The Search for Love
We spend our lives in search of love. We search for that perfect someone who will love us for who we are, who will accept our shortcomings, who will forgive us when we become unlovable, and who will be with us through our journey in life.
It starts very early in our development; when we discover we have our own identity. We seek approval in our mother’s eyes or through a nod from dad. And as we develop relationships outside of the family, we continue that search for love. We try to read into the faces of teachers, friends, and other relatives: “Do they approve of me?” “Did I do well?” “Do they love me?” If we’re fortunate to have had a good start in life (meaning that there were very few upsets that affected our self-esteem) we end up feeling pretty good about who we are; we know we’re loved.
However, if we have had a difficult childhood, or if we experienced difficult relationships, we may end up questioning our worthiness. Some people will seek evidence that they are “love worthy” by doing things for or giving in to other people (becoming a “people pleaser”) while ignoring their own needs. This is a slippery slope because we cannot control the behavior of others, and this need for approval often leads individuals to stay in unhealthy, co-dependent relationships. Sometimes, the opposite occurs. Some people who believe that they are “unworthy” will build a case against themselves. Consciously or subconsciously, they can attract relationships that are abusive. They use criticism or negative comments from other people as proof of their unworthiness to be loved.
The Importance of Acceptance
What’s love got to do with your personal happiness? Everything! What’s love got to do with your health? Everything! What’s love got to do with your success in life? Everything! Regardless of your background or life experience, it’s never too late to find love. And, it starts with you. Before you go searching for it from someone else, it is vitally important that you look at the person in the mirror and see your Self as someone worthy of love.
Let’s start asking our Self if we love us for who we are – right now, today. Not who we hope to become. Do we give our Self unconditional love? Do we accept our shortcomings, or do we beat ourselves up when we don’t live up to our expectations? And are our expectations realistic? Are we our worst critic or our best friend? Do we nag at our small imperfections, or are we our very own best cheerleader?
If we believe that we’re not worthy of our own love and respect, how can we expect it from anyone else? If you do not approve of your Self, it is difficult to believe that someone else would give you approval. There is always that nagging belief that if they really knew you, you wouldn’t get their approval! And, then there is that judgment on why they accept you when you don’t know how to accept yourself! All of this creates much unhappiness and inner turmoil. And the remedy is simple. You love your Self.
The Importance of Loving Yourself
On this Valentine’s Day, give your Self a Valentine. Create it from a new perspective on who you believe yourself to be. You are a precious gift to be treasured. And once you realize how magnificent you are and begin honoring that person reflected in the mirror, you will begin to experience love.
This isn’t about being narcissistic, selfish, or demanding. It is the simple acceptance of Self which makes it easier to accept Others. We cannot give to Others what we don’t have.
Starting now – Imagine that someone is going to fall in love with you today. Feel the excitement! Know that there is someone who sees you and thinks you’re really terrific! This person admires your strength and courage, your sense of purpose, your willingness to help others, your talents and, your gifts. This person has seen you when you’ve been down, in the struggle, and has witnessed you climb out of the darkness and into the light. This person loves you so much and often wonders why you don’t see how wonderful you really are and why you are often your harshest critic. This person wants only the best for you. This person wants you to enjoy the life you have and relish your life journey. Imagine that perfect Someone who loves you unconditionally, who is always there for you and, who will never abandon you. Imagine Someone who listens to you and honors your wise wisdom. Let that person be you!
As you imagined this person, how did you feel? How does it feel to be loved? If you want more love in your life, then follow this exercise. Every day when you wake up in the morning, imagine receiving love and acceptance. When you take your shower or bath, appreciate your body. No judgments! When you look in the mirror, remember that this person is special and needs love and attention. Make a conscious effort to be kind to your Self today. Be patient. Be forgiving. Be generous. Be grateful to be you. Today, give your Self the gift of love.
At the end of this day, and all the rest of your days, list 3 things that you acknowledge about your Self before you go to bed. Examples could be: You ate healthily, you kept an appointment, you were on time, you did the laundry, or you helped a friend. We often think of people we’re grateful for and seldom give ourselves any recognition. Rather than expect it from Others, expect it from your Self. It starts with you. It’s never too late to feel the love – for your Self!
What’s love got to do with it? EVERYTHING! And it starts with loving your Self!