I once loved a man who didn’t love himself.
He loved me though… yes, he did. And in the beginning we were both so crazy in love that we did almost everything together … (in hindsight, it wasn’t at all healthy – but we love and learn right?)
That love was the sweetest, deepest thing I had ever tasted at the time… until it all started to fall apart.
Recently I’ve been going through my old journals exploring (with the gift of hindsight) where things started to go wrong. I remember him making these insecure little comments like, “Why are you with me?”, “You’re too good for me” and “I don’t deserve you…” and while he spoke these words with love and playfulness, the underlying insecurities were all too clear.
The thing about these kinds of comments is that they pre-supposed unworthiness. Maybe if he’d said things like “We’re so lucky to have found each other” he could have translated those feelings of unworthiness into gratitude. But the way he expressed it made me start asking questions…
Over time, these seemingly playful footnotes started to trigger my own brain into looking for reasons to validate his comments, because that’s just how our minds work. When we’re given a question, even when it’s said in jest, our subconscious goes searching for material to support it.
And so gradually over time, I found myself focusing on the reasons why we shouldn’t be together, more than appreciating the aspects of the relationship that deserved to be enjoyed.
That’s when I started to realise just how contagious insecurities can be…
We all have our own insecurities and that’s perfectly human and okay. However, if we really want to thrive in our relationships, we need to bring our own inner-game of certainty to the table. And by ‘certainty’ I mean knowing that we are worthy of love – as individuals.
And it’s really the only thing we actually need to be certain of; that we are worthy of love as individuals.
With that in place, any mirages of insecurities that flicker on the horizon bear no threat. Because in cultivating this core foundation of worth and self-knowledge, we create a much stronger relationship and a much safer space for our vulnerabilities to be heard, seen and held.
Looking back on that relationship, I can see how these insecurities ultimately came from a lack of self-love. He couldn’t love himself; therefore he couldn’t receive my love without doubting it.
Trying to love someone who doesn’t love themselves is like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it: it doesn’t matter how much love you pour into that person, slowly but surely the water level drops until the bucket is nearly empty – and somehow it’s your responsibility to keep the water level high.
Which is why (as cheesy as it sounds) the greatest gift that we can give to ourselves and others is self-love.
This is why those of us wanting to find an amazing relationship have to start by consciously investing in our relationship with ourselves, through quality time of self-reflection and self-care. After all, we need to know how to keep ourselves afloat if we are to avoid bringing our own potential partners down. Our sense of worthiness is often entwined in our ability to trust ourselves and we cultivate that by saying what we do and doing what we say, getting clear on our own standards of being and holding true to them without compromise.
Showing up on the dating scene with certainty means approaching potential lovers knowing that you are worthy of love. Knowing that you have something amazing to offer and if they don’t want it, it’s their loss.
This isn’t about being arrogant or narcissistic. Rather, its about not taking things personally because we know who we are, what we are worth and what standards we need to uphold in order to thrive in our relationships.
Showing up in our relationships with certainty means knowing that whatever happens – whether we are in a relationship forevermore OR it ends in heartbreak, that we are worthy of love regardless. And, if the present relationship doesn’t work out, we know that we are resilient enough to bounce back and find true love again. In fact, it’s inevitable.
This isn’t about taking your relationship for granted; rather it’s about loving fearlessly with a whole heart because love is your birthright.
Now I’m not going to lie to you, developing self-worth and releasing insecurities can be harder than it sounds, but it is SO worth the journey as you learn to let love flow its natural course towards you.
P.S. Earlier this week, I did a Facebook livestream exploring these thoughts. If you want to get notified next time I’m live-streaming follow me here.
It’s now almost two years following my head-shave initiation and many of you have been asking about my thoughts in hindsight.
A little recap: Why did I shave it all off?
Because I wanted to acknowledge my journey from girl to woman and challenge my own self-perceptions of femininity. I realised that a large part of my femininity was attached to having long hair – so what would happen if I cut it all off? Would I feel any less of a woman? Hopefully not, though I certainly had my insecure days of feeling less-than.