My self love lessons arise from learning how to cultivate relationships. The inability to experience love outside myself eventually led to a search from within. It’s going to take me courage to share more details about my story, but for some reason, the twinkling stars from beyond the cosmos seem aligned today and I have decided to proceed with publishing it. So here goes…

Fall In Love With Yourself
(Taken from My Art Journal: Be the Author of A Compelling Self-Love Story)

For a long time, I sought for love everywhere else other than from the inside. I had no awareness about what it meant to love myself back then. Brought up on a diet of fairy tales, I was seriously hoping to ride into the sunset with the One, happily married ever after. Obviously, my dreams never quite materialized in the way I was expecting them to.

After growing out of puppy love, I went from relationship to relationship during my twenties. It wasn’t intentional (or was it?) but my girlfriend would later point out that my exes had all the following criteria: articulate, charming, smart looking, intelligent and doing well career-wise. My defense was that being from the financial industry, there were plenty of opportunities to meet bankers, traders and business owners. Plus, I was mostly out; partying, wakeboarding or “seen” at trendy hotspots.

The relationships would invariably follow the same pattern. Swept off my feet by flowers, poetry and letters, I would fall head over heals. And once into the relationship, I received expensive presents like branded handbags, watches and clothes too. In case you are wondering, I didn’t ask for these but they were given to me like they were very ordinary gift items. Naturally, I started to believe that “This is It” and looked forward to sealing the relationship with an official commitment.

Well, after some months of dating, I would end up being dumped…ouch. The excuses given would often be, “sorry, I am not ready for commitment”, “you are just too good for me” and “we are not meant for each other” (can you believe that?). Dreams shattered, I would sink into misery. My world was crushed! Don’t laugh but I would spend nights playing sentimental love songs repeatedly, which stoked the raw feelings even more.

Spurned, I would spend hours plotting revenge which thankfully I didn’t carry out. I recalled receiving the well-meaning advice of “you should fight for what you want” from a girlfriend. That advice didn’t help much because I realized on hindsight that the last thing a guy wanted is someone appearing needy.

However, it would be the in-between relationship periods that I would find myself. I started learning how to nurture myself with self care actions. It was also when I began my love affair with self-help books. Even as I found singlehood lonely, I realized that the periods of solitary afforded me a chance of renewal. I began to become more adept at picking up the pieces. I spent my entire weekends picking up one watersport after another and in the process, boosted my self esteem.

After one too many breakups, I “saw” the pattern of my failed relationships. I was so afraid of being lonely that I spend most of my time looking externally. I did not know that I needed to first build a healthy relationship with the self. All that outside search was taken to fill the empty spaces inside my heart.

I also realized the importance of revising my list of criteria and finally did just that.

And then, I met the man who is now my husband.

Well, the story didn’t quite end there.

Learning to Love Myself While In a Committed Relationship

As I would later find – being in a committed relationship surfaced a lot more internal issues. When I searched deeper, I realized that they were issues about self love and worth. Now that there is someone who is constantly next to me and with a knack of “pressing my buttons”, my issues became ten times magnified.

What’s ironical was that after being married, I began to wish to be single. I realized that I was mostly fine on my own until and unless my partner started triggering my issues. Years of repressed anger accumulated ever since I was young exploded into the open.

At first, I was stuck in blaming anyone and anything outside myself. However, I soon realized that all that blame did not make me any happier. Gradually, I got tired of hearing my own inner dialogue too. All the self-beating, criticism and judgment kept me drained. It was funny that I expected from another what I could not give myself internally.

This was when I began my journey into self-loving, and this time with a difference. My feeble efforts in making personal changes did not amount to much previously. So I decided to make a serious commitment to the self and with greater consciousness.


Update – Self Love Secrets: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally

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Facing tremendous difficulties with accepting who you are? Learn more about loving yourself holistically – in mind, body and spirit. Read my entire story as well as the stories of others in a beautiful book collection. Click over to purchase a copy of Self-Love Secrets – available as a download by now!


Fast forward till today. I have never felt better since. What’s interesting is that I found out that I married my soul mate with an agreement to help each other in our journeys on Earth. Through cultivating self love, the relationships with my husband and children grew stronger. We love spending time together and enjoy the sanctuary of home.

Self Love Lessons
Based on my personal experiences, here are some self love lessons that I would like to share:

1. Focus on loving yourself. It is often said that you can never truly love others until you have first learned to love yourself. It sounds cliché but wait till you have experienced this truth. You literally become a vessel of pure love flowing through you.

