I once told a fellow whom I loved that his love for me was the icing on the cake, but the love for myself was the cake itself! I was supremely happy with me as I was, and any other attention, though most welcomed, I regarded mainly as a bonus, not the main course. He was rather surprised by my statement, interpreting it that I didn't really love him, but it was actually the opposite. I was able to love him lots through loving me first.
I didn't always feel like this. My self-love has been a gradual and painful process. Loving myself as I do, I could appreciate him as a whole being with all his faults and facets and allow space for us both to develop as individuals and as a couple. If I were expecting his love to make me happy, we wouldn't really last too long because one or both of us would gradually become dependent upon the other, clinging like limpets for our happiness until the relationship becomes claustrophobic or the victim of resentment and jealousy.
Someone To Complete Us
I have noticed that too many people seeking partners tend to say that they are seeking someone to 'make' them 'laugh' or to 'make' them 'happy'. Yet every relationship should have two 100% whole people, not two halves seeking someone else to complete them! We are all seeking happiness of one kind or another. That is essential to our well being. But that vague, yet important, state of existence - happiness - which we often associate with people and material things, appears to be the bane of our lives. We never seem to have enough happiness at all. It seems to be always elusive, even when we actually possess everything we desire. But no one, or any external thing, can ever make us truly happy because happiness is not a destination which we work towards. We cannot postpone happiness until we get that new job, that new house or that new man or woman.
Happiness is a state of mind based on our sense of worth; a feeling which we generate whenever we wish according to the level of self-love we possess and the positivity in our lives. If we feel great, we are unstoppable. It takes little to make us happy because happiness becomes integral to our lives. We feel good about ourselves so we feel good about others and our world. If we feel little love for ourselves, especially when we have not been treated appreciatively, or with any value in our lives, happiness will continue to elude us. We will always feel cheated in some way - unwanted, insignificant and excluded.
Happiness is the greatest indicator that we are happy with our bodies, identities and progress. We tend to see the world as a 'challenge' as opposed to it being a 'problem'. Others can share that happiness, perhaps enhance it in some way, or even reduce it temporarily, but they cannot create or maintain it for us. Only we can do that. We have to feel happy in the first place; we have to be able to possess that happiness before someone else can share it.
That is why people who tend to be the miserable type remain like that forever, even if they feel momentarily 'happy' through an external source. Such a state is not permanent because it is not based on self love. It is generated by someone else. So when that person withdraws, the pain of rejection becomes doubly hard to bear and even confirms our 'unwanted' state. As soon as there is a problem, or the honeymoon stage is over, they slip back into the old ways of sadness or complaining because unhappy people are usually unhappy with themselves and their world. They will remain in that state forever if they do not make a serious effort to change from within and recognize the magnificent unique individuals they are.
Is your happiness dependent upon someone else's attention or behavior? On the next event or the next exciting possession? Or is that actually masking what would really make you happy?
Elaine Sihera (MsCYPRAH)
Emotional Health Adviser
"Respect and love begin with the self. If we have none, how can we give away any?"