Our society makes us believe, even though there have been changes, that we need somebody else to make us complete. Remember the line in Jerry McGuire – “You complete me.” As young girls, we all believe that one day we will meet that special person who will take away all sorrow, and make us whole and happy so that we won’t have to do it on our own. While it’s true that our need to belong is one of our basic needs, as discussed by Maslow (check out his hierarchy of needs) we CAN and should love ourselves first – we are all part of this divine consciousness, and the belief in separation can create pain and feeling all alone.
In my clinical practice, I tell my clients – love yourself first. Without having love, compassion and respect for yourself, how can you expect others to love you? Erich Fromm writes in his little book The Art of Loving (which is still a classic) that “most people see the problem of love primarily as that of being loved, rather than that of one’s capacity to love.” (p. I). He also quotes Meister Eckhart: “If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself.” (p. 53).
Loving yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself. Here are 10 ways to love yourself even when you’re alone – starting today.
- Take time for daily reflection, meditation and celebrating of you and all your accomplishments. Find out what you like, what you dislike and what are your deal-breakers in the relationship. This way, you will not be so quick to jump into another co-dependent relationship and you will know yourself enough to ask for what you need.
- Learn a new hobby, maybe something that you have been postponing for a long time as you had to consult and compromise when in a relationship.
- Take a trip, alone, with your friends, or with a group of new people. There are travel agencies that specialize in trips just for women. How great that you can be “selfish” and not having to compromise with your significant other. Experiences also make you a much more interesting and well-rounded person.
- Do volunteer work. Think about what skills and talents you have that you could help others less fortunate and who knows what can this lead into.
- Take more challenges and risk in your career without having to worry about what your partner or husband/wife would say. Remember that you are the creator of your life and you can create a life of your dreams.
- Go back to school and earn a degree that you put on a back burner for a while as you were worried about not having enough time or support to follow your dreams.
- Adopt a pet. Pets are great companions and during the inevitable times of loneliness, they will be your best friends! They will force you to go out and exercise which will also help raise your serotonin levels – your happy hormones!
- Read the books you never have time to read. What better way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon reading your favorite book?
- Spend hours just browsing the stores, not buying anything. Use it simply as inspiration and enjoying your own company.
- Make new friends and keep an open mind. Give yourself time after a painful break-up to heal and at the same time, be open and friendly. You never know when you will meet the person you