There was a time in my life when love was so elusive, when committed relationships felt so unobtainable, and marriage so out of reach, it had me convinced I wasn’t good enough, and that everyone was too good for me.
I was in my late 40s, still single, and on a horrible losing streak. Nonstarters and strikeouts characterized my dating life, and disappointment ruled the day. The worst thing about that time is the damage it did to my self-concept. Repeated rejections got into my head and messed with my mind. They made me question my attractiveness, doubt my desirability, and lose my ability to be my authentic self.
At 51, I finally tied the knot, and now at 57, I look back on those years and know exactly what went wrong. My need for approval was so misplaced, and my desire to get married was so ridiculous, it clouded everything, especially my priorities.
I put guys first. Big mistake.
When you worry too much about someone liking you, you forget to like yourself. You forget how to be yourself. You lose yourself. You forget where your power is, and why you were giving it away in the first place. When you put someone on a pedestal, you lower yourself; when you make someone more important, you diminish your own importance; when you come from a place of inadequacy, everyone seems better than you.
Insecurity + intimidation = inhibition. It’s unsustainable for dating and relationships.
There’s danger in believing negative narratives about yourself, especially because it can become self-fulfilling. Here’s what it looks like: your fear of not being attractive/charming/smart/whatever enough undermines your confidence, which in turn sabotages your relationships, which makes your worst fears come true.
I told you, it messes with your mind.
Hear this and believe it: YOU’RE ENOUGH AS YOU ARE. No one is ever too good for you, and no one is out of your league. Furthermore, don’t think for one second that guy or girl you like doesn’t have flaws and problems and issues that make them not so hot. No one is perfect, so stop handing them your power and making them boss. There should always be balance and equal footing, and if there isn’t, you’re in the wrong relationship with yourself.
Because it’s so easy to get down on yourself when you’re single–especially if you’ve been single a long time—it’s crucial that you take stock of your greatness. And by greatness, I mean every little wonderful thing about you, every little thing you’re proud of, every little thing that makes you fucking great. Remember, there’s no one like you. And when you know what you’ve got, no one, not even your own mind, can mess with you.
The question shouldn’t be: “Do they like me?” It should be “Do I like them?” The question should be “Are they worthy and deserving of me?” Not the other way around. It’s a privilege to date you, know you, be with you, but you need to be convinced of that first.
This brings me to the subject of self-acceptance vs. self-improvement.
As a life coach and former fitness professional, I’m in the business of self-improvement. I believe in it, preach it, and practice it. I’m a big fan of doing the work. There’s always room for improvement, always room to get stronger, fitter, more confident, productive and empowered, but there’s also room to be more accepting of yourself. Being able to love yourself, even if you don’t lose a pound, make more money, find a boyfriend, or get married. The truth is, there is nothing sexier than self-acceptance, because when you have it, the people you date feel it.
If you want to improve, do it for your own sense of accomplishment, not because you think it’ll make you more lovable. Remember, the only approval and validation you need comes from you first. And it shouldn’t be hard, because you’re already pretty fucking great as is.
But if you forget, I’m here to tell you: it’s time to put yourself on your own damn pedestal.