The plaintive question, “When will I be loved” takes up a lot of our time. When we are loved, the anxiety of whether or not it will last and when it doesn't, the fear that we will never find a lasting love can become overwhelming. It is a question that has been asked in countless ways. Cher asks, "Do You Believe in Life After Love?" The Bee Gees asked "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" It all boils down to how you survive when love leaves you alone. It's may seem daunting, but it's doable.
Before you can have a positive relationship with anyone else, you must accept that your happiness doesn't depend on anyone but you. You must come to terms with the idea that each of us (including you) is worthy of being loved, beautiful beyond exception, and that all of us do fit somewhere in the grand scheme of life.
Abandon the fallacy that you need a partner in your life in order to be happy. Love isn’t about what you get from another person, it’s about what you give. While it is about finding someone who wants to share your life with you, it is equally important that you want to share your life with them. A loving relationship is really about two people agreeing to turn the “M” in me upside down.
“There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well, you must treat me well, and the world must be easy.” Albert Ellis
When you begin loving yourself, you’ll find it much easier to recognize lovable qualities in those around you and see their worth and beauty. Once you realize that, when someone comes along who does want to share their life with you, you will be able to welcome the idea that a loving relationship is one of life’s bonuses, not a path to survival.
In order to build a happy sustainable relationship, you must have happiness to add to the equation. Focus on finding happiness in the different areas of your life. Happiness isn't inborn. We build happiness through the conscious choices we make over the course of our lives. Begin building happiness with small, successful babysteps. Start by doing something that, when it’s finished, you can step back and say, “I did good. I've accomplished something positive.”
Practice finding happiness by doing something to make another person's life easier. For example:
- Clean your pantry and give some of your unused groceries to a food shelf.
- Clean your closet. If you haven't worn something for awhile, give it to the Good Will, the Salvation Army or another charity.
- Give that old pillow, bedspread, or blanket to a homeless shelter.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
Be satisfied and take pride in every accomplishent, no matter how small. Those baby steps are the building blocks of happiness.
Before you know it, you’ll forget about yourself and start being known as a person who supports the world rather than a person whom the world supports. Most importantly, you will learn that you are able to support yourself, that you have value to offer, that you are worthy to be loved by others, and worthy to love yourself. Then you will be ready to love someone else and accept the love they have to give you.