Genuine Self Love and Where it Starts

I fall in love easily. I really do. I give everything I have to people even if I don’t feel like they are giving to our relationship half as much. I really struggle with this attribute of mine because, on one hand, I love that I am able to care for people so deeply and so fully. I am able to see people and know people in a way that other people can’t quite do and it makes my relationships feel so genuine. On the other hand, it’s so painful for me to be in a relationship where I don’t feel like I am getting poured into nearly enough as I am pouring out. 

This is why when my relationships in my life end, when I decide to walk away life feels so overwhelmingly hard. I feel as if all of the love that I had to give, and all the effort I put into caring for people wasn’t enough.

This is a common trait in empaths, a personality type that I have recently discovered and whole-heartedly adopted as my own. An empath is a person who is very emotionally intuitive. They are sensitive to their own emotions and the emotions of those around them. This makes them more likely to be extroverted because in large crowds, the amount of emotion can overwhelm them. But on top of this, one of the most intriguing things that I learned about a stereotypical empath is that they always fall in love with potential. 

I was taken aback by this accusation because they just put into words every relationship I have ever had. This told me why I was able to justify staying in a friendship or a relationship even when there were obvious reasons why I should walk away. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t necessarily always a bad thing. It can be an extraordinary thing to see the beauty in people that other people don’t quite see. However, it may also, and will most likely, end in a broken heart. 

Because even though you may see some of their more challenging traits as beautiful, they may never live up to the potential that you gave them in your mind. Of course, it’s not their fault that you fell in love with who they could be instead of who they really were, but how can you stop doing this or at least stop getting hurt when reality outweighs potential?

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The truth is, there is no easy answer. But, I can give you some advice that I received when I was in the midst of one of the most painful heartbreaks I have ever experienced. “If you are able to fall in love with people even though they have things wrong with them and even love them for those things, why can’t you do that with yourself?” I was shocked. Like jaw-hit-the-floor mind-blown shocked. Why was I beating myself up for not choosing the right friends? Why was I the one staying up at night reliving every possible reason I drove that boy away? Why was I giving everyone around me an excuse for their behavior and justifying their actions but I was criticizing and scrutinizing my own?

If you are able to love yourself the way that you can love other people, you won’t get your heart broken when you feel alone, because you will love yourself enough to take care of yourself. You won’t waste your time in a relationship where you don’t feel valued because you know your worth and you know that you deserve better. You deserve to be loved in the way that you constantly give out love. You deserve to look at the things you used to hate about yourself through rose-colored glasses. 

If you are able to take care of yourself the way you take care of others, you won’t feel nearly as hurt on the other side of heartbreak. What are some ways you take care of others? By affirming them and making them feel loved, meeting both their physical and emotional needs and setting boundaries to keep them safe. If you are able to do this for yourself it changes the game! Imagine a world where you don’t crave affirmation because every day you wake up and remind yourself that you have overcome so much and that you are worthy of taking up space as much as any other person. Envision the way you could love others and give to the world if you first just took care of yourself. Picture the way your life would look if you chose to set boundaries and only let people take up your time if they treated you the way you know you deserve. Why? Because you are choosing to love yourself in the way that you deserve to be loved, instead of hoping someone will eventually do it for you. 

Self-love and self-care is not something you do occasionally. It is not just a trip to the spa or making time to go to the gym. It is waking up every day and allowing yourself to tend to your own needs because you deserve to be loved with the same love you put out into the world.