A Jewish Matchmakers Guide to the love affair of all love affairs
Are you ready for a real “happily ever after”? It may sound corny but all the love you could ever need is right inside of you. Yes, having a loving partner to share your life with is a wonderful bonus, but you already have a built-in life partner – yourself! And you are definitely NOT going anywhere. All that love and attention that you normally show your partner, can and should be first shown to yourself.
Needless to say, many people I speak with have no idea what the term “loving yourself” means, much less how to exhibit self-love. So this is where I come in, with my handful of tips to get you started on the road to the ultimate love affair. If you put these 10 tips into practice on a daily basis, I have no doubt that by the end of one month you will absolutely know what loving yourself means and you will be a living example of it.
1) Listen to your heart. Throughout our lives, we often get “programmed” by what other people want us to do or how they want us to live. Sometimes we end up living up to their ideal while ignoring what we really want. Make a vow to live your life on your own terms – even if it makes other people unhappy. You are not responsible for their happiness; you are responsible for your happiness. Listen to what your heart tells you to do; make decisions that fulfill your dreams.
2. Be your own savior: The circumstances of life can often bring us down and make us feel helpless. Sometimes we are secretly waiting for Prince or Princess Charming to come and rescue us from our unhappiness. Wait no longer. You are the strong one. Believe me, you are stronger than you imagine. Take your life and your happiness into your own hands and start doing for yourself those things you are hoping that the right person will come and do for you.
3. Stand up for yourself. Are you waiting for that special someone to be in your corner rooting you on? You are that special someone! Take control of your time and resources. If you find yourself saying “yes” to people while inwardly screaming “no”, start saying that “no” out loud. Yes, there are people who will be upset with you and wonder why you are no longer at their beck and call. These are not the people you need to be pleasing. You need to please yourself, first.
4. Pamper yourself. Do you find yourself planning little surprises for the people you love? Do you “treat” others to their favorite foods, activities, gifts while letting yourself “settle” for the least expensive option or bypassing a treat for yourself altogether? Begin treating yourself to your favorite things. Plan a day at the spa or a dinner at your favorite restaurant. Too pricey? Then fill a bath with scented bubbles, fill the room with candles and put on your favorite music, or cook dinner at home and make it a night of only your favorite foods. It doesn’t matter what you do- as long as it’s something that makes you feel like royalty.
5. Uncover a talent. Have you always wanted to draw? Or sing? Or play guitar? It is NEVER too late to learn, and who knows, you might discover raw talent where you never knew it existed. Set aside a little time every week to explore an activity that you’ve always wanted to be good at. Repetition gets results so don’t give up after only a few attempts. There are so many free sources online to teach you everything from the ground up. Buy yourself a sketch pad and pencils and start learning to draw lines. I guarantee you will surprise yourself.
6. Outsource the grudge work. Pick one task that you absolutely hate to do and hire someone to do it for you. Of course it’s cheaper to do it yourself and of course you are capable- but that’s not the point. Send out your laundry instead of doing it yourself or hire someone to do your least-favorite cleaning job. You choose, but give yourself a break from the drudgery from time to time. Don’t’ feel guilty about it- remember, you are also providing work for someone else- and that’s an empowering and important task too.
7. Cut yourself some slack. Stop beating yourself up over perceived “mistakes” that you’ve made. Be as compassionate with yourself as you are with your loved ones. We are all learning and part of learning is making mistakes. Let it go. Nothing that you learn from is ever a mistake; it’s all part of the process.
8. Trust your intuition. Your inner voice and gut feeling are speaking to you for a reason. You have probably trained yourself to ignore those inner signals, but your innate intelligence knows what it’s doing. Rely on that a little more with every decision you make and you will grow to feel more and more powerful in your own ability to read people and situations and determine what feels right and what doesn’t. You don’t need a “second opinion”. You are the only one who knows what is best for you. Listen to yourself.
9. Hang with positive people. Do you have friends or family who always come surrounded with negative drama? Do you tend to get sucked in to other people’s problems? Don’t take someone else’s burdens onto your own shoulders. Yes, you can be there for other people, but you can do so with boundaries. Their decisions are not your responsibility. Take responsibility for your own decisions and allow others to do the same. You will both be stronger for it. Make it a point to spend time with people who enrich your life with a positive, happy energy. Believe me, positive energy (and negative energy) is contagious.
10. Set boundaries. When something doesn’t feel “right” to you or makes you feel uncomfortable, respect that feeling and make it known that this is a line that you will not tolerate someone crossing. Set firm boundaries on the type of behavior that you will accept from people in your life and stick to it. If you have had loose boundaries in the past, you might get some push back from people who have taken advantage of that fact. If they are worth having in your life, they will respect your boundaries and ask that you will respect theirs. If they keep pushing, walk away. Only unhealthy people trample the boundaries of others, and unhealthy people are not the type that you, my strong and beautiful friend, want in your life.