I feel absolutely pitiful for penning these dreaded words, but Justin Bieber nailed it when he said, “you should go and love yourself”. Simple, profound and entirely true- we must love ourselves from within before we can expect others to love us from without. The first step on the road to finding a new friend or a significant other is ignoring the search entirely. We must peel ourselves like an onion, dig to the root of our beings, and embrace everything about ourselves- from the close-to-perfect features to the absolutely dreadful qualities. Pick up the phone, dial your heart and leave the inaugural, “I love you and I’m here to embrace you” message. My belief is that only after you’ve deemed yourself worthy will true friends, new friends and soon-to-be significant others love you on the same level as you love yourself, filling the perfect spot in your life.
I had a very tight-knit “crew” from the age of 8 to my early 20’s. As do so many of us in our after college years, I was battling an inner fight between what was expected of me and what I expected of myself, for the better part of almost a year. On a particularly gloomy Saturday, I was driving back from our local mall with my closest friend in that “rat pack”. I casually slipped into the conversation that “I want to move to Tel Aviv.” I had yet to tell anyone and I was flabbergasted that the words egressed my mouth with such ease. “Suits you”, she said. We never spoke of it again. And, when I had the guts to finally tell my whole group of my friends about my decision to move for good, they seemed sad. But, when I actually moved, it was as if the chord was cut and I was no longer of interest to them. During my first few years abroad, I yearned for these women to love me and to miss me and to support my transcontinental move- my phone calls remained unanswered and my emails ended up in the trash. It became quite evident to me after some time that in both friendships and relationships, you can’t force someone to approve of your decisions or simply, to love you. And, like the famous line, this crew just “wasn’t that into me”. It was nothing short of cathartic when I realized that they were the ones who were missing out on my life, and I didn’t need their approval, nor their love.
A few friends recently did that thing to me, you know the one, where you half complain, seek pity, and well-up with tears when saying, “I wish I had that special someone”. I of course, in each instance, said, “don’t worry, it’ll happen soon enough”… what I really wanted to say was, “you have work on loving yourself before someone else can love you”. I stick by that.
I know this woman who is continuously in relationships. She bounces from man to man in an almost a serial-like way, in her mind, one step closer to tracking-down Mr. Right. It continues to perplex me that someone feels the need to be in a relationship, rather than the desire to be. Was she afraid to be alone with herself? Or was she afraid of what others might think of her if she was single? She is the only person who will ever know….
If we look at these “case studies” from a psychological point of view- no one knows ourselves better than we do; being alone with ourselves is the best way to learn who we are at the core, and thus, to understand what we require and deserve in both a significant other, and in a friendship. And, only when we are happy sitting alone on a Friday night on the couch with take-away, can the “I’m good enough and I am ready” energy be transmitted to the universe. For it is only then that we will attract the right friends or finally meet that special someone; external love begins internally…