We grow up with the notion that we need a significant other in order to be whole; that is, we need to find “the one” in order to feel complete in our lives. However, while having a relationship is a nice component in our lives, we don’t need to place our full identity or worth into it.
Our identity needs to be in who we are-not in our relationships. Our worth needs to be in our character-not in whether or not a relationship makes or breaks you. So much of our energy goes into trying to find the right person and not be alone that we lose sight of the fact that we need to be right for ourselves before we can find the right person-and also be the right person for someone else.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on how much I allowed relationships to define my worth. When things would be great, I felt good about myself. When things would be terrible, I felt awful about myself. And when things would fall apart romantically, I was so busy trying to pick up the pieces that I didn’t allow myself to be pieced back together by God and myself. I was so determined to be loved that I lost sight of the need to love myself.
Fortunately, I have realized the importance of self-love in the past year (despite it being a garbage year). I began to recognize that my self-worth didn’t stem from who I was dating, how long the relationship was, and whether or not I was alone. I finally have seen, accepted, and embraced that my self-worth comes from me; I am enough for myself to love me. I especially have the love of God to remind me that I’m deserving of and worth that self-love. Even though I’m not with anyone, I don’t necessarily see myself as being single; rather, I see myself as being complete in who I am, and I don’t need a romantic partner to bring wholeness to my identity.
In learning to love myself, I truly reflected on my response to my heartbreak: would things have not gotten to me like they did if I had that self-love prior to things happening? Would I have rejected my pain if I didn’t allow the stigma of not being with someone to poison me? Would I have ignored people’s encouragement to jump to the next person if I actually allowed myself to heal in a healthy matter? Honestly, these questions somewhat haunt me, because I’ve come to see how much I let the idea of relationships consume my identity. However, I’m able to apply these lessons for both the present and future.
My advice-and encouragement-to anyone reading this is to find yourself before you find someone. Don’t allow the desire of a relationship to embody your character. Grow into a unique individual who doesn’t need to have someone to complete them. Grow into someone who will be happy and esteemed in who they are. Grow into the person that, for whenever someone does come along, is able to add to the overflow of a healthy relationship.
Don’t become disheartened by the absence of a relationship. Learn to love yourself-for you are enough for yourself.