You love yourself by not fighting for the wrong person. The person who makes you feel like you have to inspire them to do the work to be ready. Because you know that you shouldn’t and can’t make anyone choose you, no matter how much they might love you. You know that at the end, that love will turn toxic and you will begin to abandon yourself in the effort to keep the relationship. Don't let any relationship make you fall out of love with yourself.
You love yourself by choosing someone who has done the work to be ready. You don’t need someone who is perfect - but instead someone who is wrong for you in just the right way. Because you yourself have your own demons, your own wrongness. You don’t fall in love with yourself by being perfect - you love yourself by first facing the demons in our own head, only then can you love someone in the moments when they are not easy to love.
You love yourself by choosing someone who loves you through effort. Execution. Someone who understands what satisfaction looks like, sounds like, feels like. Deleting Tinder off their phone after an incredible first date with you. Not having one foot out the door, because they know that outside that door is a mirage of options and a temporarily satisfaction at best.
You love yourself by being with someone who knows romance is still there, but not the cliché romance, some grand gesture he saw in a movie. But the small things that add up to be everything: surprising you with a bottle of wine for your girl’s night, taking care of something for you when you’re stressed. Surprising you with letters and romantic gestures that are unique to your definition of romance. There is nothing more amazing than receiving a small gift in the mail that’s an inside joke or something that he knows will make you melt, with the message “just because..”
You love yourself by waiting for the kind of person that deserves you - the kind of person that will plan ahead for you, inspire you, taking the time to make things special. The kind of person that makes you feel alive, loved, and not like an option, touching you mindlessly while the two of you watch a movie - and you know that he’s holding you tight not because he wants to hold someone but because touching you is second nature.
You love yourself by choosing someone who you don’t just “hang out” with, but someone you play with, go on adventures with, someone you can be your weirdest self with, who awakens something in you that inspires you to live more. Laugh louder. Someone who’s your best friend. Someone who puts you first.
You love yourself by choosing a love that caters to your need for passion rather than attention, choosing someone that makes you feel that dating you is just the start of their liberty, not the end of it, not some obligation. Someone who loves you just as much when you’re not there. You don't realize it, but by not settling, by striving to find extraordinary love, you are open to all that life has to offer, and consequently all that love has to offer. This is how you need to love yourself.