Party of One: Fall in Love with Yourself First

Girl is sitting and holding red heart in her hands on lap.“The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you YOU love, well, that’s just fabulous.” —Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in HBO’s Sex and the City

If the holidays weren’t hard enough on those who have experienced the loss of a relationship, the pink and red heart displays that seemingly went up on December 26 may have added insult to injury. For those not currently in a relationship, be it by choice or otherwise, societal expectations concerning couplehood can be inescapable and are magnified by the largely socially constructed “holiday” known as Valentine’s Day.

This is no anti-couplehood rant. However, learning to be a confident and secure “party of one” is a prerequisite to being 50% of a “party of two”—or at least it should be.

It is my belief we are a product of our lived experience and our lived experience is largely relational in nature. Practically from birth, we learn about interacting with others by, well, interacting with others. Babies learn what makes their caretakers smile and that crying will get them attention to take care of their needs. Our lived experience encompasses a variety of relationships, including those with our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, authority figures, children, and, yes, intimate partners.

Relationships are an interactive experience. From relationships, we can learn skills such as effective communication with a partner, or how we want to be shown caring or love, as well as how we want to be as a person within the context of a relationship. Though relationships can be and hopefully are rewarding experiences, they can also be detrimental to our concept of self-worth. When relationships falter or end, sometimes we blame ourselves when the demise can actually be attributed to both people. Relationships can send us both good and bad messages about ourselves that we define ourselves by as well as internalize and carry over into other relationships.

Newsflash: Love doesn’t conquer all! If we understand and love ourselves as whole individuals, we not only bring more to the table in a relationship, but the relationship will most likely be far more fulfilling because it won’t define us in totality.

Striving to learn about ourselves from these interactive experiences called relationships can be invaluable. However, caution should be taken that we don’t end up defining ourselves solely in terms of any given relationship or any given external source. The only one who can or should define you is, yes, YOU!

In a world socially constructed for a party of two, it can be hard to embrace being a party of one. However, by dating ourselves and learning to truly love ourselves, faults and all, we can learn how we want to be and what we want to stand for in the context of any given relationship with another person, especially intimate relationships defined by the social discourses of something called love. Newsflash: Love doesn’t conquer all! If we understand and love ourselves as whole individuals, we not only bring more to the table in a relationship, but the relationship will most likely be far more fulfilling because it won’t define us in totality.

More importantly, being able to be with ourselves outside the context of a relationship makes us stronger and less likely to end up in unhealthy relationships. How often have you watched people you know jump from relationship to relationship because the anxiety of being alone is too great?

For those who are currently a party of one, whether by choice or circumstance, embrace it. Learn about yourself. Date yourself. Fall in love with yourself. It’s the most rewarding kind of love!

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Deanna Daniels, LMFT, therapist in Huntington Beach, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • tERRELL

    tERRELL

    February 11th, 2016 at 11:18 AM

    How come Carrie Bradshaw would say stuff like that but then she would never really live like that?

  • Marley

    Marley

    February 11th, 2016 at 3:22 PM

    So I agree with this up to a certain point, but then I know people who it feels like they are too much in love with themselves. They are very conceited and egotistical and I just do not like that in a person. It is one thing to know and love yourself but it is another to not be able to give freely to another because you are just too stuck on yourself.

  • Logan

    Logan

    February 12th, 2016 at 7:50 AM

    You are so right. We do not pay nearly enough attention to ourselves as we should, and just like with anything else. If we are not happy with us then no one else can be either. And spend time alone and get to really know your likes and dislikes. It sure is helpful knowing those too!

  • Bunmi T.

    Bunmi T.

    February 13th, 2016 at 3:28 AM

    As much as it is good to love oneself and oneself first,it is good to avoid being egotistical.This could turn off the people you might need in the course of your job,carrier and relevant arears in one’s lfe.

  • Krae

    Krae

    February 14th, 2016 at 4:10 AM

    Easier said than done when you don’t even like yourself too much anymore

  • Payton

    Payton

    February 15th, 2016 at 1:37 PM

    This spoke to me very deeply because I think that I have spent way too much time trying to make so many other people happy that I have forgotten me. This reminds me that I have to be kind to myself as well.

  • Deanna

    Deanna

    February 16th, 2016 at 1:36 PM

    Thank you to all those who have given feedback on my thoughts about loving yourself. My message was intended to invite thought about being okay with being a “party of one” and to decrease anxiety around the having the status of single. Alone does not necessarily need to equal being lonely. Hopefully, those who want to be in a relationship but are not currently in one, can learn to embrace the season of being single and take that opportunity to learn about yourself. Again, thanks for all your comments!

  • ardeth

    ardeth

    February 18th, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    Have you ever felt like you have given to so many others for so long that one day you look up and have no idea what is important to you anymore?
    I feel that way sometimes and I think that this is why I have come to loathe being alone because that just leads to boredom that I am not really too sure how to overcome at times.

  • Marilyn

    Marilyn

    February 22nd, 2016 at 10:41 AM

    When you have been beaten and broken throughout your life then it can be a rather difficult challenge to be able to stand up and say that you really do like yourself and who you have become. But what a chance to overcome and beat the odds.

  • Carollyne J.

    Carollyne J.

    April 15th, 2016 at 5:44 PM

    Yes I agree. I need to love myself whatever that means first

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