Self-Love & Relationships

Self Love is the Best Love: Maintaining Self Love in New and Old Relationships

I haven’t always loved myself in relationships. I’ve allowed myself to get lost. I have put all of my energy and focus on “loving” the man I was with or trying to show him how much I loved him while denying myself the very love I so desperately tried to give away. It can be easy to get lost in relationships, especially when they are not healthy. I learned quickly that In order to truly love anyone else you have to love yourself first. Here are a few ways to maintain self love in relationships.

1. Putting I before we

As women we are taught to be selfless. We are reprimanded for being selfish and often feel guilty when we do take the time to spoil ourselves. As much as giving can be such a big part of us, it is impossible to pour from a cup that is empty. Before you can please your partner you have to make sure that your needs are met. When you start to feel overwhelmed take a step back and do something good for you. If you are the type to drown or get lost in your partner in a relationship start spending more time with your girlfriends. Take a class you’ve always been dying to take, take yourself on a date. There is nothing wrong with more me time and in fact it makes “we” time better. Dates are so much more fun when you can intrigue your mate with all of the new stuff you’ve been doing and learning lately. Have an adventure, write some poetry, take up painting, just do something that makes you and your soul feel good.

2. Take a breather

I’m the type of wife that enjoys having dinner made when my husband gets home and eating together. Not just any dinner, I like to have the table decorated, the lights dim, candles lit and everything looking esthetically pleasing. I also like to have the house clean and try to look as cute as possible even when I’ve been working from home myself, cooking and cleaning all day. Sometimes I can get lost in all of this. I remember a few years ago when we were dating I was pretty much doing the same things only I would literally spend hours deep cleaning and cooking and literally not have any time for myself. I wasn’t working on my craft, I was not getting out much, I simply was existing. I was becoming depressed more and more everyday. My husband had to sit me down and talk to me. Why are you doing this? Why are you putting so much focus on these things and not on writing? The truth is I wasn’t feeling very confident in my writing and used this as an escape, an excuse. Once he set me straight, I got out of my own way and started focusing on the things that mattered more.

The man in our lives is not always going to be the one to tell us, that why they love what we are doing it’s not always necessary. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of this. Again, you cannot pour from a cup that is empty. Take a step back from all that you are doing and ask yourself, am I happy? Am I fulfilled? If the answer is no, then you need to find out what you need to do to get there, even if it means not being the super girlfriend or wife that you’ve been being. It’s not selfish to let him cook, or order food once in awhile or God forbid not have the table looking like Maestros. It’s self care and self love to simply say, not today sometimes.


3. Learning to say no

Those men of ours can get pretty spoiled, especially when we have been treating them like their mothers for years. As much as they love us they can get pretty use to the amazing things that we do and have done for them and sometimes not fully appreciate us for it. It’s important to learn to say no, even when it’s hard. The truth is as amazing as we are to them we have to be even more amazing to ourselves. We can’t get lost in a relationship because then we lose ourselves. Saying no sometimes is often imperative to our sanity. When you know it’s something he can simply do for himself or you just don’t have the time to do and get what you need done, start simply saying no. Let your man know that while you love being there for him you also have to be there for yourself and as much as you love being his helpmate you have to help yourself as well. If he truly loves you, though it may be a hard pill to swallow hopefully he will understand and eventually start doing more not only for himself but also you.

While it can be hard not doing as much as we are accustomed to doing for our spouses and boyfriends the reward of being a happier, healthier more fulfilled you, will definitely be worth it. Take the time to do at least one nice, relaxing, rewarding thing for yourself and everyday, and watch how you continue growing into the happier, healthier woman you were always meant to be.

As always,

Love & light


By Ashley Renee

Ashley Renee is a soul food enthusiast, sometimes plant based, spoken word poet, who doesn't trust boxed macaroni or cats. To keep up with her head over to her twitter and Instagram @ashleyreneepoet also check out her website.

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