In this article I explain how self-love defines your relationship standards and not necessarily the way you think.
Before you get upset about the title, I wanted to add my own nuance, because I often hear rather extreme injunctions that say, for example, “If you’re unhappy in love, if you attract toxic people, it necessarily means that you don’t love yourself” or “you have to love yourself completely if you want to be in a relationship.
For me, the answer is neither black nor white.
The answer lies in the grey areas.
Because personally, I think that loving oneself is a verb and it is a life’s work. It’s something that has to be cultivated. There are times when we love ourselves more than others. And it’s not because we don’t love each other totally and completely that we can’t be happy in our relationship.
I am a good example of this: There are times when I find it harder to love myself and times when it is easier to love myself. And I still manage to be happy in my relationship.
I even think that the partner, through his love, can help you to have a better vision of yourself.
So here’s the thing, I thought I’d do an article about it and I’d be very, very happy to get your feedback on Instagram.
If you know anyone who is horrified by these quotes, I invite you to share this episode with them. Read also How to cultivate more self-love.
And if you feel like helping yourself to have a more positive view of yourself, I have a meditation to cultivate more love for yourself.
So why do I say that self-love sets standards in relationships?
- The first aspect, which may seem very simple, is that it is easier to give what you know. When you have experienced what love is, when you have experienced the contours of love, it is easier to apply it to other people. I will give you an example. It is like tolerance, if you lack tolerance towards yourself, if you have not experienced it towards yourself, it is more difficult to be tolerant towards others. Same thing for a massage: if you want to give a massage to someone, to really understand the usefulness of doing such a gesture, the impact of having such a movement in such a part of the body, it requires you to have experienced it yourself. The more you experience the different versions of what it is, self-love, the easier it will be to give it naturally to someone else.
- The second aspect is that it makes it easier for you to accept the other person as he or she is, with all his or her shadow and sunshine sides, because you yourself are experiencing your two polarities, your two extremes, your inner contradictions. And the more you work on this degree of tolerance towards yourself, the easier it is to apply it to others.
- The third point for me is that it also allows you to be more generous in your giving. There’s an expression that says you can’t give from an empty glass. What it means is that when you have a difficult relationship with yourself, you have all your mental space, all your mental energy occupied by that. And as a result, it’s a little bit more difficult for you to interact with others, because you already have most of your energy occupied in this relationship with yourself, in this fight with yourself.
- Another aspect is that the more you love yourself, the less you will be willing to accept everything from your partner. I always tell people who are still struggling to see the value in themselves, to choose someone they admire. Personally I always use Beyoncé as an example. If you were Beyoncé, would you accept this kind of behaviour from your partner?
- Another point: the more you love yourself, the more it will allow you to distance yourself from what others think of you. The opinion of others will not be more or less important than your own personal opinion and it will create a kind of safety valve between what you receive from the outside and what you will decide to integrate inside. Because of course people can give you constructive remarks, but I think it’s worth taking the time to think about it and to say to yourself, do I think the same thing? Do I agree with the other person’s opinion? What do I get out of what the other person says? What do I decide not to consider in relation to what the other person is telling me? This little safety valve naturally calms many of your relationships, because you take what others say to you less personally.
- The last aspect is that cultivating self-love will prevent you from entering into dependent relationships and will instead attract relationships where your partner will also be independent and will not put their happiness in your hands. And why do I say this? Because for me, the origin of a lack of self-love comes from the perception we had of what others thought of us. This perception, which has accumulated over the years and through our experiences, has become our own inner judge and has finally constituted the inner dialogue, which we repeat to ourselves every day. Of course, the most logical solution would be to say to ourselves, since we have perceived this from others, well, we’ll sort it out through others, in relation to others. But if you do that, you hand over your personal power to the external validation of the other. And what will that do? It will rather repel people who don’t want to have this power over us, because they will feel that there is a lack and that this lack to be filled comes “unconsciously” with the relationship package. On the contrary, it will attract people who will be happy to have this position, this power over you.
As Lise Bourbeau says very well, self-love, in the end, helps to nourish a virtuous triangle of life in relation to others. Because the more you love yourself, the better you can love others and the more others love you.
I always say that a happy couple is two people who are independent, who are comfortable with themselves, who have decided to take advantage of the bonus that is the couple. To illustrate this, I often give this example of two pieces of cake that have decided to take advantage of the cherry. When you cultivate a good relationship with yourself, it helps you to put less pressure on the relationship, because in the end, your relationship is a small cherry compared to your big cake of life. The second thing is that you don’t put the responsibility for your happiness and for taking care of all your needs on the relationship, on your partner. You take care of your own cake and your partner takes care of his or her own piece of cake. What this also does is that the more solid your cake is, the more personal solidity you have and the more it promotes the solidity of the couple, despite the trials and tribulations there may be. Because the more solid the cake is, the better the cherry sits on top of the cake. What it also does is that it helps you become aware of your value, of what you want in a relationship. And it allows you to go and find a cake that is complementary to you, so that the cherry can rest on top of both of your cakes. And of course, it doesn’t make you agree to enter into a relationship under any conditions. Because for you, the cherry should remain a bonus and not a poisoned gift that spoils your own cake. I hope that the cake analogy has helped you and that this episode has reconciled you with the positive influence that self-love can have on defining your relationship standards.
In the next article, we’ll talk about how to cultivate more self-love.
A MEDITATION FOR MORE SELF-LOVE
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