How many times has someone told you that you can’t love someone else until you learn to love yourself? No matter how often we hear it, many of us keep striving to find happiness in relationships before we’ve learned how to find happiness in our own hearts.
The pressure we place on our partners to ‘make us happy’ or to ‘fill the void in our life’ is often the reason our relationships buckle. Likewise, many of us hold onto unhealthy relationships because we fear being unhappy on our own.
Self-care is never a selfish act — it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. – Parker Palmer
The following is a Facebook note written by Yvonne Smith that inspires us to take responsibility for our own happiness and find completion within, nurturing a sense of inner joy that doesn’t require anybody but ourselves.
Taking Charge of My Own Happiness
“If someone said to you, ‘I’m miserable in this relationship and I need to leave so that I can be happy,’ would you still want them to stay? I’m fascinated by those who will do anything they can to hold on to someone who is clearly no longer present for them.
I’ve been friends with myself for a long time. Really, as long as I can remember. I’m an only child and I’ve always been comfortable being in my own space. I haven’t had a roommate since college and even then, it was a challenge for me to always have people around.
I can definitely live with a romantic partner (in fact I really enjoy that), but for the last seven years I have been alone most of the time, even when I was dating someone.
I’ve been thinking about the choice to be happy. I am responsible for my own happiness. Let me say that again. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN HAPPINESS. So many people are looking for completion through someone else. They think that if they just had a romantic partner, they would be happy.
It’s possible that they would for a while, but the problem with allowing another to be responsible for your happiness is that ultimately, that person will disappoint you. C.S. Lewis is credited with saying, “Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose” and I have to agree with him there.
If you are happy, you can give happiness. If you don’t love yourself and if you are unhappy with yourself, you can’t give anything else but that. – Gisele Bundchen
I am in a relationship with myself and there are some great things about that. I’m not going anywhere. I am in control over how I treat myself. I can decide if I want to spend an evening inside recharging or lending an ear to a friend in need. I cook myself great food and take myself to the gym.
I give myself pedicures and go see movies. If I get upset with myself over being lazy or inconsiderate, I get to decide if I need to make the steps to change. I laugh at my own jokes because I think I’m funny. I sing in my house and only annoy my cat.
Being True to Myself
I think we have all settled for relationships with others who didn’t appreciate or even deserve us. I know I have, but I bless those relationships for teaching me things I needed to learn about myself and know that they too have learned valuable lessons. I hope that with my knowledge now, I won’t settle again, but if I do, I get to work on forgiving myself.
I would be lying if I said I never get lonely. I definitely do, but at this point in my life, I would rather be lonely by myself than lonely in a relationship with another. I know a lot of people who fit into the latter category.
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. – Lucille Ball
People stay in relationships out of fear of being alone all the time. I’ve been there, but I feel that when you can walk away, knowing that you’ll be okay, it’s better than staying around, being sad and feeling stuck. What good are you to anyone else if you’re not being true to yourself?
Instead of looking for completion through someone else, I am looking forward to having a partner, a co-creator, a whole person to complement my wholeness, my strengths and weaknesses. In the meantime, I will continue to work on taking responsibility for my actions and for my joy.”