How to be Loved and to Love Yourself
When we’re not in a relationship, it may seem like everywhere you turn someone is happy and in love. This can be difficult to process, especially when you are trying to find love in your own life. Don’t let the couples around you discourage you from your journey. Instead, use the passion you see around you as positive energy, to help push you toward finding love, both externally and internally. Read on to learn all about how to approach loving yourself and finding love for yourself.
Are You Ready for Love?
Before you can start your journey toward being loved, you must love and value yourself. You serve others, often at the expense of your own personal goals. Take time to recognize your own beauty, your accomplishments, and the personality that makes you shine. When you are at the top as a high performer, uniqueness or individuality is not always encouraged, but it is best to stand out for your unique qualities both at work and in your personal life.
Of course, loving yourself is easier said than done. People have a tendency to doubt themselves, and get caught up in the “what if.” Those two small words together create more stress than any others in the English language. To love yourself, you must be willing to accept both your accomplishments and your flaws to be comfortable with who you are. When you spiral into the realm of “what ifs,” you will become overwhelmed with doubt and place barriers to your growth or opportunity.
The reason “what ifs” get in the way of self-love and appreciation is because you start to compare yourself to the people around you. “What if I had her job? Then I would be happy!” Or, “What if I looked like her? Then I would be attractive!” Throw those questions out the window. Instead of blocking your blessings and watching life pass you by, enjoy all that you have. Once you can conquer that hurdle, then you are ready to start your journey towards true love.
Let Yourself Shine – Inside and Out
Once you have found the confidence to love yourself, you are ready to step out into the dating world. If you want to find love, you need to put your best foot forward. Yes, someone should love you for who you truly are, but dress up and show up to make that first impression.
When are you most confident? Is it when you are in your pjs at home, when you are looking casual while running to the store, or when you are dressed to impress? It’s likely the latter. When you dress up, your inner beauty and confidence radiates on the outside.
You never know who you are going to meet on any given day. Your future boss could be shopping at the same shoe store as you. Similarly, the love of your life could be dining at the same bar, just feet away from you. So make sure whenever you go out, you look your best and feel your most confident. You ARE a brand. It may sound strange, but remember that the opportunity to network or be introduced to someone can happen at any time. Have a routine.
Looking and feeling your best does not have to take a lot of energy. If you feel confident when wearing makeup, get a 10 minute routine so you can enhance your best features. If you love wearing dresses or certain colors, make an appointment at Nordstrom’s for a personal shopper. That champagne they give you helps you try a few new pieces on! If you prefer high end consignment, take those ideas and photos to your favorite vintage store. No matter where you shop, make time to find styles that work for you and invest in a wardrobe full of flattering pieces. And, if you want to feel fit and energized, take 30 minutes (or 10-15 minute increments) every day and get in that workout.
Being your best self isn’t just about what’s on the outside. You can look gorgeous with a red lipstick, but even the shiniest gloss can’t hide any turmoil within. Just as you dress up your outside, you should show off your best qualities to “dress up” your inside. Regular counseling or therapy is a good idea to add to your regimen. Taking control and working on your emotional triggers helps with getting the baggage out of the way in a relationship. Do this as part of your ‘stepping out’ process.
A welcoming smile can go a long way, especially when you are just entering the dating field. Flashing a friendly, inviting smile will encourage potential matches to come your way. A great way to judge the true character of your date is by noticing how they treat the wait staff at a restaurant. Like you, they will likely be putting on their best face in the beginning of your relationship. If they are mean to your waiter, that’s likely what you’ll have to look forward to when you become more comfortable together. Don’t overthink it, but if someone is not bringing joy, move on quickly. You don’t owe anyone more time or more opportunities to convince you it’s a match.
Love is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
With holidays like Valentine’s Day thrown in your face every year, or the attending the holidays alone dread creeping in, you may feel like you need to find love right now. Love is a marathon, not a sprint. When you start dating, you shouldn’t rush into a relationship right away, especially if you’ve been out of the game. Getting to know someone deeply is more important than saying “I love you” within the first month or becoming antsy because you don’t have a calendar full of dates.
When you start dating, you will likely face rejection; it’s natural. Although it may hurt, don’t let it bog down your spirit. Instead, use this small hurdle as a learning tool. Ask yourself why it didn’t work out. Evaluate yourself, how you are portraying yourself to the world, and the person you connected with. Are they worth your time? Do you share the same values and politics? You don’t want to settle. If you aren’t happy or convinced, do not rush into the relationship for short-term company or social fun.
One of the biggest issues people face, especially when starting their romantic journey, is feeling lonely. You are intelligent and beautiful, but when you get rejected or ignored, you can feel like you aren’t good enough. This can lead you back down the path of not loving yourself enough to be loved by others. It’s a trap. Avoid assuming that everything is a reflection of your worth. Folks are distracted, some men are not looking for serious commitment and you should accept that it can be a ‘numbers game’ that has nothing to do with you personally.
