“I love myself. I need no man!”
I hear this and I get the sentiment, but it never really resonated with me even when I was single.
I finally understood why I felt that way when I learned to love myself.
I realised that self-love and romantic relationships are not mutually exclusive.
In contrast, my love for myself and my life creates space for a romantic relationship. Thanks to my self-love, I’m capable of loving someone and sharing my daily life with them.
Self-love isn’t a substitute for other kinds of love — it’s the start of them all.
It’s the ground floor.
Self-love supplies me with positive energy to give to others. It keeps me secure to free-fall into romantic love.
When I met my fiance, my self-love met his self-love. They created a safe place for us to bond with each other and became the soil on which our romantic love could grow.
It’s level one.
As a couple, our love creates space for our family, friends, and community. It fills our souls with the excitement to share and celebrate our life with others — to be a part of something bigger. With him by my side, life becomes more meaningful and abundant. Our love expands and elevates us.
After getting married, our love creates space for the desire to bring a human into this world and eventually for that human to exist and thrive. Our love gives us the strength and courage to weather any life challenges that come with the hard job.
It’s level two and three.
Love is patience, and patience is space.
Love is respect, and respect is space.
Love is trust, and trust is space.
Love is closeness, and sometimes closeness is having enough space to move a bit closer together at the end of each day.
Love is giving space to the other person to be their full self.
But love doesn’t only create space; it also empowers you to occupy all the space it has created for you.
It tells you, “Go, take what’s yours.”
So, when you need your loved ones, you can come to them and tell them you need them. You’re not afraid that they will reject or abandon you. You can trust that they’ll embrace you and you’re deserving of their grace and love. Likewise, when a loved one finds you, you will open your arms to them without reservation and greets their vulnerability with yours.
Recently, one of my best friends revealed to me that she wasn’t happy with our friendship.
I immediately called her. She said she had felt that way for over two years because of something I shall keep private. I asked her why she didn’t tell me sooner. She said she wasn’t sure how I’d react; she had expected that I’d pull away from her and she didn’t want to lose our friendship.
But, that day, I surprised her.
As I heard her crying on the phone, I cried with her. I let her speak without defending myself. Together, we created space for a difficult conversation — for our honesty, vulnerability, and healing. Afterward, she told me she felt like a stone was lifted off her chest and ready to get closer to me again.
And she was right. A few years ago, I probably would have reacted very differently because, back then, I didn’t have enough love within me to put my ego aside and see the needs of others. Now I do. I have plenty of space to make for her and our friendship.
When there’s love, space isn’t something to be afraid of.
Though, there’s a difference between “occupying a space together” and “keeping a distance.”
When you occupy a space together, you’re far, then you’re close. But when someone keeps a distance from you, you’re always far.
Learn to spot the signs. Find people who want to be closer to you.