Self-love and self-worth—you’ve heard these terms before. They’re the buzzwords for every ‘betterment’ article and the message at the forefront of anything related to personal development. But when you think of self-worth, how often do you base it on how other people treat you?
How often have you seen your worthiness according someone else’s perspective or terms? How many times have you searched for yourself in the eyes of another person? Found your sense of purpose or peace in someone else’s arms?
One of the largest, and most important journeys I’ve been on (so far) is the journey to self-love. In learning to love myself (even in my mess, mistakes, and failures) I’ve learned that I am not a static person. None of us are. And so, as we grow and learn to make peace with both our past and our present, we find that the only one who can truly define our worth is us.
As humans, we’re prone to search for answers in other people. We naturally gravitate to connections, to relationships, to love. But when we shift away from finding our identities in our relationships, we learn that self-worth can only come from one place: the beating of our hearts.
Here are 8 changes that happen when you start to define yourself by your own terms.
1. You realize that love is not something you have to search for—it’s within you unconsciously.
One of the most important truths (that we so often forget) is that love is already within us. Love is us. We don’t have to go looking for love, searching for a person to make us complete. Though sometimes we crave another person’s hand to hold, a relationship is not our identity.
When we stop focusing on our partners as a means of figuring out who we are, we’ll see that love is written in our veins. We are incredible, unique, and valuable—even, and especially when we are on our own.
2. You quiet your mind and seek answers within yourself, as opposed to other people.
Relationships are beautiful, but sometimes we get wrapped up in them. Sometimes we take others’ words and feelings as our own instead of focusing on what it is we desire for ourselves and our lives.
When we stop defining ourselves by our relationships, we start to seek answers within. We start listening to what we feel and taking note of what we see, think, and experience, rather than relying on other people’s perceptions and thoughts to guide our way.
3. You feel content to be where you are, even if and when that place is imperfect.
When we start defining our self-worth on our own terms, we are content—right where we are. Instead of pursuing someone else and always trying to be better, to be more, we find that we are already enough.
And even if we’re imperfect (which we will be), even if our lives are a bit messy, even if we don’t quite know who we are outside of a relationship, we’re learning. And this learning and acceptance comes when we give ourselves a chance to take the driver’s seat.
4. You start listening in a way that allows room for growth, rather than feeling stunted.
When we begin to define our own self-worth, we start listening. Instead of absorbing through someone else’s lens, instead of trying to accommodate for another person—we simply slow down and process.
5. You learn that no one has power over you, even the people with the best intentions.
Sometimes even the healthiest relationships can hold us hostage. When we pull ourselves away and stop defining who we are by the people we’re with, we’ll find that we are in control. Always.
6. You let go and focus on how you will move forward, and who you will choose to become.
Defining our own sense of self-worth means letting go of all that we can’t fix, can’t make sense of, and can’t change. Instead, we take one step at a time and determine, for ourselves, who we will become and where we will go.
7. You find that heartbreak has not, and will never rule over you.
Understanding that our self-worth is not dependent upon, nor defined by our relationships teaches us that heartbreak is simply a blip on our radar. And one day, we will no longer be bound by it.
8. You make space for other productive things that fill your soul perhaps even more deeply than your past relationships ever have.
And finally, as we learn that there is far more in this life than getting caught up in relationships. Though relationships are beautiful (and an important part of being human), they are not everything. So we shift our focus and give other things a chance to bloom.
Featured Image Credit:Johanna Marrero Verde