When you think of love, what does it mean to you? What actually comes up in your mind?
Do you think of someone else’s love, like a romantic partner, a friend, a family member — or something outside of you? What about the love you have for yourself, isn’t that also important? Is it more important?
Does love feel like something you need to get rather than something that you already have available inside of you?
The Truth About Self-Love: Why Is It So Important?
Do You Believe That Love Is Something Outside Of You?
If you believe that love is something outside of you, don’t worry, you are definitely not alone! Our society seems to manufacture the idea that love is something we get from others rather than something we already have inside of us at all times.
We’ve been taught to believe that “one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” That if we have more people in our lives, we will be happier and more loved. We’re taught that being alone leads to loneliness and loneliness is bad.
Society and Hollywood have shown us how important it is to find someone who completes us. We’re taught to acquire more friends, get more contacts, more likes, get married, start a family, have kids and never let that love go, right?
It’s rare when you hear someone encourage you to be alone. Why exactly is it that we don’t encourage that?
Is it that we scared to be alone? That’s very possible. It’s a primal fear to be alone and away from the tribe and the people we identify as family. In primal times, it likely meant certain death.
Even now, our society is so interconnected that we depend on others in order to do our work and other people depend on us to do theirs. There is no reason for society to encourage people to be alone. Until recently, I didn’t think I would ever have wanted to be alone — but life gave me the opportunity to do just that.
Why Are We Scared To Be Alone?
One day, my partner of over 14 years decided to end our relationship. There was nothing I could do to fix it and nothing I could do to change or escape this new life. I simply had to accept that I was going to be alone very soon.
Initially, I did not accept it. Everything I had been told before was that you’re supposed to be with others. You are supposed to find someone to spend your life with. That being alone was exactly the opposite of what you want.
I’ve been told I should have two kids by now, have a house or multiple houses, a career that I’m settled into. I am an adult, all grown up — and life should be predictable.
But I believe life was asking me to wake up and see something new. To be stronger and value myself even more. To see that my life had nothing to do with who I lived it with, but rather how I really wanted to live it.
My view of being safe and secure had suddenly evaporated and I had to do what would make me happy on the inside. It was hard at first; and it took a lot of alone time to figure out what I needed.
So why is it that the alone time helped me so much? Aren’t you supposed to distract yourself, go out with friends, talk to others and do all kinds of things that will take your mind off of a breakup Isn’t that the right medicine?
Well, I believe that distractions do help — in small doses — but I truly feel that what I had been missing all along in my relationship, my life and my journey so far was love.
Why Is Self-Love So Important?
Not that I didn’t love my partner and she didn’t love me back. No, I don’t believe that was the problem. The problem was that I tried to substitute the deeper love for myself with the love in my relationship and this is something that is not sustainable.
I now understand that in order to heal some wounds I needed to be alone and learn how to love myself even deeper than I had before.
Everything starts with the love you already have inside of you.
When you don’t love yourself, it shows. You start to feel stuck. You lose confidence in yourself. You begin to drain others rather than lift them up.
When you can’t love yourself and when you feel afraid to exist on your own, this is when you need your love the most. This is the perfect time to get to know yourself better.
When you are forced to be alone, you have no choice but to ask yourself the hard questions like… what do you really want?
Feelings will come up and tough questions about yourself will emerge. This is growth.
You will start to see the darkest pieces of your soul and be forced to confront them. It’s at this point — as long as you don’t turn a blind eye — that you will decide to sink or swim. You can either decide to embrace yourself or run away.
There is always a choice in these moments. It would be easy to decide to find another human to cover up these fears and insecurities. Many times we do and we think they will rescue us from ourselves.
This might work for a while, but it won’t work forever. The other choice is to see what’s underneath. What exactly are we so scared of? To unconditionally love ourselves no matter what we find?
When you get the opportunity to be alone, in whatever form it comes to you, I hope you take the chance to be with the one who needs love the most. The person who will always be with you forever – you!
The you that the love actually comes from. The you that makes all other love possible. The you that will always be there whether you have a relationship, family, friends or any kind of community.
I hope you choose to love that you, because it all starts from there. And the deeper you go, the more love you will have for everything else. I hope you at least start the journey. I just don’t know if any other love is truly possible without it.
For more self-love inspiration, read these Buddha quotes about self love.