Now That I’m In A Relationship Again, I Don’t Know How Not To Be Single
There have been dozens of articles, personal accounts and scientific backing advocating the importance of self-care that translates into self-love. Self-care is simply about being able to identify your needs and taking the proper steps to meet them on your own terms and at your own pace, not someone else’s. As women, we tend to find ourselves wearing several hats and sometimes it’s hard for us to find the off button. But setting aside time daily, weekly or monthly to take care of ourselves, to have “me time,” is extremely important. When we learn how to properly take care of ourselves, not only do we begin to love ourselves differently, but we can also love others better. Or, at least, we should be able to…
For the past two years, I’ve been on this self-love campaign following a couple of bad breakups. I’ve stood on my soapbox and rambled about the importance of protecting your space, self-love Sundays, and it’s been wonderful. It’s been a colorful bubble of bath bombs after long days of work, journaling, meditating, and surrounding myself with those who genuinely care about me. It’s been life inside a carefree bubble. It’s been an interesting two years of growth and self-discovery and a lot of emotional solitude as a part of my heart healing process. But now that I’m in a relationship again, I don’t know how NOT to be single. I love my space a little too much. When I pick up on bad vibes or my boyfriend is mad, I throw my wall up in the name of protecting my space. Self-love Sundays have become self-love Monday-Sunday, and I realize that in the midst of all of this, I just don’t know how to let someone else love me because I’ve learned to be all I need. I will be the first to say that self-love is not selfish, but is there a fine line?
I’ve learned that yes, I can love myself wholeheartedly while at the same time not downplaying someone else’s love for me or their feelings when disagreements happen. I’ve learned that self-love does not disregard others. It’s not some means or an excuse to be completely insensitive to the needs of others. While it is important to honor yourself and put your needs first, when in a relationship with someone and just interacting with people period, it becomes selfish when you begin to forget that others have needs too, and you create a habit of putting off and neglecting them. I had to learn how to share my life with someone again. I’ve filled my cup, and I realized it wasn’t fair for someone to keep pouring into me when I do not do the same for them.
I’ve also learned that self-love shouldn’t be a defense mechanism. It’s about being open, honest and accepting. It is not an escape plan to run from your problems in relation to others. Is it not your weapon of choice. It is not your, “If you don’t love me right, I’ll gladly love myself.” Yes, self-love is all about knowing your worth, but running from situations without fixing them or learning their root causes will simply leave you on the run and tired. The first disagreement that I had with my significant other came a month into us dating. We were still learning each other’s quirks and buttons that should and shouldn’t be pressed, and when the first sign of trouble presented itself, my first instinct was to run for the hills in the name of self-love. I thought about all I had built on my own in those two years of singleness and decided I didn’t have to sit there and deal with anybody else’s opinions and issues, as it was all too much work. But being resistant to being open to cultivating a relationship with someone else created somber feelings and a level of stress that ended up threatening my self-care.
My self-love became a wall. It became my protection plan and my cave to retreat to when things weren’t going my way. I realized that it became a selfish barrier. In the end, I now realize that it’s healthy and beneficial to know yourself and love yourself. But life shouldn’t be so much about you that you don’t know how to know and love someone else who wants to love you too.