“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” ~Sonya Friedman
The moon was shining brightly that balmy summer’s night in the park. He’d arranged a meeting to “sort things out.” Little did he know I’d finally built the courage to walk away. And that’s exactly what I did.
I was devastated but mostly relieved. Finally, I was free.
For the longest time I’d craved his love. I needed his approval. I wanted the happy ending so badly.
Why? I meant something when I was with him. I felt worthy and kind of secure.
But I wasn’t. I’d given away all of my power. I was dependent on him to feel love.
And he knew it, so he treated me however he wanted. For him it was a game, and every problem in our relationship somehow always came back to me.
I was needy, insecure, and completely out of touch with who I was and what I really wanted. I’d sacrificed everything about me in an effort to try to please another being.
He told me I wasn’t sexy enough, so I read book after book about how to be more feminine and alluring. He told me I was too quiet, so I went out of my way to be outgoing, happy, and bubbly. He told me I took up too much time, so I made other plans and disappeared for a while.
He could have told me anything and I would have accepted it. There wasn’t an ounce of self-respect in my bones. My misery was born from this very fact.
I’d let this happen for so long. It wasn’t entirely his fault. My neediness and lack of self-worth had created and perpetuated our problems. But for some reason that I can’t explain, that evening a spark had been ignited and I’d finally had enough.
I’d reached my pain threshold. I was completely done with feeling miserable, doubting myself, and feeling disrespected. I was so over letting someone else control my decisions, emotions, and self-worth.
I’d begun to love myself a little more than I loved him. A butterfly was emerging from the cold, dark cocoon I’d been hiding in my whole life. It felt new and scary but ridiculously empowering and liberating.
In a moment of clarity a string of epiphanies melted my confusion:
- Deep love comes from within.
- I choose how I want to feel.
- I’ll never be satisfied just with love from someone else.
- If I don’t authentically love myself, I can’t expect anyone else to truly love me.
- The way I treat myself shows others how I expect to be treated.
That evening I vowed to put myself first and to be kind, loving, and generous with myself. This is the way I wanted to be treated. Out of self-respect and needing a fresh start, I walked away. From that point on it was my intention to live my life on my terms.
It might sound selfish, but it was completely the opposite. And it eventually led me to the life-long relationship of my dreams.
What’s The Real Impact Of Neediness On Relationships?
I wholeheartedly believe that sharing the joys and wonder of life with another being who lights up your world is absolutely priceless. There’s nothing like it. It’s one of the greatest joys on Earth, and something every human being deserves to experience.
But it’s extremely hard to find this happiness with another if you’re in a relationship with a need to be filled up by someone else.
Being needy, insecure, and trying to gain approval and a sense of self-worth from your partner puts a huge amount of pressure on them, and it’s a major turn-off.
It’s an unachievable task because feeling inherently loved and worthy comes from within. Not from your partner.
An outstanding love doesn’t come from two half-fulfilled people coming together to make one whole, complete life. Outstanding love comes from two whole people coming together to share and enhance their already full and beautiful lives.
An amazing relationship comes about when we own and appreciate who we are and completely accept the other person for who they are.
So loving and putting you first is not selfish, it’s necessary. It’s imperative to creating the wonderful love and life we all desire. And let’s get something straight—loving yourself doesn’t deplete the love tank; it actually fills it up so we have even more to give.
What Does Self-Love Really Look Like?
It’s prioritizing your dreams and making an effort to do things that inspire and light you up.
It’s saying no to things you don’t agree with or that don’t fit in with your plans.
It’s deciding to spend time with people who support, encourage, and motivate you to be the best version of you.
It’s owning your thoughts and opinions and refusing to be swayed in order to please others.
It’s being gentle with and talking kindly and sweetly to yourself.
It’s having the courage to try new things that you’ve always wanted to experience.
It’s taking time out to nourish your mind, body, and soul—exercise, eating well, alone time.
It’s trusting your intuition and honoring your own truth.
It’s spending money on things that make you feel amazing while investing in your future.
It’s daring to believe that you’re capable of achieving and creating the life you visualize.
It’s choosing to see the good and refusing to let others bring you down.
It’s gifting yourself forgiveness and accepting yourself for all of your beautiful and not-so-cool quirks and qualities.
How Does Self-Love Create A Great Relationship?
When we truly love and respect ourselves, we’re free from doubt and endless worry, so we trust our feelings and decisions. It allows us to be courageous and authentic.
We begin to live from the heart and play a bigger, kinder, more generous version of life. We forget our self-imposed boundaries and dare to dream larger and wilder.
We stop focusing on negativity and become present to the beauty and possibilities within and outside of ourselves. We realize how great our lives are and open the doors for gratitude to flow in abundance.
We start to emanate happiness, confidence, playfulness, peace, and positivity.
It’s electric and like a powerful magnet to others. Your ideal partner will be drawn to you like a bear fresh out of hibernation looking for his first meal.
And once you find that special one, love will be easy.
It’ll be natural. It’ll flow freely without judgment or pretense. It’ll inspire and nourish you. Your lives will be even richer, happier, and more vibrant than ever.
And you’ll wonder why you didn’t take the time to fall radically in love with you just a little bit sooner.
Photo by Sibel