If you look around you, it’s easy to see everybody attaching his or her own meaning to the word "love."
Some people don’t feel loved unless they’ve seen some sort of thoughtful action from someone else.
Some need to hear empathetic words, while others only feel loved through revealing deeper truths about themselves.
And then there are those who wish to be whisked away on a romantic vacay, be pampered and treated like a King or a Queen.
But here's the problem...
99% Of People Don't KNOW What They WANT!
Trust me, I've been there myself.
There was a time when I struggled in relationships.
No matter how hard I tried, no matter how much I showed love for my significant other, something felt missing. I just wasn’t authentically connecting to him and vice versa.
Something always felt unfulfilled.
Our "needs" weren't being met because we didn't fully understand what our needs were.
It was only when I realized that the love and deeper connection I wanted to have was actually something I can experience on my own that I had a shift in the love experience!
I realized the cold hard truth about having and making that ‘perfect relationship’ was just an illusion.
Where Did The Illusion Come From?
People are always looking for love and so they formulate an "appearance" of love in their minds. But how can you find what you don't recognize?
When I recognized that the love that I desired could only come from within me, was when I stopped searching for the "one" who would bring me love.
I woke up and saw how I had been wrapped up in the illusion of finding ‘true love’ instead of creating a love that was authentic within myself first.
How did I identify the illusion?
Because when I looked within myself and faced it I could see the root of the illusion, where this illusion came from. I realized that when we are born, the first thing we see is our parents and the happy relationship that they try to present to the world, the ideal relationship that they are striving to achieve.
And then we see our other family members and teachers around us doing the same. I recognized that I had grown up with this built-in idea of what a relationship should be. But there always appeared to be a contrast in the relationships I saw.
For example, we celebrate "Love Days" because we ‘should’; we ‘must’ have a Valentine’s Day date - just because everybody else does.
When, in reality, the only thing you SHOULD do is love yourself first!
Here's a good place to begin:
Tip #1: Love Is A State Of Being, So BE In A State Of Love
It has been said that if you do not truly love yourself, you cannot really love another.
It's about learning to give love to yourself, even when it's difficult, and receiving love even when you rather push it away.
Sometimes loving ourselves looks like doing the things we know we can do to make our lives better - even when it’s uncomfortable.
For example, when I first started to question the validity of my own illusions about finding the ‘perfect’ love, I realized that my search was an endeavor to fulfill a void within. I was lonely.
So how do you truly fill that void of loneliness?
By demonstrating love, not just showing it.
Tip #2: Demonstrating Love Means Creating Love
Unlike simply "showing" love to someone, demonstrating love means you are opening up to love. Opening up to love can sometimes result in opening up to pain, as in feeling the pain of what another feels through empathy.
We must love, even when it hurts.
First accept how you feel and that it’s okay to feel that way. It’s just a feeling. Don’t judge it.
Feelings come and go through an open heart. Really feel what the loneliness is about and be fully present with it. You’ll discover new things you could have never seen before. This discovery will lead to wisdom through an expanded perspective.
Acknowledge that you deserve to be loved because you are worthy and the better you love yourself the better you teach others how to love and treat you.
When you do this, something amazing happens.
You realize that you don’t need anything outside yourself in order to be happy.
You realize that loneliness, or that void, was nothing but a part of you, which you previously didn’t want to see as it was too painful.
When we are able to connect these pieces together we understand what LOVE TRULY IS and thus we magnetically attract it because we ARE IT.
Put simply... loves awareness and acceptance allows the void to dissolve. Like a light shining in the darkness, awareness is the key.
Tip #3: You Are Never Truly Alone When You Love Yourself
This is so true! If you are feeling lonely when you are alone, maybe it’s because you don’t like who you are with.
But you are never really alone, because you have yourself! Embracing this time can be an amazing opportunity for personal development and growth.
It is something that I myself have been connecting to for the past two years from a place of awareness. I used to say, I just don’t like being alone, but now I see the alone time as an opportunity to reflect internally on how I feel, what I want in my life and where I am going.
It gives me the chance to give to myself that much needed self-care I now accept that I deserve and am worthy of.
It’s showing me how to stop holding back in life and the importance of releasing the things that are no longer healthy or serving me.
If you are currently single, keep in mind this can be a good thing. This time is the perfect chance you’ll ever have to love yourself the way you deserve to be loved.
Tips And Tricks For Loving Yourself
Write It Down
Make a list of everything you would like to start doing for yourself.
Maybe it’s a morning meditation, daily smoothie, juicing, running, biking, yoga, eating healthier, hiking, exploring, reading, painting, or writing - whatever it may be, use this as an opportunity to get started!
Keep a journal and document how it felt to finally do the things that you have wanted to do for yourself.
Be creative. This is where you take priority in taking care of yourself and doing the little things that make you feel good from the inside out.
You may be surprised by how good it can feel to put yourself first, and hopefully it will inspire you to continue doing so in the future, when appropriate. Today can be the beginning of an incredible relationship with yourself, if you allow it.
Notice Your Body Language
This is a simple observation that doesn’t require any effort.
Your muscles always show you how you feel inside (beyond your mind) as you go about your day. So, at least 2 or 3 times a day, simply notice how you’re sitting, standing, walking, or interacting.
Then shift your body language to something that says you feel good, loving and worthy about yourself. But do it ever so softly and gently. When we slow down we can be fiercely strong and gentle at the same time.
Check In With You
If you simply check in with your inner state consistently, you will start to shape your brain wiring for a more healthy sense of love - thus you will be able to be loved deeper by someone else!
(Note: Again, the first relationship you have is with yourself. This is where ALL your other relationships stem from.)
Depending on how healthy your relationship is with yourself, how much you love yourself, how much integrity and worth you embody (through your actions) and how aligned you are to your inner truth, will be how healthy your relationships are with others.
Remember there is a huge difference between true love and transactional love.
When we exist AS love, it's through our perceptions and actions - including how we see ourselves - and we completely invite love into our lives.
When we treat love like a transaction, it comes down to love being something you must earn. Basically in transactional love we "use" objects, attachments, labels and purchases to convey our love, but it comes from a conditional place. As a result we feel at the heart something is missing in the relationship and things may seem disconnected with our partner in ways.
Receiving "things" may make you happy for a while, but nothing fills your heart like when someone shows you love through their very being. Someone who understands you, sees you, hears you...
Someone who notices the small things about you. Loves you and has your back even when times are difficult. Love that shows up even in the dark and shines the light on the already existing, yet unseen WHOLE.
This is true love.
So don't measure your worth based on if you are single or in a relationship.
Let every day be an opportunity for you to learn how to be loved bigger and better through embodying love yourself, in bigger and better ways.
There is nothing more powerful than the act of love through the state of being love.
Loving someone in the highest sense means to have an unselfish and compassionate concern towards your own highest good too. In this you can fully demonstrate and embody love in its truest sense.
We must love (and receive love) from a cup that is full, not empty. We must fill our own cup rather than depending on someone else to fill it.
Today and all days.... please remember YOU have the power to love. Starting with yourself.
I am Denika Carothers, Life Coach, author, healer and Mental and Emotional Wellness specialist. I help my clients transcend the pain and trauma of rejection, grief, abandonment, loss and abuse.