I am getting married this weekend. Last weekend, I married myself.As my wedding approached I was beyond excited. The details were set, the dress and jewelry laid out, and my fiancé and I were being very conscious in designing our marriage. But in a moment of panic, I suddenly felt unsure. My stomach was ill. My head spun with every reason why I should not marry this man. He’s too short. Maybe I’m not in love. Is this really how it’s supposed to feel? I was drowning and afraid. As I looked in the mirror and asked for deep wisdom, I realized that I was mired in self-doubt, fear and shame from my past, and that I could not move honestly into my future with Josh until I dealt with it.In that moment, I knew that I still hated myself for my divorce. Or perhaps more accurately, for creating the marriage that I had the first time around. I did not love my ex unconditionally. I picked fights, I played martyr and I behaved self-righteously. I acted like a dutiful wife making dinner and doing laundry and then screamed at him for not helping. I expected him to know what I wanted in every moment and then I yelled at him for not living up to my expectations. For years I have blamed him for our divorce, but in a moment I realized that deep down I blamed me for who I was in our marriage.

“You do not have to be more, have more or give more to be loved. You are lovable as is.”

The truth was that I gave myself up in my marriage. I tried to please him instead of taking care of myself. I remained quiet when I wanted something and then erupted when I didn’t get it. I let my dreams go, I sacrificed the way I wanted to live and I hid parts of me, thinking that if I just supported him, that would be enough. It wasn’t.  And if I was going to make it work this time, I would have to get things right with myself first.And so, I made the most important promise of my life. I drove to the beach where Josh and I will be married in a few days and I married myself first. I wrote out my vows, knelt to the ground in prayer, and then held my heart as I recited each vow one by one:

  • I vow to listen to my heart.
  • I vow to pursue my great purpose.
  • I vow to speak my truth.
  • I vow to let myself be loved.
  • I will adore myself, cherish my body and absolutely positively adore me.
  • I promise to fill my own cup, to tell myself every day that I love me.
  • I vow to treat myself to sweetness, yumminess and joy.
  • I will put me first above all else.
  • I am my own beloved, and my body, my soul, my mind and my heart are mine.

The truth is that very few of us really love ourselves. I see it all day long in my coaching practice. Women who hate their bodies, berate themselves for screaming at their kids, torture themselves for sleeping with a guy and then stalking him online. Women pressured into giving up what they truly want in life.Here’s what it means to love yourself: You say yes to your dreams. You say no to draining people and activities. You check with your truth before bending to someone else’s will. You listen to yourself. You forgive yourself.Now, I’m not saying to be selfish and totally inflexible. Of course, when someone you love needs you, help. But do it because you have the capacity to do it. And do it out of love, not out of fear, guilt, blame or shame.Self-love is a daily practice. It is how you show up for yourself every single day. It is choosing love at every decision point, even if it means you disappoint someone momentarily. You do not have to be more, have more or give more to be loved. You are lovable as is. I know you want to help others; I do, too. But your needs matter. If you are exhausted, dim and drained, you are no good to anyone. You need self-care. You need self-compassion. You need time for you. You do not—you cannot—sacrifice your well-being to please others.Take the vow to love yourself first.QUIZ: Find Your Attachement Style