How do you know if you’re ready to be in a relationship again?” It’s a question my clients who are newly single have asked me time and again. What I have found through studies and from personal experience is simple: It’s when you’ve mastered the art of being alone, and love your own company.
When I became single again, weekends would always be the worst time of the week. On Friday night I would begin to dread Saturday’s arrival. Often on a Friday evening, I would be home alone because the children would be off on their own dates or out with friends. In the early days of singlehood, I would find myself throwing mini pity parties.
After much prayer and reflection, I decided it was enough. I made the conscious decision to love myself more.
Self-love is when we commit to giving ourselves the same kind of respect, compassion and kindness that we usually extend to others. Because aren’t we good at loving everyone else, and putting ourselves last? Self-love means loving ourselves unconditionally now, in this very moment. Not when we achieve the ideal weight, fulfill the dream, are in a relationship, or hit the goal.
Until we realize that we are enough and that we can be happy on our own, and know what we want in a beloved, we will always end up in the wrong relationships. We will always be looking for someone else to give us all of the things we have not been able to give to ourselves. In the the days leading to Valentine’s Day, why not put your energies into your relationship with yourself?
Begin by giving yourself all of the things that you wish to receive on V-day or any day. If you want flowers, go buy yourself the most beautiful bouquet you can afford. That dress you’ve always wanted to buy? Buy it for yourself.
Learn to speak to yourself In a kinder voice. Tell your inner critic to go into hibernation. You will be amazed at how the people in your lives will start to react to you once you’ve finally recognized your true worth.
So how does one go about practicing self-love?
First, let’s begin with the easiest one. Engage in mindful wellness rituals as part of your beauty routine. Whether it’s a weekly massage, a trip to the spa, a facial, cutting and coloring your hair—these will instantly uplift you and kick-start your self-love journey.
Prioritize your own needs
Sign up for something with only yourself in mind: an inspiring art, music, exercise, cooking or craft class. Two years ago, paintings in soft pastels called out to me, so I began to sporadically take lessons. I am grateful to have found very good mentors, and a circle of friends who encourage and nurture my art. Painting has healed me in ways no other therapeutic means could. It is different for each person, so find what speaks to your heart and do it.
Find your tribe. Surround yourself with people and friends whose spirits lift you up. Get together with supportive friends on a regular basis and talk about topics that expand your minds and heal your hearts.
Invest in your health. Go get a full blood chemistry profile. Book an appointment with a wellness or nutrition coach. See your doctor for the things that bother you. I went to see a wonderful endocrinologist who helped me get my hormones back in order. In the process, I lost the 25 pounds that I could not get rid off for years!
Make a commitment to eat well. When you become selective about what food you nourish your body with, you have begun to truly love yourself. Your body is the only one you’re going to have from start to finish, so be careful what you feed it. Food choices affect you so select the ones that create the highest form of energy, comfort and delight in your body.
Love letter to yourself
Surround yourself with beauty. Your external environment has a great influence over your internal condition. Decluttering is liberating! It opens up spaces in your home and in your mind and heart. Throw out or donate all the things that weigh you down. The minimalist way of life has so many wonderful benefits. Fresh flowers and soft music can all be very helpful in bringing joy into your home.
Write yourself a love letter. Take some time to write down all of the things that you admire about yourself. It won’t be easy at the start, but just keep at it. Include your dreams, your goals, your accomplishments, your intelligence, your kindness, your strengths.
Take yourself out on a date or vacation. Get dressed up, plan it and take yourself on an outing for one. You get to choose the venue, the city, the country and all the details, so please choose one that’s good for your soul and will bring you the most joy. I used to look at a sunset and think how beautiful it would be to share that sunset with someone. Now, I have learned to bask in the beauty of a glorious sunrise or a fabulous sunset all by my lonesome. Alone, but never lonely.
Hmmm. Might I be ready for a new relationship again? I leave it in God’s hands. Another story for another Valentine’s Day. For now, I am truly happy and content loving me.