How self-love will improve the quality of your relationship

How self-love will improve the quality of your relationship

Relationship coach, Gaopalelwe Seleka, looks at the importance of loving yourself and how it will benefit your relationship with others. 

self love
self love/ iStock

There is a popular saying : "Love others as you love yourself". This saying shows that it begins with self-love. 

Relationship coach Gaopalelwe Seleka, aka Lady Gao, says: "Self-love is very important as it determines the relationship you have with others. You can never give what you do not have. You therefore need to be deliberate in ensuring that your cup is full so that you are able to give to others.

"One of the key benefits for self-love for people in relationships is that it strengthens the love and each other. Each partner gives from a cup that is full, which means it will then overflow to their relationship. They are able to love without reservations, they are able to support their partner in achieving their goals without reservations, because they themselves are doing well for themselves."

She adds that loving yourself will even contribute to how you allow people to treat you. 

"How you treat yourself determines how others treat you. I believe that you teach people how to treat you. If you are kind to yourself others will be kind to you, no one will abuse and mistreat you if you know who you are and what you want in life and relationship," says Lady Gao. 

She warns that "no one can ever love you more than you love yourself".

Another thing to be mindful of is the need to cultivate self-love and not allow anyone to negatively affect how you view yourself. 

Childhood trauma and past abuse can negatively affect how you view yourself. 

"It is true that most people that have suffered abuse struggle with self-identify and loving themselves. Abused people sometimes define abuse as love and they end up justifying their abusers, which is why they need support and love so that their self-identify and self-love can be restored," says Lady Gao. 

"When people abuse you that changes how you view yourself, it changes your self-concept. What is even painful is when you start blaming yourself for being mistreated or even justifying why people treat you a certain way. So if you have been abused you need to be aware of the impact it has on your self-concept and self-identity, start the journey of healing. It takes hard work to restore you to the person that you were before or even a better version of you. Therefore be deliberate and seek help from professionals."

READ: Monday Motivation: Loving yourself in the right way

Realising that you need to improve the relationship you have with yourself

Lady Gao says there are signs that can show in a person when they lack self-love. 

For instance, when a person uses "derogatory words when they speak about themselves". 

She also says low self-esteem is another indication that one needs to improve on self-love. 

More signs of lack of self-love is when a person neglects their physical appearance, things that makes them feel good and when they allow people to misuse and abuse them.

Cultivating self-love   

"Be deliberate and prioritise yourself. Do not neglect yourself in the name of love," says Lady Gao.

She adds that even when in a relationship, don't compromise who you are. 

"The challenge is that most people when they fall in love, they tend to neglect themselves in every way.  They stop eating what they like, doing things they like, wearing clothes that they like even doing activities that they enjoy.  They just stop spending time with themselves. They even feel guilty if they were to spend their money on themselves. They stop dreaming and pursuing their life goals  in the name of love. Be deliberate in taking care of yourself. Do not neglect yourself. Never stop dreaming, never give up on your goals in the name of love," she says. 

"Losing your self in the name of love is dangerous not only to you but to your partner as well. Remember your partner fell in love with the go-getter you, that is what attracted them to you in the first place, when you lose that you are likely going to lose him/her as well.  

"I believe that when you fall in love you should never destroy the 'I' in the name of the 'We'.  You must never lose your individuality. You are still an individual with passions, talents and dreams to achieve. Do not defer your dreams. Keep your dreams but accommodate your partner.  I believe that you need to both share your aspirations so that you are able to support one another. Identify common goals that you can pursue together but have individual goals that you will help each other achieve. Relationships are meant to make you a better person not a bitter person. Strike a balance between your goals and the common goals lest you become bitter and quit. Never neglect yourself."

Lady Gao says there are several key things that you can do to improve self-love. 

"The first is that you must admit that you neglected yourself and be willing to take actions that will correct the status quo. Invest in yourself by attending personal development courses that will boost your confidence, invest in a life coach that will help you discover your purpose and pursue your dreams.  Forgive yourself for the neglect. Start doing small acts of kindness such as having a day dedicated to you (Me Day), just to spend time with yourself.  Start buying and eating food that you like, doing activities that you like, going to places that you like. I believe selfishness is a virtue, loving yourself requires a little bit of selfishness. This will not only benefit you but your loved ones as well. Take charge of your life spirit, soul and body. Be deliberate."

READ: Beautiful: A story of transformation to self-love

Helping a partner who lacks self-love

"Self-condemnation, low-self-esteem and physical neglect are the main signs that a person is lacking in self-love.  Sometimes if the situation has gone on for too long depression can also be a sign of self-neglect," says Lady Gao when describing some of the signs that a partner lacks self-love. 

"People in this state requires a lot of assurance and love. Be deliberate in affirming them by saying kind things to them, assure them that it is okay to prioritise themselves, do things for them until they accept that is okay to do that for themselves. Encourage them to seek help from professionals so that they can become the best version of themselves again. Buy them beautiful clothes if you can and complement them continually until it becomes normal for them to receive compliments. Restore their hope to love again."

WATCH: This kid is the cutest reminder of self love...

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Image courtesy of iStock/ @Viorel Poparcea

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