Love yourself. It's a bit cringey that phrase isn't it? Not that I don't agree with it because it's absolutely true. But when people advise that you ‘learn to love yourself’ after a break-up, it's a bit of an alien one to grasp after nights of ugly crying, too much wine and struggling to even put a comb through your hair. If your self esteem is at an all time low, going and doing something nice for yourself just isn't going to cut it.
So how do you actually learn to love yourself after a break-up? In my opinion, there is only so much you can do with feel-good affirmations, talking to yourself kindly, getting your hair done or even working out. Don't get me wrong, all of that is valuable and will help, but when it comes to building your core self-esteem, which is where loving or at least liking yourself derives from, all of that has it's limits.
You need something more than that. You need more of a foundation.
A huge part of loving yourself comes from setting your boundaries and then walking your talk and living by them.
Say you've been cheated on and you're feeling rejected, hurt and maybe a bit victimised. Loving yourself will come from not going over and over what happened but looking at where you might have missed or ignored the signs. Were you turning a blind eye to bad behaviour, did you have doubts that you didn't communicate or were too afraid to voice in case you got the answer you dreaded? Well, loving yourself now is all about dissecting where all of that came from and setting those boundaries to make sure that doesn't happen again. It's taking everything you learned and enforcing some inner ground rules for yourself for the future.
Loving yourself is having the respect for yourself to not be a victim and not let this experience filter into your next relationships.
When we love someone so much that we let bad behaviour slide or let those gut instinct or hunches go, our boundaries drop quicker than a dodgy facelift. And then when it's over, we place the blame on the other person and can go into this victim mentality, which isn't congruent to learning to love ourselves at all. We listen to empowering songs to build us up and tell our friends that he/she can go to hell, but then secretly we're texting them telling them how much we miss them or gravitating towards people who will also treat us badly. We have no boundaries and therefore our emotions and self-worth becomes a free-for-all for others to just do what they want with. This all starts with what we allow in. It's not actually the fault of the other person or people. It's inevitable we'll all meet some prize tools when it comes to matters of the heart but we can love ourselves enough to learn from that moving forwards, and take responsibility for our part.
What setting boundaries and loving yourself doesn't mean is putting up walls and refusing to let people in or have fun. Or to not be able to go with the flow and be spontaneous. And of course, things will take us by surprise and come out of the blue where we might not get the outcome we want and wind up hurt.
But when it comes to loving yourself throughout these things, it's having the respect for yourself to know what you will/won't put up with and in turn, others knowing that too. But they'll only know that when you act upon what you're saying. You don't need to tell someone. You just have to show them. So it's having a word with yourself when you might convince yourself that going and meeting that guy at 1am (that you already know won't commit) is just a bit of fun, but knowing deep down that you'll wake up the next day and feel like crap because he didn't even walk you home last time that happened. Or knowing that girl is only texting you last minute to see you because her other plans fell through and you're the backup.
Loving yourself is being stronger than giving into the temptation of something that you know isn't good for you. It's looking at what hasn't worked with previous men or women you've dated/been in a relationship with and committing to change those repetitive patterns that have caused the same situation to keep happening again and again. Loving yourself is taking full responsibility for yourself and not allowing your self worth or how good you feel to be determined by others.
And once you get working on this, doing the surface stuff when it comes to loving yourself will seem all the more sweeter :)
It's not an easy one and it takes time, but it's so so so important.
Hope you found this helpful in some way! Do let me know what you think, As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts :)
Image courtesy of theunboundedspirit.com