There’s a distinct difference between loving yourself, and being in love with yourself. To create the foundations necessary for a healthy relationship, both types of love need to exist within you, but one is easier said than done.
Loving yourself—in theory—is simple: it’s about the things you do to nurture yourself, to take care of your body, to nourish your soul. Loving yourself is about those long bubble baths; the days spent in bed; the gentle reminders to treat yourself with kindness. Loving yourself is hard work, but it’s straightforward.
Being in love with yourself takes more practice. Whereas loving yourself is an act of discipline— the process of making self-care a habit and a ritual—being in love with yourself is an act of radical self-acceptance. It goes beyond just doing the things that are good for you at surface level, for your physical body. It’s also vital to do the internal work of connecting with your inner child, of communicating with your consciousness, of being rather than doing.
When you learn to fall in love with yourself, everything starts to work in harmony. The Universe acts in synchrony, and the process of falling in love with yourself opens your mind to the mysteries of the spiritual world. The ability to love ourselves is the most meaningful gift of life, and once you find that magic, you’ll be capable of a new kind of joy—one that brings you closer to the people around you and encompasses your presence with an aura of awe.
Falling in love with yourself is both playful and purposeful; it is a creative act filled with intention and exploration. We all have our own definitions for how to be happy single, but the pillars of radical self-acceptance are universal.
What it feels like to fall in love with yourself:
You’re patient with your flaws.
We are lovable because of our flaws, not in spite of them. When you can embrace the parts of you that are hard to hold, the act of change becomes more fluid in practice. Being patient with your flaws means you don’t discipline yourself for your faults. Rather, you see resistance as an opportunity for further examination, and you approach your weaknesses with curiosity rather than caution. Self-acceptance allows us to hold space for our shadow selves, and to detach from the anxieties and insecurities that plague us.
You prioritize your growth.
Self-acceptance and growth are two sides of the same coin. Because radical self-acceptance asks that you identify with—and let go of—your ego mind, the process of doing so cultivates the foundations for your highest self. You’re no longer seeking short-term gratification; you are working towards a place of internal fulfillment. When you honor your highest self, you act with integrity, in alignment with your values and ideals, and growth is a natural byproduct of this practice.
Suddenly, the practice of growth is no longer something you need to pursue, but a process that becomes a part of you with ease and simplicity.
You seek comfort from within.
Self-acceptance is about being as much as doing. When you start reaching inward to process your feelings, you connect with yourself on a whole new level. Rather than looking to validate your emotions with other people, seeking comfort from within means that you can trust yourself first and foremost. You don’t need external reassurance to accept your feelings or give yourself time to heal. Relying on other people is healthy and demonstrates strength, but with practice, you learn that being able to lean on yourself can be equally fulfilling.
You stop wondering how to be happy single and nurture your loneliness.
There’s something romantic about our universal need for connection. Humans are social creatures at heart, and our craving for intimacy is shared. It’s beautiful that we live life on earth with the hope of sharing it in a significant way. But self-acceptance is not only about seeking deeper intimacy within your relationships, but also intimacy in isolation.
Even with a partner, you will find yourself in moments of loneliness. Learning how to connect with yourself during these times will allow you to flourish even more in periods of companionship. Self-love is romantic in its own way—when you’re lonely, you’ll get to discover this for yourself. It is at your most isolated that you benefit from going deeper inwards. Loneliness can only be liberated by internal reflection and healed through the tenderness of self-love.
You pursue passion without purpose.
In a world driven by consumption and output, it’s hard to feel grounded in practices that are done simply for the sake of doing. Creativity is commoditized, and we often find it easy to forsake the kind of unintentional work that isn’t driven by tangible productivity. But part of the act of connecting with our inner child means allowing ourselves to be playful with the parts of us that aren’t for show.
By prioritizing the pieces of our identity that don’t feel rooted in our external definitions of self-expression, we allow ourselves to explore the parts of us that are most authentic and whole. Creating without conscious intention is the most meaningful way to explore your passions and unfettered desires. Self-acceptance is a process of exploration, of delving into your soul in ways that are solely for you. Connecting with your creativity is both holistic and unfiltered.
Some of us have an easier time than others finding this capacity for intrinsic love. For some, it takes one bad breakup to transform your mindset and rediscover how to be happy single. Along the way, you reprioritize your internal happiness, peace, and joy. For others, it is a lifelong process of revealing your true essence under layers of limiting self-beliefs, insecurities, and doubts.
Radical self-acceptance begins with steady self-awareness. Much like falling in love with someone else, this practice doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, it creeps up on you—slowly, and then all at once.
Nothing takes more patience than falling in love with yourself for the first time. You will find yourself frustrated when mindfulness and observation don’t translate into action. It will sometimes hurt that you can’t seem to crack the code for how to be happy single. It can be painful to establish new boundaries with yourself, and with others. But one day, suddenly and unexpectedly, you will wake up and realize that this is what it feels like to fall in love with yourself.