In 2018, I was exploring on Bumble and came across a man who said he was interested in a woman who loves and cares about people…
I thought, how sweet for that to be his priority! So, I swiped right and sent him a message. He eventually asked if we could go on a date and at that point, I wanted to have a phone conversation before going on a date, as to not waste anyone’s time. A week later, we talked and it went well enough to where we went on a date shortly after. Jason remembered what kind of restaurants I liked so he made a reservation at one that neither of us have tried before. I thought that was really thoughtful.
He was cute and the date was great! We talked about meaningful topics, I felt present and connected, and I wasn’t worried about whether Jason would like me or not. After the date, I didn’t hear from him for three days… not even a “hope you got home safely” text! Mind you, if this happened a few years prior, this silence would have left me incredibly anxious and worried about whether something went wrong.
Because I was grounded in unconditional self-worthiness, I was disappointed I didn’t hear from him, but I was able to accept that and let it go without internalizing it and criticizing myself. Though, that’s not where the story ends. Jason ended up calling me a few days later, and asked me on a second date! If I had been caught up about him not calling or texting me sooner, I may not have been as open to going on a second date, but I had done the work and was confident in our connection.
Reflecting on the early stages of our relationship, Jason showed up for me and our relationship progressed more and more over time. Our relationship was free of stress, desperation, and anxiety, which was what often characterized my prior relationships. Even though I was good at playing it cool, my past relationships were riddled with worry, uncertainty, and self-doubt. Who wants that?!
In past relationships, the question was, “Does he like me?” when it should have been, “Do I like him?”
With Jason, I was curious about whether I liked spending time with him and the answer was always yes! That’s what helped our relationships progress with ease, on top of him being thoughtful, consistent, and available.
Today, our relationship continues to be easy and joyful. We have a great balance of interdependence because neither of us are struggling with low self-worth, neither of us are depending on the other person to fill an eternal void, we are our own complete humans, and we come together because we love each other. Despite any disagreements we may have, our relationship is stable. Cue the sigh of relief!
Knowing that I am unconditionally worthy helped me make two major shifts in my approach to relationships.
The first shift that happened was that I was attracted to Jason, who was stable and emotionally available. When you feel like you’re unlovable, you’re more likely to be attracted to people who are emotionally unavailable or who confirm the belief that you are unlovable. This can lead to a somewhat false sense of accomplishment as you try to earn the love and affirmation of the person you’re interested in. Jason clearly said he wanted to go on a date, planned the date, then followed through on the date. Stable and emotionally available.
I had to adjust to this stability and availability because I wasn’t used to it. I was surprised that Jason is the way he is. I shifted away from trying to achieve, fix, or prove that I was worthy and began to relax and enjoy the process. Sometimes, we have to adjust to the thing that we’ve wanted for so long because we’re used to experiencing something totally different.
The second shift that happened was being free from relationship anxiety, which allowed me to be present and engaged with Jason without putting pressure on him and the relationship. This freed up so much time and energy to put toward figuring out if Jason was the one for me. I could finally let things progress naturally and enjoy him and the process.
Have you ever tried to achieve love with a partner?
Have you felt anxious and like your worth depends on someone loving you?
Do you question your partner’s actions or words?
Problems arise when one or both partners believe they are unworthy. Unconditional self-worth is the foundation of healthy relationships, with both yourself and with your partner.
Having a loving relationship with yourself provides a foundation for healthy relationships, but you don’t need to be perfectly healed and understanding of your worthiness before exploring a loving relationship.
Healthy relationships can help us to see ourselves in a more positive light and you shouldn’t outsource this work to your partner. Do the inner work to build a loving and accepting relationship with yourself because that is what’s going to allow you to show up fully in your romantic relationships.
When we know we are worthy of love, we open ourselves to receiving love and we walk away from those who aren’t loving to us. We don’t put pressure on our partner or our relationships to fill the void of low self-worth.
If you’re struggling with your self-worth, no matter your relationship status, I invite you to join me in a practice that will connect you with your self-worth.
It’s a practice of self-appreciation. You don’t need to be different than you are to be lovable. Society bombards us with messages that tell us we need to change or be different in order to fit in or be lovable, but I invite you to let go of these thoughts. Instead, focus on the things you like and appreciate about yourself. When you can tune into this appreciation, your confidence increases, you feel assured, and you know you are worthy just as you are.
Take a moment to think about and connect with at least one thing that you like about yourself. If you’re struggling, ask a trusted friend and see what they appreciate about you. Take in that answer without denial.
When growth happens without acknowledging and appreciating who and where we are in life, we’re left feeling insecure. Remember, being in touch with what we appreciate about ourselves helps us to connect to our unconditional self-worth and allows us to show up authentically and confidently in our relationships, which is SO attractive!
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