Living

Love yourself first

In the past three years, I’ve attended at least 10 weddings and ROMs. I’ve seen people falling in and out of love. Heartbroken, disappointed, cried, healed, eager to find love again. Some are lucky, some are still struggling, some are happy being single.

One of my friends, recently separated, asked this philosophical question, “Why do we even need to find a partner?”

“Why do we even need to find a partner?”

Well, it’s because we’re 30 years old and our parents want us to get married and have kids.

It’s because we need a companion to watch movie and eat dinner with.

It’s because our combined salaries might get us a house loan.

It’s because we humans are lonely inside. We’re social animals. We need love.

Are these answers true? Well, yes and no.

Here’s a brutal truth: Your partner is not a magician. Your partner is NOT the solution to your problems.

Putting all your expectations on your partner is selfish and unrealistic. Your Prince Charming might be the best person in the world, but he can’t solve all your inner demons. You still have to settle your own debts, longings, insecurity, fear. Your partner cannot magically uproot your problems for you. They are humans too, with their own problems to solve.

We tend to feel insecure all the time. This is why some people demand their partner to report their schedule all the time, check their phones, control their money, demand this, demand that… That sense of control makes us feel less insecure. But is this the real solution?

The answer is NO. You have to unwind the insecurity and fear yourself. Period.

Your Prince Charming might be the best person in the world, but he can’t solve all your inner demons. You still have to settle your own debts, longings, insecurity, fear. Your partner cannot magically uproot your problems for you.

I’m recently reading the book Becoming by Michelle Obama. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said, “I like me. I like my story and all the bumps and bruises. I think that’s what makes me uniquely me.”

“I like me?” Those three words strike me.

I read this somewhere in a book. The author suggests us to look into the mirror and ask ourselves, “Do you love this person? Will you date this person?”

My answer was, “HELL NOOOO!!”

I’m a stubborn and busy woman – the kind that can be a pain-in-the-ass for many men. I can’t even bear my own flaws, why would anyone put up with me? But I also want to love and be loved. What should I do?

As a scientist and self-help geek, I dwell into the world of self-discovery. I read books. I wrote down pages and pages of what I know about myself. Strengths, weaknesses, all the reasons why my past relationship didn’t work, what my family and friends told me about myself, including things that I didn’t want to admit (e.g. I’m dirty). I went through the pages and started to understand this person better. I tried to understand why I do things the way I do, why I’m stubborn, why I’m like this and that, and what I can do to be better.

When I’m too angry with the stupid things that I do, I try to accept and embrace them. It’s a loooong and frustrating process, but trust me it’s worth it. This opens up the door to self-love.

There’s still a long way before I can say, “I like me”.

During the usual pre-flight demonstration, the cabin crew always tell us this: In case of emergency, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. 

I like this metaphor, because it shows that you should put yourself as the priority. You can’t help others before helping yourself. I feel this is especially true for wives and mothers. If you’re not happy, your husband and children are unlikely to be happy too.

Love yourself first. Work on the relationship with yourself.

One day, you might look into the mirror and say, “Hello there, you’re gorgeous. I love you.”