When relationships fail, we often point the finger at the other person and blame them for being unloving, absent, disinterested, or controlling. However, if you can be honest and ask yourselves the question “Would I date myself”, would you say yes? If you say no, what makes you repulsed by the idea of dating yourself?
I have my fair share of failures in relationships. They rarely lasted for six months, and all went with similar patterns. We met, clicked, and went out a few more times; I got hooked, insecurity kicked in, and I started to worry that I’m not good enough for the other person. He then became distant, and we ended, and I felt hurt and upset.
I used to lament about the rarity of good-hearted gentlemen and recount one story after another of disenchanting encounters. Later on, I learned from the self-help community that I should look inward when relationships don’t work.
And I sort of figured out why. I had little self-confidence, never thought I am good enough, and always tried to be someone else. I didn’t think I deserve love and never had the courage to say my needs and wants in a relationship. I was insecure and fearful, so any unintentional gesture could be a sign of withdrawal and rejection for me and prompted me to react in a passive-aggressive way.
Would I date myself? Not really.
I didn’t know how to work on my issues until I embarked on my spiritual awakening journey accidentally. The beliefs that we have infinite worth, are unconditionally loved and can create our reality were powerful tools to help me build self-worth and alleviate my insecurity. I was seeing the Mr. “Dream of Life” at the time, and it was a good chance to put these learnings into use.
Little by little, I learned to feel safe and certain of the relationship and accept him for who he is. When my buttons got pushed, instead of turning to the “fight or flight” mode straight away, I took them as chances to reflect on myself and to look for areas where I could heal. For a while, I was cheerful with my growth and the result.
Until it became unbearable to continue. My date and I had strong connection and chemistry, we had a good time when we met, but other than that, I was nonexistent to him. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to change others, I worked even harder on my healing, so that I could be more accepting, secure, understanding, and unconditionally loving. I hoped that by giving off these positive frequencies, the Universe would reward me with what I asked for.
But it didn’t. One day, tired and exhausted, I asked myself again: “Would I date myself?”
“No,” said my inner voice.
“Because you don’t know how to love.”
I was speechless. Having studied and actively practiced it for a while, I thought I knew what unconditional love is. But there I was, hearing a voice in my head accusing me, with assertion and clarity, that I don’t know love.
Instinctively, I knew it was talking about self-love. Our Universe is governed by the Law of Attraction, which dictates that whatever comes into our experiences—people, events, and circumstances—has to be a vibrational match to our thoughts and feelings. Therefore, if you are someone who feels loved, you will always attract people who love you. On the contrary, if you are deprived of love and don’t know how to love yourself, you can only magnetize people who are unloving to you.
I belong to the latter. Growing up with parents who were demanding while fearful, I had little freedom to do what I love and experience little support and understanding. I could barely recall any occasions where my parents and I would laugh and have fun together. Instead, my memories were plagued with scolding and the endless urging to do better—they brew my shame, guilt, and self-hate all the way into adulthood.
But humans are wired for love and connection. Deprived, I turned to romantic relationships for rescue, tried everything I can to be likable, and hoped the other person would fill my void. Nevertheless, my vibration of lack can only magnetize to my life those with similar experiences. Like attracts like—if you want to take love from others, they would want to take love from you, too.
In retrospect, it was silly of me to think about loving others before loving myself. When the yearning for love is not fulfilled from inward, everything that I set out to do is inevitably an attempt to steal love from others to fill the void. The Universe wasn’t blind to it when I swallowed my frustration for being ignored while forcing myself to be accepting and unconditionally loving for the other person. It gives me more frustration and disappointment.
“You can’t love others without loving yourself first,” the Universe says, “the more you turn a blind eye to yourself to please others, the more unlikely you will receive love.”
Finally, I had to surrender. I had a candid conversation with myself one evening and imagined my unloved aspect as the three-year-old girl. Her parents cared little for her and she was bruised by me while I suppress my feelings to chase others.
The moment that I saw her tearful face, I started to cry as well. “What an awful person you are,” I said to myself. No wonder I wouldn’t date myself—I have never given love to this part of me.
Lovingly, I apologized to her for neglecting her and hugged and kissed her until she stopped sobbing. I promised her that I would take care of her and that she would have everything she needs and wants from me. And I told her that she could count on me for love.
Since that moment, every time I had to make a decision, I took on this aspect of me and asked the question “What would I do if I love myself?” I tried my best to act on the answer that I got, starting from ending the relationship that didn’t serve me anymore.
Despite my ego’s constant protest, I would quit working, take junk food, sleep as much as I can, or do nothing if these were the self-loving responses I heard. Skeptical at the beginning, she began to cheer up little by little and was happy that her needs were finally fulfilled without terms and conditions. A few weeks later, it came the time when, with my eyes closed, I saw her light-hearted smile in my mind.
It was one of the sweetest moments that I have experienced in my life, although it would still take much efforts to make her truly happy.
One day, it occurred to me that I should ask myself that questions again: “Would I date myself?” The resounding response of “yes” left me with a big smile for a long while.