An important thing I learned while growing up was that you can’t love someone else until you can love yourself. Many people jump into relationships when they aren’t ready, which causes an enormous amount of problems: insecurities, not enough trust, constant bickering and not thinking that you are good enough. A lot of the time, these problems come from not loving yourself enough, and not being able to believe that you are the best company you can get. When you don’t love yourself, you start to think your partner can’t either. The best way to strive in a relationship is having your own, separate amount of confidence outside of the relationship.

Throughout the years, I’ve learned that loving myself is very rewarding. The only opinion that matters, is my own. The best type of company I can have is myself. The person who can make me happiest is myself. If you’re lucky, you will have a lot of people supporting your hopes and dreams. But, at the end of the day - none of this matters unless you can rely on yourself, and be independent.

Too many people rely on their partner to carry them through life. They rely on them for basically everything and forget they can actually do things on their own. In a relationship, it’s healthy to support each other. But, it’s not healthy when someone else is your source of happiness. You need to be able to make yourself happy, as well. Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks that have made me love myself more and more each day.

Enjoy your alone time.

The best type of company you can have is yourself. Once you can be comfortable in your own skin, you will be able to love someone else. Once you are able to each lunch alone, go out to the movies alone and do things alone you will be able to build confidence. The biggest problem today is people care way too much what others think. My favorite thing to do is go to the park and read a book -- alone. Alone time opens the mind up for reflecting and relaxation.

Enjoy sleeping alone.

So many people, hate sleeping alone. Personally, after having a roommate for almost four years, it is hard to sleep alone at night, but I have adjusted. I’ve met girls in the past who have stayed in bad relationships for the fact that they hated being “lonely at night.” You need to learn to enjoy a bed to yourself. I mean, c’mon -- you can sprawl out and what is better than that?!

Start writing in a journal.

I’ve always loved writing, but writing was the reason I learned to love myself. I would write everything down. If I had a bad day, I would write it down. If I had a good day, I would write it down. If I had a frustrating day, I would write it down. Someone once told me, that if you’re ever feeling bad about yourself to write down ten things you love about yourself. If you can automatically think of ten things you love about yourself, then you’re already halfway there.

Know your worth.

Most importantly, know your worth. Know what you stand for, and know what you believe in. Do not let those things change once you get into a relationship. Continue to do the things you love, and with that will come an inner love for yourself. At this moment, you will be able to accept love from someone else.

To live is to love. Love what you do. Love the world around you. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your partner. But first, make sure to love yourself.