Do You Really Need to Love Yourself First?

That’s the burning question many people had from my last article for the Huffington Post on self-esteem. Thanks to all who shared their stories, feedback, comments and insights. It inspired me to write this article. I know you’ve been told you need to love yourself first before you can love someone else. I disagree. Can love exist without self-love? Yes. Let me explain by asking you to ask yourself the following things:  
  1. Do you prioritize others over yourself?
  2. Do you tell yourself the truth?
  3. Do you accept the past or do you ruminate about it?
  4. Do you blame others (parents, ex-partner/spouse) for your past failures?
  5. Do you follow your gut the majority of the time?
  6. Do you carve out “me” time consistently?

Do you do any of these things and still want and find love? Of course you do. We all do. Does it stop us from loving others?

Still think you need to love yourself first? Ok, let’s look at the latest dating trend Benching. In this article, Jason Chen is writing about his experience with rejection and how common it is for people to start dating then blow them off and re-surface months later and resume dating again. So, he became a bench-warmer waiting to get picked; while the other person is dating other people. He’s wondering why he got blown off, but the person comes back and you give them a chance, right? What does this say about what people feel about themselves? Why do they allow it? Should you give people the benefit of the doubt? Sure. But, what’s the cut off? Should your ego, sense of self, or self-respect take a hit? And even when it does take a hit, don’t we still seek love? Isn’t that the opposite of loving yourself first?

What does it say about self-love? If you ask people do you love yourself, they’ll likely tell you yes.

Here’s my burning question: If you love yourself first, then what explains the faulty decision-making in relationships?

It’s not about self-love, it’s about self-awareness. I think that self-awareness PKNFYSTO4Eis one of the keys to our relationship decision-making process. When you’re self-aware and ask yourself the same above questions, you’ll find what you accept for yourself and what helps you decide on who, when, and how to love. The interesting part of self-awareness is that it becomes most challenged while you are in a relationship. 🙂 Have you ever realized that thing that s/he did that annoyed you triggered another aspect of you?

The heated you: It’s not about the toilet seat! It’s about you having no consideration for me whatsoever! 

Your inner voice: OMG! Who can’t put down a damn toilet seat?! I’m gonna be miserable the rest of my life putting up with this shit!

The over-reaction to a small thing triggered larger issues: lack of consideration and poor communication. The irony is that people become aware of the lack of self-love in relationship to others. 🙂 Self-love is cultivated over time. With each relationship we hope to get a better understanding of our needs and what we will seek out in the future. Our sense of self is challenged in each break-up because we’re trying to understand why it happened, why we allowed it to happen, or what was wrong with that person that they didn’t see the greatness in us. 🙂 Either way, we walk away wondering is this person kidding me with their bullshit behavior or was I kidding myself?

 

Ahhhh the tangled web we weave

I have to say that I wasn’t surprised that a site like Ashley Madison existed, but that the Impact Team hacked it for the greater good, did. “Will The Impact Team be hacking any other sites in the future? If so, what targets or sort of targets do you have in mind?
Not just sites. Any companies that make 100s of millions profiting off pain of others, secrets, and lies. Maybe corrupt politicians. If we do, it will be a long time, but it will be total.” Impact Team to Motherboard.vice.com 

hmmm So, what did this grand social experiment demonstrate? Nothing new. That some people who want to cheat will? Let’s look at other not-so-surprising details. People are shocked that the site contained fake female profiles? Of the 37M users, only 5.5M were women. If you go onto POF, some men start their profile with DON’T CONTACT ME IF YOU’RE FAKE.

Ok, let’s look at what other things shock people. That people paid for privacy and their data was revealed? Wait. What?!?! You mean to tell me that someone created a business model capitalizing on your indiscretion and desires for a profit on the INTERNET?!?! You mean they took your money and never did what they said they would do? Paid delete=the Nigerian Embassy wants to give you 3.3M USD.

Of course, when you are looking to be discreet, you naturally log on during work hours, right? Sure, but from your work email or computer? AND you work in the government? OR better yet, you build your platform around family values?

Oh, the CEO stepped down? No way. Could it be all of the encounters he had off the site, the massive law suits, or the threats he’s getting by the minute?  “Life is short, Noel Biderman. Have an affair.”

Oh ok, since you didn’t think any of that might happen, let me tell you what might happen next: divorce, losing your home, losing half your shit, and maybe joint custody. Gee, isn’t that what you were trying to avoid? 

Divorce lawyers and the housing market thanks you.

YOU’RE JUST A DUMBASS

Top 3 things to help get over an ex.

Dealing with a break-up, separation or divorce is often difficult. Here are a few things that can help you cope with the break-up, separation or divorce.

1. Try to refrain from highlighting negative things about your ex. Simply because it disrespects you. Afterall, you were in the relationship with the person. When you re-tell events or character flaws, the person listening will wonder why you were in the relationship to begin with. Utilize your discussions to be about rebuilding yourself and not diminishing the other person because that doesn’t improve your sense of self. It may feel good in the short-term, but not long-term.

breakup 2. Cultivate a network of support that has diverse perspectives. That way you will have different outlets to express the range of your emotions.  Especially when dealing with divorce where you can experience anger, resentment, and loss all in the same breath.

3. Forgive yourself. The only thing you did was try to show someone love and cultivate a life for you both. Allow yourself to feel the pain and unburden yourself of what was your former life. All you did was demonstrate that you have the capacity to love and build a life for yourself. You can do it again.

