Let’s get one thing straight. Every time you hear “you can’t love someone until you love yourself” an angel blows a raspberry and gives that person the finger.
No one loves themselves, not completely anyway. Who you are as a person is going to morph and change over the rest of your life, and you’ll find yourself constantly changing your definition of confidence. Loving yourself is something you never finish doing. Waiting to achieve it before finding love will leave you awfully lonely. Granted, you might think I’m full of shit, but if I were going to be completely honest with you, I (a fairly confident and capable young lady) would have to tell you that I’ve never felt like a winner, and I’ve been in some pretty excellent, long-lasting relationships. In fact, I wouldn’t even call myself incredibly attractive (Meh, I’m not bad…), and I’ve been a pretty consistent serial monogamist for the better part of ten years. I’m more often in relationships then I’m out of them, and the reason for this isn’t because I LOVE myself, it’s because I KNOW myself. That’s what a relationship is, it’s knowing the other person, and understanding yourself enough to react to them positively. You’re going to have days where you feel like fifty pounds of shit in a thirty pound bag (both physically and emotionally). What are you going to do when that day/week/month(es) come? You could bail or you can batten down the hatches and work with your partner. That’s right… your PARTNER. Not a lot of people use that word now-a-days. I started using it relatively recently, since my current boyfriend (a term I’ve recently come to dislike) is probably the first one I’ve realistically seen myself either marrying or committing to for the foreseeable future. But your partner is more than just someone you share your time with, and it’s more than someone who you’re sexually intimate with. Your partner is the person who is literally going through most if not all the same things you are, self-love or no self-love. Here’s an example. I was in a long-distance relationship with a man (who is still a very good friend) while my mother was terminally ill. He was under a massive amount of pressure to be the best boyfriend in the world, to visit me when he could, to talk to me on the phone every night, to be as supportive as possible. But we weren’t experiencing the same pain, we weren’t genuinely sharing in each others lives, and all of that came to a head one night when I sobbed so intensely and so openly that he was at a loss for how to react. And I don’t blame him. Losing a parent at 24 is hard, watching it happen to someone you care about deeply can’t be easy either. In the end, the stress and the distance was too much. After my mother passed, I stayed with him for six weeks, and I never had the opportunity to see him again (not yet, anyway!). That doesn’t mean we were completely adults about it. We both exchanged harsh words, we both had issues letting go, and the weeks that followed were filled with the same phone calls and “I love you”s, but eventually that faded away as well. Ultimately the point that solidified itself in my head was that we had our own lives. We loved each other (…and still do. He was and remains the friend I’ve kept for the longest amount of time), but we were completely separate people. At the time, the entire bedrock of my personality had been shattered. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and after nearly five years of dealing with the loss, I’m just now beginning to know who I am again. When I had finally accepted and understood the person I had turned into, I met the man I’m with now, who is undoubtedly the man I will either marry or at the very least, have children with. Now I spend my days working from home, he has a job, but we pay bills together, and make budgets together, we try new things, we have conversations, and share opinions. When he hurts, I hurt. When he’s stressed, I’m stressed. When he’s happy, I’m happy. His life is my life, and vice versa. We share enough of the same interests to be compatible, and we have enough different interests to share between ourselves and with others. So, you see… when you share your life so completely with another person, knowing yourself means knowing them as well. Once you’ve managed that, you’ll find that loving yourself comes pretty easily, because seeing the benefits and the loveliness of you is simple for an objective party. You can’t can’t see yourself from the inside, looking out… it’s so much easier to see the beauty from the outside, looking in. Happy second anniversary, Meatball.