As an adult, the best time to strengthen or develop self-love is when you are unattached and alone. This is because when you are in this situation you have few distractions, more alone time, and most importantly, no lover to prop up your self-love.
Many times when a romantic relationship ends, we may feel little or no self-love. If this is true for you then you were lacking true self-love before you got involved. This is not good. You will always start a relationship from a weak position and you will always be vulnerable to a serious emotional crash if you break up.
I struggled with this in several of my early long-term, committed relationships. When a breakup happened I would be devastated. It wasn’t until I developed love for myself that I became confident in my ability to handle any possible unpleasant outcomes. I no longer felt insecure or vulnerable because I knew I could easily move on with little impact on my self-love and self-esteem.
While we are in a romantic relationship it is easy to fall into a pattern of “expecting” to be loved and have your needs fulfilled by your partner. The relationship can also distract you from the important business of developing self-love and self-needs fulfillment.
The needs that you should fulfill yourself are different from the ones you get from a loving and supportive partner. What they do should be icing on the cake and not the cake itself. You make the cake.
Some people never achieve authentic self-love and self-needs fulfillment because they have never grown past the emotional void when they are between relationships. They just desperately go for the next person that comes along to refill the bleeding holes. And being in that state of mind they overlook incompatibilities and serious character flaws in their new partner.
The secret is to hold on and grow past the void, feelings of loneliness, and inadequacy to a place of fulfillment, contentment, self-confidence, and finally self-love.