2. Self love is a process not a destination. It is a spiritual path that leads you home. Anyone who professes that they already love themselves may not necessarily have lived into its deeper meanings. Most certainly, self-love is a layering process that allows you to reach into yourself with increasing gentleness, compassion and acceptance.

3. Love yourself no matter what. It is important to love yourself, whether you receive love or not from others. You do not inflict yourself with unnecessary guilt, shame and blame; whatever happens.

4. Self love issues are often hidden. Projection is what happens when loved one beams your inner issues onto the screen for your awareness. The tendency is to point the fingers at him or her in blame for causing you misery. Perhaps the most demanding challenges are experienced when you are already in a committed relationship. It is possible to spend years in acts of self nurture only to have yourself fall into pieces by a look of disapproval from your lover.

Continued blame on your partner allows you to avoid taking personal responsibility. Your egos become locked in cycles of conflict. His or her critical parent archetype puts you on the defensive. Feeling victimized, your ego go into a “poor me” mantra repeatedly. Your conflict can go on and on with both of you defending your points, but without making any meaningful progress.

Fear Obscures Self Love

We desire love.

We long for deep and meaningful relationships.

Yet, fear prevents us from giving fully – first to ourselves and also to others. Unwittingly, the inability to experience love unconditionally and unreservedly becomes the story pattern of the lives for many.

“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we have learned here. The spiritual journey is the relinquishment – or unlearning – of fear and the acceptance of love back into our hearts. Love is…our ultimate reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life.” – Marianne Williamson

In Loving Abundance,

Self Love Secrets: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally

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Facing tremendous difficulties with accepting who you are? Learn more about loving yourself holistically – in mind, body and spirit. Click over to purchase a copy of Self-Love Secrets – available as a download by now!

37 Comments

  1. J.D. Meier

    I like how you cultivate self-love through cultivating relationships and taking self-care actions.

    Taking care of you is your job #1 — and the better you do job #1, the better you can take care of other people. It’s a spiral up.

    Atlas couldn’t hold the world on his shoulders if he didn’t take care of himself.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello J.D.,

    I like what you said about self love being a spiral up and the metaphor of Atlas. It’s certainly very true!

    Thanks for your feedback 🙂
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  2. The Vizier

    Hi Evelyn,

    I remember how I listened to sentimental love songs when I was rejected. It was not an easy time, but from those experiences I learned to manage my emotions better. And like you, I found myself and discovered self-love. When the need for external approval lessened, I became more comfortable with myself, even alone.

    I have come to the same conclusions as you have in your self-love lessons. The only point I wish to add is that without self-love, we place a very heavy burden on our other to provide the love we lack. This is in essence an impossible task that is akin to trying to fill a black hole. By learning to love ourselves, we free our other from this burden and dependency so that the relationship can flourish in a healthy manner.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! 🙂

    Irving the Vizier

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Irving,

    Great point about placing an increased burden on others what we lack in ourselves. Love cannot be fulfilling this way because we need to learn what it means to love ourselves first.

    It’s really in the silent moments that we learn that it is possible to experience comfort. Like I’ve found out: we can be alone but we’re never truly lonely.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. It’s great that you’ve learned self mastery as a result of your difficult times!

    With love,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  3. Jackie Paulson

    I lost myself in all of my relationships because I always put the other person first instead of myself. I learned the hard way. It is so important to love who you are first. Great post on love and relationships.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hi Jackie,

    Well, I’m glad that you’ve realized the areas that you can improve on. Needs and neediness is to be distinguished. Others respect you more when you also set clear personal boundaries.

    With love,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  4. Brenda Skidmore

    Lovely post Evelyn. You’ve hit the nail on the head issue for the vast majority of people. Learning the art of allowing and appreciation is a process of self- commitment. For me it has been an ongoing process, not a destination.

    I think it’s a self awareness lesson in learning to bless your problems, as well as appreciating your successes. Don’t get overly emotional about either really. I find watching and listening to some Esther and Jerry Hicks (Abraham-Hicks) video clips on ‘YouTube’ helps me through my life’s difficult challenges a lot. I simply plug-in to learn some more.

    I learn how I sabotage myself.

    A recent cooling off period with a recent intimate partner, has taken me back to an important realization. I have let myself slip (emotionally) over a current job loss. He was just letting me know how much fun I haven’t been lately. When one person or both are not happy with themselves, the relationship is in trouble regardless of what either one of them do to try and soothe the other!

