Most of us are familiar with the magical feeling of falling in love. But when you get swept off your feet, it’s easy to brush your own needs and wants aside, forgeting bout self care, giving your partner VIP treatment instead. What about “I Love Me”?
Meanwhile, your own needs take the back seat. And if you start saying, “I love you” more than (or instead of) “I love me”, the relationship can cause pain instead of pleasure. And nobody wants that! So, why not rebalance your love life with something simple called, self care?
Am I Selfish If I Love Me?
That might be your first thought when it comes to self care, especially when it relates to your love life. But it’s important to know, deep down inside, that “self care” is not synonymous with “selfish”. Most of the time, we give up self care because we don’t want to be selfish. Think about it, nobody wants to be that person who never figures anybody else into the equation. But there’s a big difference between that person and being your own cheerleader and best advocate.
You might be asking: Shouldn’t I be loving someone else? Or, sacrificing for someone else? The answer is yes, absolutely. Life is a two-way street, and self care doesn’t exclude cooperation and compromise. The problem is that too many people think love has to look like:
- Always putting yourself last
- Saying “yes” when you mean “no”, even when it comes to sex
- Doings things that aren’t good for you
- Giving up your passions
- Holding back your thoughts
And how many times have you done these things for the good of your relationship? And while you might have avoided an argument, is your relationship all giving, and no taking?
When You Stop Saying “I Love Me”
Just because you give of yourself, doesn’t mean your partner will fulfill your own needs in return. Maybe they’ll fulfill some of your needs some of the time, but more likely than not, you’ll start to resent them.
And you’ll resent them because after you’ve poured all of your love and energy into that one person, you won’t have any left for yourself. When you stop saying, I love me, you’ll begin to feel self-hatred instead.
Another problem with replacing, I love me with “I love you” is that you begin to seek love from the outside, instead of from within. And when this starts, you’ll do almost anything to get and keep love, right?
When I wasn’t practicing self-care, I definitely settled for less when it came to love. I changed who I was to avoid rejection, and I gave up my preferences to keep the love coming. And you want to know something? The relationship inevitably ended because it really does take two to tango. In order to have a healthy relationship with another person, you have to have a healthy relationship with yourself first.
How Can Self Care Improve My Relationship?
So, what is self-care, if it isn’t selfishness? Self-care is all about taking care of yourself and making sure your needs are met. You can’t expect your significant other to do that for you. It means paying attention to, and acknowledging your needs, because yes, they’re important; just like your partner’s needs are important.
You can think of self-care as practice before a rehearsal. For example, before you rehearse a play with the rest of the cast, you take the time to prepare, by memorizing your lines and stepping into your character. If you didn’t do this important work, you wouldn’t be able to interact with the other actors, and you certainly can’t expect them to memorize your lines and do the groundwork for you, right?
It’s the same thing with self-care; it’s the important step you take for yourself, so that you can show up and bring more than just your need for love. You can actually give love.
Different ways to say “I Love Me” with Self Care
You have spiritual, emotional, intellectual, intimate and physical needs. And it’s easy to ignore them, isn’t it? But if you want to feel good, in and out of the relationship, do you and your partner a big favor and invest in yourself, too.
You can start by making a list of the five categories I mentioned above. Then, think of different activities you can do to support each of these needs.
Here are some easy suggestions to get you started:
First off, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel or buy expensive things when it comes to self-care. Self-care can be as simple as making a warm cup of tea, and giving yourself the time and mindfulness to enjoy it. Self-care can look like any of following suggestions, too.
Journaling can be a great way to observe your thoughts, emotions and ideas. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be reflective, mindful and honest.
Sleeping might seem too easy or vague for self-care, but it means so much more than just “going to bed.” It means getting enough sleep, and preparing for sleep with a consistent routine, etc.
Nourish yourself with meals and foods that support your health. On several occasions, when I was dating, I dismissed my food allergies because I didn’t want to make a fuss. I wish I had looked after my physical needs more, because I always felt unwell after what could have been a fun dinner.
Love your body by moving it. This can mean dancing, Zumba, yoga, walking, biking, or any number of things. Give these activities a priority in your self-care practice.
Remember to pursue your passions. Just because you’re holding someone’s hand, doesn’t mean you can’t chase your dreams, too. If you love music, see a live show; if you like to cook, make delicious meals; if you want to learn something new, take up a class.
These are all ways that you can continue to say, I love me even if you say, “I love you”, because when you care for yourself, you’ll be able to bring so much more to your relationship.
If you liked this article, share it with your friends and see what they have to say! Feel free to sound off in the comments below about anything you didn’t like or that resonated particularly with you. Share your tips or stories on self care and remember I Love Me is very important!