If you have ever felt this way, know that loneliness is normal. In fact, loneliness is a choice when you are ambitious and should not be seen as a negative space at all. Instead of harboring negative feelings about yourself and your situation, you can use loneliness to reflect on your desires and gratitude, which helps if you do it regularly. Instead of focusing on your problems, try to create meaningful solutions.
Do you feel lonely because your girlfriends tear you down, instead of lifting you up? Find some new friends and ask them to coffee. Do you feel lonely because you don’t have a romantic interest in your life? Go out at least once a week in your favorite dress, and try to connect with someone who makes you laugh. A movie alone or comedy show may be a better option than sitting alone thinking about what’s bothering you.
When traveling through your journey towards love, you have to take every challenge as it comes. Whether you’re battling loneliness, a lack of self-confidence, or struggles within your social life, you should tackle each obstacle as if it is there to make you stronger. Nothing more.
Don’t forget, no one can complete a marathon alone. There are coaches, planning phases, training phases, and many supporters along the way. If you start to feel like you are falling off the path in your love journey, find a group of people you can lean on who can relate, but not lament. Whether it’s friends who you trust, or a coach with shared interest in preparing you for the opportunities ahead, systematically gather a group of people you can rely on and eliminate detractors.
Stop Waiting, Just Do It
Humans are creatures of habit. When we fall into patterns, even terrible ones, we tend to stick with them, because they are comfortable to us. This includes your love life. How long have you been single? In that time, have you ever invested in yourself to help change your relationship status? In your career, you took action when you wanted a promotion or more leadership. Are you approaching relationships in the same manner?
Everyone says they want to change, but how often do they really make an effort. Think of New Year’s Resolutions. ⅓ of people with a weight loss goal have traded it in for a box of chocolates by Valentine’s Day each year. You do so much for others, but How many times have you prioritized what matters to you? There are endless reasons to keep putting off your dreams. You don’t want to rock the boat; you don’t know where to start; you’re afraid of rejection.
If you want to be loved, you have to stop waiting and just do it. If you keep waiting because of another lame excuse, you are your own worst enemy. Talk to someone completely new the way you do at work. Ask your friends if they know any single people if you don’t know where to start. And if you’re afraid of rejection, get ready to face your fears. You can turn all that pain into progress. Be fearless. If you needed a new job, you would ask around about who is hiring, right? Same principle. Stop overthinking everything.
What is one thing you can do today to start pushing toward your goal? If your goal is to love yourself, write a post-it note about yourself everyday and add it to your mirror. Compliment your style, your success, remind yourself that you are worth it.
If your goal is to find love, then take steps to find the one. Download dating apps, hang out at your local karaoke bar after work, and spend time improving yourself. You can’t keep pushing off your love life and you don’t want regrets later because you waited so long.
Find Your Love
Valentine’s Day is often called “Singles Awareness Day.” Next time it rolls around, instead of being sad about your relationship status, take the holiday to reflect on your values. Why haven’t you been in a relationship? What has happened in the past that you want to avoid? What is important for you going into this next relationship?
While asking these questions, look deep within to find the critical answers you need. Once you know what you desire, you can start looking for love.
If you aren’t looking for romantic love, you can still follow the same process. If you simply want to love yourself more, say yes to yourself and your needs more, you need to start by asking yourself hard questions. Why aren’t you confident when it comes to prioritizing your needs? Where are you in your life? Where do you want to be? These questions will guide you through your journey to self-acceptance and elevate your goals.
While the love journey starts with you, you do not have to conquer this tall task alone. Dr. Toni is a best-selling author, speaker and consultant for high performers who want to take control of their career, love and lifestyle. After facing her own burnout, negative self talk and relationship failures, she uses her personal struggle to equip others with the tools to create their best lives.
Even if you are single, Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to feel like a waste. Channel your energy into finding love and happiness, in whatever form is best for your life.
Starting Your Journey
Every person’s journey towards love is different, but don’t settle. To start your journey, you should identify your goal. Then set a timeline. Do you want to boost your confidence within 3 months? Do you want to find your soulmate within 2 years? Don’t be afraid of longer timelines if you have milestones to reach in the meanwhile. Some people just want to love themselves. Others want to improve self care so they can then be loved by others. As stated before, your journey should be a marathon, not a sprint. If it takes a long time to reach your goal, it will have been worth it.
We all feel stuck at one point or another. Your success depends on whether you are willing to dig yourself out of the mundane hole you have created and you don’t have to go it alone.
About Dr. Toni A. Haley
Toni A. Haley, MD is a bestselling author, speaker, and certified executive coach for high performing women. She is also the founder and CEO of Williams Wellness Group. Dr. Haley is sought after by clients for her 25 years of experience in finance, healthcare, and wellness. Her proven strategies have helped hundreds of women break through personal and professional barriers, such as Perfectionism, Martyr Complex, and Imposter Syndrome. She is a proud alumna of Morgan State University and Ross University School of Medicine. Dr. Haley has committed her career to empowering women to achieve greater prosperity and wellness.