No one can see your value as a person if you don’t value yourself first. And taking care of yourself, when done from a place of non-neediness, is what demonstrates that you value yourself.
Now, there’s a fine line between taking care of yourself for the right and wrong reasons. If you do these things I outline below in order to get others to like you, you’ve already lost (that’s needy behavior, remember?). You should take care of yourself because you genuinely want to be a healthy, intelligent, well-rounded individual for the sake of being a healthy, intelligent, well-rounded individual who values your own self-worth over what others think of you.
Think of it this way: people won’t love you until you love yourself.
So with that said, here’s a list of some of the major areas of your life you should focus on first (if you don’t already):
Taking care of your physical and mental health is the single biggest step you can take towards improving your life. It has the biggest, most enduring impact on virtually every other area of your life, including dating and relationships.3
Besides making you look better, eating right and exercising consistently simply makes you feel better on a day-to-day basis. When you feel better—when you have more energy and your mood is raised a little—it’s a lot easier to get your ass out of the house and into the world so you can engage with people genuinely and confidently. You’re also more pleasant to be around.4
And if you have any past traumas or psychological issues that need to be dealt with, do it. Talk to friends and relatives and get therapy if you need it.5 You’re ultimately the one who can help yourself the most, but it’s okay if you need a little help in this area. Get it taken care of.
Money is a major source of stress for a lot of people. It can be so stressful, in fact, that most people end up ignoring a lot of their financial problems altogether. This, in turn, leads to a vicious cycle, where ignoring your money problems only makes them worse and you end up even more stressed as time goes on.
Long-term stress like this makes you less attractive. It saps your energy, causes health issues,6 and generally makes you a dick to be around. So if this describes you, it’s time to get real about your finances.
Learn about personal finance. Cut out waste and find ways to make more money in the short and long term. Open a savings account for emergencies. Pay down debt as quickly as possible. Learn the basics of investing.
In short, get this area of your life handled so it’s not dragging you down in other areas.
To put it bluntly, no one wants to be around someone—let alone date someone—who complains about their job all the time. Look, I get it, not everyone can have their dream jobs or start a billion-dollar business tomorrow. We’re all born with varying levels of raw talent in one area or another, and sometimes our talents and passions can be turned into careers. Other times, we have to work “normal” jobs to make ends meet and pursue our talents and passions on the side.
But regardless of your current situation, there is absolutely some action you can take, right now, towards finding meaningful work that you enjoy, or at least work you don’t dread. Apply for new jobs. Go to job fairs and network with people. Take classes and develop useful skills that you enjoy. Learn how to interview better and how to negotiate better terms of employment.
If you end up at the same three or four bars with the same three or four people every weekend and then wonder why you can’t meet interesting, attractive people who you can connect with—well, just think about how backward that is for a moment.
Developing an active social life not only makes for a more fulfilling, enjoyable life, it also puts you in contact with more (and different) people, upping your chances of meeting someone you click with.
I’ll cover this more in the next section, but for now, a few ideas to get you started are things like exploring new hobbies and interests, taking an art class, signing up for martial arts or yoga, joining a community sports league, etc. Do things that get you off your ass and out interacting with people. This will pay off immensely in all areas of your life.
You’ll notice that all of these areas take quite a bit of time and effort to develop. In fact, you’ll probably never stop working on each of them to some degree, and that’s okay. The best way to get these areas of your life handled is to develop healthy, consistent habits around them.
And the point isn’t to reach some state of nirvana in your life where you have six-pack abs, a bazillion dollars, and a packed social schedule with thousands of friends and then, FINALLY, you’ll suddenly find true love. The point is to just always be working towards being the best version of yourself you can be at any given time.