I promise you, regardless of what I write in this article; if you don’t start by liking yourself, you’ll always struggle with the idea of getting someone else to like you.
You could be a genius.
You could have a six pack.
You could have impeccable hair.
You could even drive the latest car.
But none of that matters if you’re unable to look in the mirror and be happy with the person you see staring back at you. Nothing will ever make you feel more confident when you approach someone than being happy with yourself. You will never have enough money, a nice enough body or something to offer someone else – if you don’t believe in yourself from the beginning.
Waiting for validation from others is what will stop you from having the ability to connect with someone else in a meaningful way from the start. So start with yourself. From imposter syndrome to your own insecurities, these are the things you need to address first and foremost.
What’s imposter syndrome?
It’s challenging for people who are constantly pushing themselves to be better professionally to accept themselves. It’s a part of the entire concept of Imposter Syndrome but applied to our personal lives.
In the book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, Valerie Young talks about how Imposter Syndrome often holds people back:
The thing about “impostors” is they have unsustainably high standards for everything they do. The thinking here is, If I don’t know everything, then I know nothing. If it’s not absolutely perfect, it’s woefully deficient. If I’m not operating at the top of my game 24/7, then I’m incompetent.
This trickles over into relationships as well for smart people.
You’re a talented person in the boardroom. You’re talented in school. You’re considered the brainiac by your friends. But deep down, it’s likely you’re always questioning how smart you really are in the grand scheme of things. You understand that the world is bigger than your immediate circle and question everything. It’s good to have this perspective with your work, it’s dangerous to have this perspective in relationships.
If you’re constantly thinking that your partner may have been with someone better than you, you’ll have a relationship built on jealousy. If you’re constantly thinking that your partner is too good for you, you’ll have a relationship of insecurity.
At the same time, you may be one of those smart people who go in the entire opposite direction. You might believe you’re so smart that there’s no one on this earth that is good enough for you.
I know lots of business professionals who have had divorces because of this thinking.
They believed they were better than their spouse. They believed they deserved someone smarter. They believed that they were God’s gift to their partners and that the ground they walked on should be worshiped.
That’s a horrible perspective and one that you need to correct immediately.
Here’s the thing that you need to remember:
1) Understand What Love Really IS
The triangular theory of love is a theory developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg.
It’s broken into three key elements:
- Intimacy – Feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness.
- Passion – Drives connected to both limerence and sexual attraction.
- Commitment – In the short term, the decision to remain with another, and in the long term, plans made with that other person.
Consummate love is the ideal type of love for a relationship with someone you want to date. Of course, your relationship can start in other areas and move to the middle overtime, but this is where you should be looking to take your relationship overtime.
Yet, Sternberg expresses that while this love is associated with the “perfect couple” it’s not easy. In hus study, he talks about how much of a challenge it is to maintain consummate love. “Without expression,” he states, “even the greatest loves can die.” Thus, consummate love can be temporary if you’re not putting in the effort to keep the passion, intimacy and commitment alive.
2) Relationships Should Be Mutually Beneficial
You need to realize immediately that your relationship should not be one sided.
You should strive to be with someone who is going to push you to be better but also someone who wants you to help them be better. The most successful relationships are those in which you view one another as a perfect complement.
Your strengths are their weaknesses. Their weaknesses are your strengths. And if you share strengths and weaknesses, that’s okay too – just make a mutual agreement that you’re both going to work together to improve in the areas that need work.
3) Skills At Work Do Not = Skills At Love
The ego is the most dangerous thing to have in a relationship.
So it’s important that you check your ego at the door. You shouldn’t think you’re a catch just because you have a great job. You need to realize that because you’re good at your job doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re good at being a partner. The skills you need to excel in the classroom, aren’t the same as the skills you need to excel in the bedroom (and I don’t just mean sexually).
Understand that a relationship is fragile. It might take lots of time to develop it into something great but it can be all thrown away in hours. So be committed to improving yourself for your partner. Be committed to making yourself someone that your partner is proud to be with.