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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places?

“You do not need to be loved at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in life is the relationship with self.” -Jo Courdert

This Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It is a special day of love and opportunity to spend time with that special someone. It is designed to show one’s love or to feel loved. Cultures around the world promote marriage and being a couple as the norm. It can be a wonderful experience. However, the undue pressure and demonstrations of disappointment exists and are put on women more than men when single, unmarried, divorced, or a widow. This teaches women to look to other people for their own happiness. Even for the strongest of women, the feelings of stress, anxiety, unhappiness, and depression can be overwhelming. It is a reminder: a) you are not in a relationship, b) in a loveless relationship, c) significant other is not around, d) regrets of past relationships, e) weakness of your current relationship, or f) how you want to take your relationship to another level.

Too many people allow themselves to be defined by “one” day out of 365 days. The measure of any relationship including with yourself should be what you do the other 364 days of the year. How can you find happiness when you feel less than in a societal norm that does not fit you at this time? True happiness is your solid sense of self! It is a feeling of independence that makes you feel good about your path and even its imperfections. There will always be emotional highs and lows in life. And you must find and accept your peace within it. Happiness is about acceptance over chasing the attachments to happiness (things, people, situations). Partners leave. People change. They get sick and they die. Accidents happen and tragedy strikes. Love may be forever, but relationships have a natural end. What do you do when your relationship with another ends? You must understand the importance of having a true and forever relationship with yourself. A shift to a healthier mindset to love yourself “right now” is your only way toward happiness.

No one is asking you to come to terms with being alone. Right partnerships are fulfilling. However, being single does not mean lonely unless you allow it to be. Do not accept or define yourself by the stigma attached to being single. When done, too often you settle for unhealthy relationships because you want to love and be loved. It is our human nature to want to belong, love, and be loved. But you look for love in all the wrong places. Know that there is nothing wrong with you because you do not have that special someone. You are that special someone! Society tends to make people feel like they are always missing something, not good enough, worthy, or capable. With relationships, it does not matter if it is shallow, abusive, neglectful, or settling if you are coupled and “chosen”.

With all of this, a challenge exists to appreciate yourself which means you must be intentional about challenging societal norms and your agreement with those norms. Experts say you cannot experience an authentic expression of romantic love without self-love. How do you demonstrate consistently your authentic love for you? It always begins with you. Set your intention by:

• Understanding how you got to your negative self-belief about not being in a love relationship.

• Celebrating that you chose you, your career, education, or personal growth and not a toxic relationship that is less than what you really want or deserve. Or celebrate the love you have had, have, and will have in your life.

• Ensuring your friendships are authentic and not judgmental.

• Not taking what others say about you personally. It is where they are on their journey and has nothing to do with you.

• Not making negative assumptions about what others think of you even if you are the only person without a date.

• Acknowledging and accepting that love comes from many forms (family, friends, co workers, volunteerism, animals) and acting on and feeling all that love.

“No one else can figure out who you are, like you can. No one else accepting you can take the place of your own acceptance. No other person on the planet seeing your magnificence will be as powerful as when you see it for yourself.” -Stacie Martin

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