Joy Bryant On Loving Yourself Before Looking For Love

Life & Love | Bené Viera | 05/22/2014 | 01:46 PM EDT

The 'About Last Night' actress shares the greatest lesson she learned before marriage

After six years of marriage, Joy Bryant says there’s no science to it. But she admits that loving yourself before finding love is key.

The About Last Night actress shared with Madame Noire the greatest lesson she learned before marrying her stuntman husband Dave Pope.

I still don’t understand the whole thing [laughs]. It’s like, I don’t know if there’s a science to it, but I would say, be true to who you are. Learn about want you want and who you are, what you like and what you don’t like. Focus ultimately on what makes you happy. Your goals in life and growing as a human being. If you focus on you, when that person comes around you can actually receive that individual. I was always so thirsty for love. But when I stopped focusing and was not trying, that’s when it finds you–when you’re not trying to seek it. Focus on yourself, love yourself and know yourself. I don’t think we give ourselves enough love and understanding and compassion, which we deserve. That person will come into your life at the right time when you’re ready.

Love-- something everyone wants-- isn’t always the easiest to receive or give. This includes loving yourself. It’s often said you can’t love anyone else if you don’t love yourself, which isn’t exactly true. What is true is that it's harder to accept love or give healthy love without loving yourself first.

Joy is right. Focusing on inner love and what makes you happy will attract the right person when the timing is right. In our pursuit of love, we’re often so focused on finding it that we neglect the most important relationship we’ll have for the rest of our lives: the one with ourselves.

I wonder how many healthier habits people would bring into relationships if they loved themselves more. Or how many people would stop accepting scraps just to say they have somebody if they had their own happiness and love, instead of seeking it in an intimate partner.

Self-love is a radical act. The energy put into loving yourself will be the energy you receive in intimate relationships as well.

There’s a cute meme that says “Love you like Kanye loves Kanye.” That. Do that. Everything else will fall into place.

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(Photo: Brian Ach/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon)

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