    When he told me that he was feeling that we had ‘grown apart’, and felt we needed to ‘cool it’ for a while, really meant your constant giving in to my demands of how I think the relationship ought to go is not making me feel any happier about myself. Ouch, that hurt!

    A few weeks after this, I finally seen the writing on the wall. Now I’m hopeful that we will both figure this out. He is a great guy, and smart too. I tell myself he’ll figure it out. If not, then it wasn’t meant to be.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Brenda,

    Good for you! It’s great that you know where to look for help through difficult periods. A lot of people turn to unwise actions, which later becomes addictive or destructive. Also, thanks for the wonderful reminder for everyone the easily available resource that we can turn to.

    Thank you too for sharing about your recent experience. You would know that he is the “one” if he can be sensitive and supportive in your difficult times. At the same time, it’ll be in your best interest to take charge of your own happiness.

    Thumbs up for practising non-attachment during the cooling off period. I know that it can be difficult. The art of allowing and appreciation is certainly a good mantra for us to remember.

    I enjoyed the tips that you have shared. I wish you every love, success and abundance!

    Blessings,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  5. Justin | Mazzastick

    Evelyn,
    Very touching and inspiring post by you. You shared many lessons and experiences as I did.

    I look at my relationships now as a place to give and not so much a place to get something. This has led to me to lower my expectations of others as well as myself.

    As a result my relationships are doing well relatively speaking of course. I am just more realistic in my approach to relationships as opposed to what I thought or was taught to believe about relationships.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Justin,

    Thanks for sharing what has worked for you.

    Well, I intend to believe that I deserve the very best. But the very best from others can only be as good as what I can give myself.

    I also choose to continue to work on myself. An increased understanding of self has, most certainly, allowed me an increased ability to understand things from the perspective of another. This has helped me cultivate more harmonious relationships overall..yay!

    All the best to you,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  6. Ruel

    I have this uneasy feeling reading the title “Self Love Story.” This is due to the idea that you can find such deep within ourselves. Then we are our own saviors. Despite of this, what prompted me to read the entire article is the catch idea of “from broken romantic relationship into self love.” My journey in self love after a broken relationship is very short. It just lasted for less than 2 years. Just recently, I began to understand self love in this way. I know for sure that Someone loves me in spite of myself. His love is demonstrated by laying down his life for me on the CROSS. And because of His unconditional love, I now learned to love myself and those who have wronged me.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Ruel,

    Your comment about feeling uneasy made me laugh…in a good natured way. I admit that it does take courage to write and publish some of the deeper and potentially more sensitive parts about myself. However, I believe that I am not alone in feeling these feelings. In a way, I hope to help articulate what many of my clients find difficulty in expressing.

    I am wondering if self love in the way you’ve explained is still external in a sense. Even then, I’m glad to know that you’ve learned to love yourself and what unconditional love means.

    With love,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  7. Chandana

    Lessons From the Heart : one of most impressive article I have read one the net.Thank you for sharing .

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hi there,

    Thank you for your feedback. I like challenging myself with discussing topics that a lot of us feel privately uncomfortable with. I find that shining light on these areas helps me with greater emotional breakthroughs.

    Take care,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  8. Lei

    Evelyn,

    Thank you for this article. I’m 28 years old and have been in an on and off relationship with the same guy since I was 15. He’s an alcoholic. He’s always been, but I never took the time to face the facts until this past year. I thought I was actually going crazy. But through therapy and tons of self-help books I learned I wasn’t losing my mind after-all. With this revelation alone, I learned to pick myself up, face my fears in the face, and well let’s just say I’m still doing it.
    I have to admit I haven’t been loving myself lately. I’ve been allowing myself to fall for his controlling and narcissistic ways, but after reading the self-love article, I plan to start taking care of me again. If I don’t I’m afraid I could be the one to actually self destruct.
    Evelyn, you nailed it when you said:
    “We desire love.
    We long for deep and meaningful relationships.
    Yet, fear prevents us from giving fully – first to ourselves and also to others.”
    Fear. Fear is what’s pushed me to excel, to challenge myself, to set goals and reach them. It’s also what has made me feel the loneliest. I love life too much to give up though. If something isn’t working, I find ways to improve. I desire love and deep meaningful relationships. I’m working on trusting people. Without this I know I won’t get very far.
    If anyone else reading this is dealing with alcoholism, I highly recommend you reach out for help. I kept his alcoholism a secret from my family and friends for almost 12 years. That’s how long I was in denial. Please seek help for yourself. It won’t be an easy road to walk once you face it, but nothing worth fighting for comes easy.

