body blocked. I felt uncomfortable most of the time. I stopped feeling the erotic. And my heart was telling me:
“You’re good enough. You deserve more. Do you want to live even the next 1 year like this?” — until I thought “I’m outta here.”
So I left.
And slowly being with myself the first time since 2018 (3 years ago) made me realise how I have not loved myself in these years and dedicated all my love to the guy next to me. Which is not wrong — but the love I should give my partner should definitely not be more than to myself.
Not a long term strategy
Obsessing over a guy/girl is not sustainable. It creates an imbalance in any relationship, leaving one side always dreaming about how perfect the relationship will be when the other party will eventually give in and love equally. It leaves the “admired” partner the “king/queen” of the duo — without realising, influencing the behaviour of the “slave” in a major way.
A healthy relationship is not obsession. It’s a calm friendship.
When you learn to truly love yourself you realise that you don’t have to obsessively love someone — because each and one of us is human, we equally have our flaws like everyone else.
Know your boundaries & needs
Loving yourself comes hand in hand with knowing yourself. Knowing what works for you, what doesn't. It’s hard to get in a relationship and not know your needs, boundaries and limits.
Think about the fact that the person next to you needs to know what your “manual” is.
How could they know “How you work” if you don’t know yourself? Also, it’s ok not to know! No one is born knowing everything about themselves — but we need to adopt an experimentation mindset that even while in a relationship we reflect on what works for us and what doesn’t.
I found myself in a situation where I dated a guy who wanted to try polyamory without having tried it before in his life. Which is fine. But if you know that you want to try it out, don’t keep playing with mixed messages of monogamy to a monogamous person when you know you want the opposite. Have the balls and say what you want. Make a decision.
You want to have multiple connections? Have the guts to own your decision, tell the monogamous interested party the reality, acknowledge the fact that they might get hurt and move on. Take responsability for your life. Breaking someone’s heart at the beginning is an easier hit than dating them for 5 years monogamously and then deciding to be polyamorous again. No. It just doesn’t work like that.
Own your needs and boundaries. Sometimes there’s no middle ground.
If there’s no middle ground, don’t milk the cow which doesn’t give milk
Have I made myself clear enough? Sometimes we negotiate middle grounds with our partner — sometimes it works out but sometimes there is just no middle ground. So we keep milking the cow in hope of a result just because we feel comfortable in the current relationship. Comfort sickens.
Is the momentarily comfort worth the pain later?
Knowing yourself and your needs helps a lot when making major decisions in life, such as:
- What type of partner to choose: sexual orientation, passions, interests, career choices, etc
- What career to choose: what industry, which continent, what job
- What house to design: how many floors, to use gold or hay, to go on full IKEA DIY mode or buy taylor made furniture
Knowing yourself is not a change from 0% to 100%.
None of us will know ourselves fully even on the day we die.
But the more we listen to our mind, our body, our thoughts — we can take a notebook, a pen and type down:
- How do I feel?
- Why do I feel X?
- What bothers me?
- What is the problem? What could be a potential solution? Maybe other solutions?
- What did I like? What didn’t I like?
- What will I miss? What will I not?
- Do I want to get back with my ex? Why yes? Why not? Will he/she change? Does he/she want to change?
Answering such questions to figure out how you feel is a great first step to seeing what works for you and what doesn’t.
For me personally, everything changed when I removed all the influences around me and I listened to the Hanna inside. Everything changed when I started loving how I look, how I talk, my Romanian accent, my weird dad jokes — which I absolutely adore now and don’t even care if people look at me in weird ways, how I draw my emotions out, how I am passionate about so many topics such as psychology, cultures, Strategic Design, Running, Reggeaton, Latino Culture etc.
This love came after “cleaning up” my life. Saying “No” to toxic behaviours, setting my limits, answering endless self-help questions, going to therapy.
By knowing who I am and what works for me — I love myself more, I see life in a different light, I’m excited for the future and the massive changes which might come along.
Breathe in and out. Start by taking a notebook and a pen and just write what you feel down — and keep asking: