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How to Love Yourself Enough to Walk Away from a Relationship That No Longer Serves You

When was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror and felt genuine love for the person staring back at you? How long has it been? Be honest—there are no wrong answers. There’s nothing wrong with not having cultivated a deep love of yourself; it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with you. The problem is that everywhere we look, you’re shown reasons why you’re not enough. Look at the ads you see on TV or on the internet, they’re always saying that you don’t have enough, that you’re not young enough, or that you’re not beautiful enough, and that if you just buy this one product, all of your problems will disappear. But when you buy those products, have your problems really gone away?

You can see the problem of "being enough" translated into your relationships as well. When you don’t feel like you’re enough, it prevents you from fully loving yourself for what you are and who you are in this moment. And if you don’t love yourself, you project the fear of not being enough onto your relationships, most of the time without even realizing it. In many failed relationships, the single most common problem is that one or both parties did not love themselves enough, and this inability showed up in different kinds of unhealthy ways, such as not asserting boundaries, allowing the other person to repeatedly cheat, and physical/mental abuse, just to name a few. Allowing another person to truly, genuinely love you requires that you truly and genuinely love yourself first and foremost. If you’re currently in a relationship, that may mean walking away if it no longer serves you.

In this article I’ll be discussing the following topics to help you glean some ideas on how to better love yourself so that you can confidently walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you:

  • Change the way you see the world

  • Celebrating others’ gifts while not denying your own

  • Using laughter and humor as keys to self-love

  • Accepting the past

  • Embracing relationships that no longer serve you as lessons

  • Forgiving yourself

  • Being thankful for your life

  • Creating a roadmap to walk away

  • Following your roadmap to freedom

Change the way you see the world

Finding a way to look at the world differently will help you take those first steps towards truly loving yourself. If you look out at the world and see pain and sadness, you will bring that inwards into your relationships. It isn’t until you change your perspective, and begin to look for the beauty and joy in the world, that you will actually begin to experience it. Changing your perspective isn’t a magic bullet, not at all, but it is a step in the direction of cultivating the love necessary to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you.

Celebrating others’ gifts while not denying your own

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” - President Theodore Roosevelt

The fear of not being enough or having enough is so pervasive in our lives, that it is near impossible to go even an hour without thinking that we are somehow not enough in some way. It is that fear that creeps up in our minds to remind us of this falsehood, and it is that fear that many advertisers and marketers use to manipulate us into believing that falsehood as fact. The pervasiveness doesn’t end there; it also creeps up into our relationships to wreak havoc through jealousy and envy of those closest to us. Instead of congratulating and being filled with joy that someone we know and love has achieved success in some form, we sometimes secretly and silently harbor feelings of resentment for what we think we lack.

Rather than harboring resentment, use that energy to recognize yourself for the gifts you bring to your relationships and to the world. Even if no one else is celebrating you, celebrate yourself. There’s no rule out there saying that you can’t be genuinely impressed by your gifts, or that you can’t own them. Own your gifts! Once you start owning your gifts, you’ll naturally feel grateful for and celebrate the gifts of others. Why? Because you’ve filled your own cup first. Now that your cup is filled, you have more of that genuine love to share with others. This is the same love and joy that will help you to start recognizing your worth, which will inevitably cause you to question any and all relationships in your life that do not serve you.

Using laughter and humor as keys to self-love

"Why so serious?” - Joker

Although the scene surrounding that quote is rather, shall I say, morbid, it’s a quote that I’ve turned into something that reminds me to bring more joy and humor into my life. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “woe is me” when conflict occurs, or when someone treats you to less than what you deserve. It’s also easy to fall into the trap of drawing out those melancholic feelings for days, even weeks, without even a peep of laughter. What would you say if I told you that laughter and humor is the antidote for those dark times?

It might seem silly, but when you’re in the throes of woe, just laugh out loud a little. Smile big and then laugh some more. There’s no way you’ll be able to hold that sadness and darkness in for too much longer. In the thick of those dark times it might be very hard to find the strength to laugh alone. That’s when your friends, family, and comedy come in. Call up a friend and recall one of your more embarrassing, but humorous, moments in life, one that will leave you with tears rolling down your face and a belly ache. Let that feeling of lightheartedness consume you, and think about the possibility that this dark time, too, can become something to laugh about in the future.

When you learn to laugh at yourself, laugh at your mistakes, and laugh at how outrageous it is for someone to think they can treat you any kind of way, or even that you thought you could treat you any kind of way, you build up resilience in yourself. That resilience will create a pathway for love to be let in, like opening the curtains and letting the golden rays of sunlight into your heart.

Accepting the past

Here’s a truth you probably don’t think about often: the past no longer exists; therefore, it cannot affect you unless you choose to continue thinking about it.

Let that sink in.

One of the hardest things to do is to let go of the past. Why? Because your mind doesn’t go anywhere. It’s always connected to you, or you’re always connected to it, and it's always on. And if you’re the type to reflect, the thoughts of the past have nowhere else to go but into your mind’s VCR to rewind over and over again.

Acceptance of the past doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does come with some effort on your part, namely looking within and doing some self-discovery work. If you’re more focused on the past, it’s best to do this work with a therapist, counselor, or psychotherapist. If you’re more future oriented and want to focus on reaching goals, a life coach might be better suited for you.

The key is being able to identify when you’re unable to accept the past, and how that inability is affecting your present. Once you’re able to accept what happened in the past, let it go, and start to live in the present, you’ll be better able to let go of anything in your life that isn’t working for you or moving along a path to your highest good.

Embracing relationships that no longer serve you as lessons

When you look back to previous relationships that may not stir up loving memories in you, it’s easy to write those relationships off as failures for one reason or another, even if there were many moments of good times, or times where you learned something about yourself. Rather than writing those relationships off as painful regrets, might I suggest having a sit down with yourself and looking at your past relationships with a broader, more objective lens—one not tarnished by pain. With that holistic view, you’ll be better able to see things for what they truly are, and perhaps even find some key takeaways to consider before moving on to a new relationship. Relationships that no longer serve you don’t have to be painful memories that you file away in the back of your mind. They can be gentle lessons of what you want and what you don’t want in the future.

Forgiving yourself

Forgiving yourself can be one of the most difficult things you never knew was this hard. Most of the time, you have no awareness of just how much self-sabotage you do simply because you beat yourself up for the decisions you’ve made in your life, or for the way that others treat you. Despite how difficult it is, it’s imperative that you learn to forgive yourself, because that is where the light can begin to shine in your life. It’s easy to forget that you are the one who has to live inside of yourself for the rest of your life. There’s no escaping yourself, no matter how hard you try. If you learn to forgive yourself, you will learn to live with yourself. So many other doors open once this happens, namely the door to inner peace. Being able to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you requires that you forgive yourself for decisions that you’ve made.

Being thankful for your life

With all of the self-help resources out there, you’ve probably heard about all gratitude, maybe even more than you care to. The idea of gratitude can seem overdone, with its global pervasiveness usually lacking in the beauty of its importance. It’s easy to throw the term around randomly like a band-aid that can magically heal all wounds; however, when done correctly, it is truly an antidote for most, if not all, ills in life. You may not see it this way when you’re experiencing painful relationships and heartache, but gratitude offers you the chance to see all experiences in your life as opportunities for growth and actualization. If you can step outside of the space within you that is most painful and find at least one thing to be grateful for, you will feel a little bit lighter. Add one or two more things, and the pain will seem distant and insignificant. This kind of goes back to the change in perspective, as looking at your life from a different viewpoint offers you the ability to see the beauty in your life in new and meaningful ways.

Creating a roadmap to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you

While it might be tempting to venture onto the journey of building self-love in order to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you with only your intuition to guide you, having a roadmap would be a better idea. You can go it alone, but this would be the perfect opportunity to enlist the help of a life coach. A life coach can help you devise actionable steps that make sense for where you currently are on your journey, and they can hold space for you to explore the different possibilities for carrying out those steps. They can identify where you might experience obstacles, and a good coach will challenge your world view so that when you do encounter obstacles, you’ll have developed the inner strength to overcome them. If you do decide to go it alone, use this article to build a roadmap. There may be points that are irrelevant to you, and there may be points that aren’t listed here that you might need to keep in mind. The important thing is that you have a plan to follow which will help hold you accountable to yourself.

Following your roadmap to freedom

You’ve created your roadmap either alone or with a life coach. What now? Well, it’s time to get started moving! You’ve come so far, what with changing your perspective, bringing more humor and gratitude into your life, and forgiving yourself, amongst other things. All of these things make it possible to look at your upcoming journey with confidence and strength. As with the creation of your roadmap, involving a life coach to help guide you along your journey of walking away from a relationship that no longer serves you will only make things easier and clearer. Your life coach will be able to help you stay accountable to your goals by asking you difficult and challenging questions. Your life coach will help you to see potential roadblocks and move around them before they become real roadblocks. Your life coach will bring clarity to areas where things may have been muddy and unclear.

If you choose to go it alone, having that roadmap to guide you will help you to stay focused on the end goal by breaking it down into manageable baby steps. Because this isn’t a goal that can be measured by looking at the kinds of quantitative results as something health-related or business-related, you might be tempted to think that you aren’t making progress. Remember to take time to look back on your journey, particularly the beginning, to see how far you’ve come. Look at the changes in your thought processes and how differently you look at life compared to before. These seemingly small, but marked changes are the guideposts along your journey to freedom. Always remember how far you’ve traveled and celebrate your new ways of thinking and feeling about relationships, and most of all, the love you have for yourself.


The strength, courage and self-love required to walk away from a relationship that no longer serves you isn’t built overnight. You need to create a roadmap so you know exactly what to do step by step in case you run into obstacles. If you are able to walk away from such a relationship, there are so many things which must be in place within yourself and how you see the world before you can begin to build a healthier, more authentic, more loving and honest before starting a new relationship.



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