Thanks to a great relationship wellness panel discussion by The Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, P.C.

What people don’t tell you about dating the wrong types.

When you’re dating down, you aren’t always aware that you are doing it. I came up with an inventory to help you identify some of the red flags on Stop dating down! If you are doing 4 or more of these things, chances are you are settling in your relationship. Once you realize this is a feature of your relationships, then you can see if this yields a pattern in your life.

So, let’s begin by talking about the types of thinking that occurs, then we’ll talk about what occurs as a result.

Type 1: I know that s/he isn’t xyz, but they possess abc.cheating

Type 2: I know that s/he isn’t what I normally date, but I was unsuccessful with my past types.

Both types create a false sense of intimacy, hope, trust, and disillusionment in the relationship. If you are lying to yourself in the relationship, it’s easy to disillusion yourself about the realities of the relationship. In addition to decreasing your standards, you are changing your tolerance level of other people’s lies they tell themselves and you accepting it as your reality (their bullshit).

Which invariably creates Type 3: I’m getting a shot at someone I normally wouldn’t have a shot with and this is great!  

This is creating a false sense of hope in someone else and they will apply that to their next relationship. Type 3 will pursue people that they probably wouldn’t ever approach because they have this new inflated self-esteem. While the person who has admitted to dating down, has a diminished self-esteem.

 

The gift that keeps on giving

For many, the holidays are times to celebrate family, life, love, and personal goals. However, couplefightingwhen you’re single it can be a time of anxiety. It’s a reminder that you are single; either because you are around family or because your family reminds you of the fact. So, what do most people do? Try to fill that void by entertaining the idea of getting back with an ex.

Here are some things that you can remind yourself to prevent you from returning to a failed relationship:

What you do: Although it may be difficult, try not to reminisce about the relationship. When you do that you are only extracting the moments of the relationship you want to remember that were about companionship. You are recalling only the things that created an illusion of belongingness.

What you can do instead: Weigh out the reasons that you are no longer together, when you start to think that they should be back in your life.

What you do: Although the holidays might be emotional for you, remember that most of the world knows pain. Remind yourself of those that have endured different pain e.g. those that go without water or access to food.

What you can do instead: Perhaps volunteer at a local non-profit organization or attend a charity event.

What you do: Try to avoid stalking your ex on social networks. This only stagnates your growth because it occupies your brain with thoughts about your exes’ activities and whereabouts. Instead of mentally preparing yourself for a better relationship and a more realized version of yourself.

What you can do instead: Remind yourself that they are an ex for a reason.

Let’s reframe hurt

Inspired by Mastin Kipp’s The Daily Love.

Love is one of the areas that can cause the most hurt. Whether we are looking for it, dating it, or committed to it; hurt will occur. The way you cope with it can determine how you receive love. We all loveknow of relationships that overcome the most catastrophic life events and those that can’t overcome the most mundane events.

If you were the dumpee/divorcee. Forgive yourself for believing in something that couldn’t be. Ultimately, you believed enough in love that you wanted to see it in all things. Even people that may not be designed for you.

If you were the dumper/divorcer. Be true to yourself and happiness flows effortlessly. Perhaps you loved so much that you thought you could be someone you weren’t.

Begin with you. In both cases, extract what you learned about yourself and what you need going into the next opportunity to meet someone.

Ask yourself these questions:

Are you capable of unconditional love? Have you forgiven yourself for your past relationships? Sometimes you have to let go of the pain associated with the past to be receptive to unconditional love. You might be saying “what are you talking about, you’re just a dumbass, I have & it’s not my fault. I tried.” Yes you did. But, the definitions that you currently possesses might not be completely true to who you are and what you are becoming. The have  been shaped by your past experiences. Since everything in our lives has an origin, locating the source of pain and forgiving yourself for that experience will open you up to an abundance of opportunities for love, success and happiness. Sometimes we have the tendency to focus on what we didn’t get in the relationship and unknowingly keep finding that in the next relationship (or subsequent relationships). Instead, we should balance both the good and bad and focus more on the parts that helped you learn more about yourself. Your character, your nature, or your sense of what you want to become in the future.

Self-deception at its best

Best WTH lines I have heard so far:

1. “Dating while you’re married isn’t cheating”. Explaining some of the difficulties of a marriage after years of divorce. Grounds for divorce: not performing marital duties! WHAT? “Oh really? No sex for you? Uh, perhaps the key reason for that is that they were dating while you both were married”.

weddgring

2. “Found out he is married, living with her and is expecting a kid with her, but we are going to go ahead with planning our wedding”. After hiring a private investigator, crashing his car & wrecking his apartment (after breaking & entering).

3. “I know that we are different religions and that everyone has turned their backs on us, but it’ll work out”. One year and several re-locations later, “We got divorced”. What? “Yeah, turns out her family had a hit out on me!”.

4. “She’s a little too much to handle sometimes, but I’m getting used to it”. After throwing F bombs & Christmas gifts across the room at her in-laws. The trigger phrase: “You didn’t have to get us anything, your presence is gift enough!”.

5. “I don’t bring my partner to any of my social engagements because I don’t want anyone knowing my business”. As they tweet, instagram and fb throughout the entire night enough information that if the cops needed information about their whereabouts, it would suffice.