    Love and light,
    Lei

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Lei,

    I applaud you for your continued courage to do what’s necessary to help yourself. As you pick yourself up again, I sincerely hope that you can forgive yourself for not being able to love yourself recently. “Failure” happens only when you give up trying. Success is knowing that you have already made progress.

    You are still young. Even then, at any age, it’s possible to live life anew. Find ways to keep yourself focused on creating a life that you would love. Judging from the things you say that you have been doing, you’re already on the way!

    Please also find help for yourself, if you find it hard to cope. There is nothing to feel ashamed about in asking.

    Thank you for sharing your story and feedback. I send you love, healing and compassion.

    Abundance always,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  9. Asni

    It’s important that we teach our kids about self-love.

    I grew up without a father’s love and somehow that affected my earlier life, especially in my relationship with men. Somehow, subconsciously, I was looking for my father and was looking for approval from all the men that I met – bosses, colleagues, boyfriends, etc.

    Self-love is most important because you don’t need anybody’s approval if you love yourself. Happiness and fulfillment comes from inside.

    I will write about this in my blog and link it to your story here, soon.

    Thank you for sharing.

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Asni,

    Yes, I agree that it is very important to teach our kids self love. For a start, I tell my kids that I accept them no matter what!

    You have shared something that is true for many of us. Psychotherapists say that we also have an increased tendency to marry people who are like our parents.

    Thank you, Asni, for your feedback. I look forward to reading your self love story!

    With love,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  10. David Stevens

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thanks for sharing your story. Self love through self awareness is probably our No 1 priority. If we can’t look after ourself then we can’t look after others effectively.
    Be good to yourself
    David

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello David,

    You’ve said it all with “Be Good to Yourself”! Love it!

    With love,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  11. Raghuveer

    Hi Evelyn,
    I am 26 and i was rejected.I spent most of the time reading books, hanging with friends and keeping myself busy all the time so that i become restless and go to sleep easily.I know that i am escaping from my inner thoughts and feelings.But, after reading this article i realised that i need to love and take care of “ME” and ‘my thoughts’ first.
    Right now, i feel more enthusiastic now.Thanks for sharing your lovely story.I usually won’t write feeback to internet articles but this article truly deserves lot of them.

    Raghu

    [Reply]

    Evelyn Reply:

    Hello Raghu,

    It’s an honor to have you post comments on my site. It’s my greatest pleasure to read comments from readers. That way, I’d know whether I have managed to build connections or not.

    Boredom and getting distracted prevent us from being present. So we must be willing to sit and observe all our busy thoughts and ask ourselves what we are trying to escape from.

    All the best,
    Evelyn

    [Reply]

  12. Stacy | Grow With Stacy

    Hi Evelyn,
    Thank you for sharing your story! I’m amazed at how many similarities that our lives have gone through. I look forward to writing my own post, yours is such an inspiration! Thank you.

    Stacy

    [Reply]

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    I liked reading this. Cool. Keep it up.

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    I love the way you let things sound very interesting, you’re gifted.

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  17. starsofnorth

    I never had a relationship and I’m 27 now… a short time ago, when I practically jumped into the spirituality field because it has the answers I’m looking for… I realized I was afraid to be in a relationship, that I wouldn’t be able to open up because I never opened up to myself FIRST.
    I, too, had anger/hate issues, the bottled up blame everything else but me type… I have really worked on that, I simply chose NOT to get angry or hate anymore at anything or anyone, forgiven myself also… wow that’s some work on me! And I did most of it by myself too. Kudos for me.
    I highly recommend Vernon Howard’s books & pamphlets. He deserves a lot of credit for helping me out.

    [Reply]

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  24. Nessa

    Self Love – Today, I suddenly realized how important loving and accepting yourself is to having a fulfilling life. Your article said everything that is happening in my current relationship. I am in a relationship that has lasted 4 years long.. I’ve come to the conclusion that he cannot give me the love I need to give myself first. I find myself putting all of the blame for my un-happiness on him. Yesterday, we ended the relationship… I think its time to find myself emotionally and spiritually, before I try to find love with someone else.. Thanks for the article-

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