Being single isn’t always easy and sometimes has its less-fun moments. But embracing the positive aspects of being alone is imperative for a happier you. We spoke with Lauren Mackler, author of Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life, for steps on how to love yourself before anyone else.
Do an honest assessment of yourself. Mackler admits:“It’s painful to look at part of ourselves that aren’t working well.” However, it’s important to look at yourself and take stock of your life, from whether you are expressing all parts of yourself, to differentiating the relationships you want to have from the ones you actually have.
Take note of patterns that are holding you back. This is a matter of connecting the dots, looking into people as well as personal behaviours that may be hindering your chance at growth. One example that Mackler provides is that if ever you felt misunderstood growing up, you’re likely replicating that pattern into your adult relationships. Acknowledging these behaviours is a prime step in getting to know yourself.
Do things differently. This requires you to take charge and set boundaries in your life. “Givers attract takers,” Mackler sites as an example, “so do things for others only because you want to, not because of your need to please people.”
Create a relationship with yourself. “The one person you’re stuck with 24/7 is yourself,” says Mackler, so she suggests treating yourself in a new way. This not only includes treating yourself as you would others, but also taking care of yourself, such as not verbally beating yourself up, and eating healthy. A great trick Mackler suggests is talking to yourself, such as telling yourself “I’m sorry” if ever you berate yourself. This will lead to both loving and respecting yourself.
Unearth your authentic self. “When we’re born, we’re born whole,” says Mackler. “We have an intact self-esteem and distinct personality traits, but they erode with time due to social conditioning.” At that point, we feel that we’re missing something, which is why people look toward a significant other to complete them. Instead of therefore looking outside ourselves for completeness, Mackler advises looking within yourself.
Attract a different kind of person. Once you’ve built a good relationship with yourself and found your authentic self, Mackler says you’ll attract a new kind of people. If you were once a passive person, you would’ve originally attracted a controller. Your new self will therefore attract another whole and authentic person, which will create a healthy relationship and a happier you.