If you think this isn’t true, look at your cat or dog and see how they react when you come home, when you talk to them, pet them, spend time with them and tell me that they don’t appreciate love much the same way that humans do.
Valentine’s Day has long been celebrated by me first and foremost as my father’s birthday. For others it’s a day in the United States where we are constantly reminded that “Every Kiss Begins With Kay” or are told to buy chocolates, lingerie, take our significant other out to dinner, etc. It’s like we all need reminders that it’s okay to tell others that we love them or worse yet that without the reminders that love won’t be expressed.
When did LOVE become something that we needed a reminder for??
What exactly IS love, how does one define it… how does one “know”?
There are many definitions of love online but here is one my favorites, succinct and to the point:
love: to give everything you have…and not expect anything in return — urbandictionary.com
So many of us want love SO badly we blindly search for it, stumbling in the dark. It’s no wonder that so many of us knock over lamps and tables in the middle of the night when looking for it. We have to stub our toes over and over again until finally we learn to turn the light on… until we can finally see the path to success.
I’ve been guilty of doing this.
YOU’ve probably done it.
You might be doing it right now.
The simple fact is that love isn’t something you can order up by going to the cashier and checking out at a store. Love isn’t casting for a play, and love isn’t something that magically materializes from any amount of wishing, hoping, or prayer.
We wish it were easier, we wish it was something that could be bought or if we just tried harder it would transpire, but alas this isn’t how love works. This isn’t how we ultimately find a healthy, fulfilling romantic love that can make a good life GREAT.
In past times when I used to focus more on these matters and ask questions like “what am I doing wrong” or “what do others have that I don’t” I never found the answers I was looking for. I always came to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with me and that either it was just a matter of luck or the world hated me or some other excuse that I would come up with. Finally after many hardships in and out of relationships, many ups and downs, moments of reflection, discussion, analyzing, thinking, and listening I finally had the wisdom to understand how you romantically love another and how another romantically loves you in return.
You have to love YOURSELF first.
This sounds like such a simple concept but when one reflects on this deeply it is nowhere near as simple as it seems. So many times in life we THINK we love ourselves but in actuality we don’t love ourselves 100%, 50%, perhaps even 10% of the time.
Look in the mirror, do you like what you see? Who do you think is responsible for YOUR own thoughts about what YOU don’t like?
Is it HER fault?
If you are in a relationship are you with someone that doesn’t give YOU what you deserve? Are you with someone abusive (mental, verbal, physical)? Who is ultimately responsible for your ongoing relationship with this person?
Is it HIS fault?
Analyze the friends and family members that you spend time with. Are they all worth your time? Are there ones that you spend time with out of pure obligation? Who is responsible for any unhappiness or emptiness that you feel?
The answers to these rhetorical? questions all have a commonality… YOU.
Loving yourself first isn’t easy. We want to cover up pains, disappointments, harsh realities with any number of bandages and balms. Whether it’s chemical in the form of alcohol and drugs or a relationship that is lacking or (fill in the blank).
Loving yourself first requires one to look into the abyss and stare even longer and harder than is comfortable before they are ready to move forward in life.
The key is to keep staring until you are ready.
The simple fact of the matter is how can one ever expect to love someone else and vice versa be LOVED by someone else without first being comfortable with themselves, without loving THEMSELVES first?
Taking this beyond the topic of romantic love, loving yourself first is one of the most important lessons to learn as relates to overall happiness, success… everything. Until you love YOU, you can’t be all that YOU can be in life.
“The way you feel about yourself defines everything you are and everything you ever can be” — Tom Leykis, radio talk show host
If you are currently in a bad relationship, YOU can never make it better by sheer force of will.
If you are currently single and feeling bad for yourself, no amount of pity parties or looking for sympathy is ever going to make things “right”.
If you are currently unattached and masking your loneliness with self-destructive behaviors instead of learning to love you for YOU, you will be waiting a long time.
Trust me, I tried these “solutions” and they don’t work.
And they never will.
When I stopped dating someone long ago that wasn’t right for me I said to myself “it’s better to be alone than to be in the wrong relationship”. Wise words uttered by yours truly, but instead of taking the time to learn to love myself I ended up in another relationship before I was ready which caused a domino effect of other tough moments in life, many that I could have avoided. While it is true that these dominoes falling made me the person that I am today, not everyone needs to stumble the ways and number of times that I did.
Love has to come from within, the person that deserves our love and to be loved first is YOU. When you love yourself, respect yourself, and believe in yourself 100% then and ONLY then can you possibly be ready to love another and receive the romantic love of another individual. Loneliness hurts but the worst loneliness comes from when you are unable or unwilling to spend time with the person that logically should be the easiest one to spend time with…