One of the major causes of relationship problems is self-abandonment. We’ve all done it or have seen our friends do it. We fall into the spend-every-minute-you-can-with-them beginnings of a relationship (what I call the La La Land Stage in love). You can’t imagine life without your partner. In fact, you won’t even consider it.

When you abandon yourself, you let go of your self-interests and desires. Time with your friends begins to drift away. Your gym membership suddenly is gathering dust, you begin to drink more because he’s a drinker, or you become a vegan because they are. You begin to believe that you need one another rather than enrich and assist each other. You fall into the trap of making your partner your ALL – spouse, friend, counselor, job coach, mother, father, accountant, etc.

We think that by accommodating the other person’s every need we will make ourselves mold perfectly into their lives, become indispensible. Sometimes our partner isn’t even asking us to, we do it willingly, unknowingly out of fear. The word compromise now means – compromise who I am.

The bottom line is none of it is healthy.

So, why do we lose ourselves to love? Maybe you believe that you won’t be able to take care of yourself without that person. As if you are nothing without them. That loving yourself is a crime. Or, you feel like you will never find anyone as good as them so you hold on with white knuckles. Even worse, some of us were not shown love from our parents when we were young. How are you supposed to love the you that nobody loves?

So, now what? The bad news is, when we don’t love ourselves, we lose ourselves. However, the good news is that sometimes we have to lose ourselves to find ourselves. Sometimes we have to hit a bottom to have a break through.

Here’s a good rule of thumb, don’t sacrifice yourself in a relationship – ever. When you make the decision to love yourself first, rather than last, you will begin to experience more loving relationships. No matter how cliché it sounds, it is true – you must love yourself before you can love someone else. Remember that love is not a feeling, it is a choice! Make the choice to love yourself and the feeling will come.

Loving yourself will create love in your life. Here are some steps you can do to boost your self-love and shift your relationship with yourself.

• Take your power back.

• Begin to know, appreciate and love who you are.

• Hug yourself.

• Nurture your gifts and talents.

• Begin to work on yourself for yourself, not for anyone else.

• Forgive yourself. All of us make mistakes; so don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes.

• Make the changes within to guide you to your best self.

• Reestablish your friendships and make amends to those you have abandoned.

• Do one thing a day, to change yourself into the person you want to become.

Happiness and love is inside of you, not something or someone on the outside.

“I am the one I have been looking for.”

Iyanla Vanzant