There are many factors that can positively influence a love relationship and happiness in it: Similar interests, appreciative communication styles, willingness to compromise, time together, tenderness and sexuality, solidarity, ..
But one of the main factors is self-love. Learning to love oneself is a topic that often gets too little attention in relationship issues.
Wrongly, because self-love is the basis for giving deep love to another person and recognizing this person with his uniqueness. And learning to love oneself is possible!
Why self-love is difficult
To say "I love myself as I am!"It is difficult, because it means to know yourself very well and to accept yourself as you are, with all your faults and dark sides.
This is especially important in our society, where we seem to be able to buy everything (even love)?) and put a lot of emphasis on appearances, not so easy at all.
The media world shows us how we should be: Concerned about a perfect external image and according to an unattainable ideal image.
There is hardly any place for the diversity of uniqueness.
Often self-love is even confused with narcissism (Wikipedia) and is considered to be frowned upon or egotistical. In the article I love myself as I am, I describe that many people find it easier to say or think critical or negative things about themselves than positive ones.
How self-love grows
People or. Children who are allowed to experience that they are loved just as they are learn that they have a right to uniqueness, that they are allowed to have mistakes, that they can try out what suits them best.
Experiencing that they are accepted as they are. Whoever experiences this unconditional appreciation is not only able to accept himself, but also meets other people with this attitude.
… and atrophies
People or. Children who, with their parents or through the pressure of school or the influence of the media, experience that they are constantly confronted with high expectations of how they should be, what they should be able to do etc., Can hardly develop their "true self" (Winnicott).
You develop an identity based on the expectations of others and may still never be able to meet them.
This is no way to know who you really are.
Self-esteem (knowing and experiencing who you are) suffers because there is a constant feeling of insecurity and self-criticism.
Due to rejection from the outside (e.g.B. by parents) one’s own parts are rejected and denied. This leads to an inner conflict.
Dissatisfaction, bitterness and complete rejection of oneself can be the result.
The impact this can have is made clear in the following very powerful video.
Often this is then expressed in the partnership: One is never really satisfied with the partner, also has high expectations of him, is strongly jealous or quarrelsome.
The good news: loving yourself can be learned
It is indescribably valuable to have had parents or other relevant people who gave you unconditional love and esteem (Carl Rogers).
But it is just as great luck to find a partner who gives you what you may never have had before. never received before: Unconditional appreciation and love.
Now it is about recognizing and accepting that! But it’s not that simple. Especially if you’ve experienced mostly distrust, criticism, pressure, and rejection.
This makes it all the more important to venture out in search of yourself. What is really mine? What do I want? What makes me free? What makes me happy?
Learning to love yourself
In the article Give your partner the chance to love YOU it is described that one of the most difficult things in a relationship can be to give your partner the chance to love you as you really are.
This path is difficult and can be scary. But it is worth it!
In our guest article on ZeitzuLeben we wrote about the fear of change. This fear runs deep in all of us, but there are ways out of it!
The first step
A first step towards learning to love yourself is self-acceptance.
This means accepting that I cannot meet all expectations and that I have flaws.
Accepting that no love relationship is perfect, and there are painful phases and crises in every happy relationship.
This is about perception and acceptance of yourself – with all facets.