I love ME too!

If you are reading this article, chances are, you already know how accepting and loving yourself can improve your intimate relationships. The next step then, is to actively work on it. Here are some pointers to help you along…  

  1. Happiness is an inside job – your partner can enhance your happiness, but no other person or thing can create happiness for you. Ask yourself “what do I need to be truly happy?” if the answer is something that is dependent on other people or circumstances changing, you are already fighting a losing battle.
    Instead look for small things in the present to be thankful for – your job, friends, family, good health, a song on the radio or less traffic on the road – small things can create happiness and when you meet your partner at the end of the day you will be in a better mood and able to engage and interact without the burdens of the world.

  2. Retain a degree of space and individuality – while it is true that every relationship requires compromise, it is also important to remain true to yourself. Give importance to yourself, your desires and opinions, put aside time for people and things that are important to you and make you feel good.

  3. See the good in yourself – it is easy to get critical about oneself and gloss over the positives. Ask near and dear ones what they appreciate in you and see yourself for the lovable, worthy and capable person you are.

  4. Don’t get disheartened by your flaws – no one is perfect. Recognise and accept your imperfections and shortcomings without allowing them to upset you. Be open and ready to improve without getting discouraged.

  5. Practice forgiveness – for yourself and those around. Just as you are a whole package of good, bad and even ugly, so are those around. Appreciate what’s good, work on what’s not and forgive the failings.

  6. Practice self-love in action – do things to love and nurture yourself. Pamper and reward yourself: work out, get a massage, watch that movie you’ve been wanting to or just buy yourself something nice!

Some of these steps are easier than others, but some habits are harder to break. For example, self-criticism can sometimes become automatic behaviour and breaking out of the habit can take some effort. Support and encouragement from a trained and objective counsellor can help.

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