Posted by: silverliningsblog | January 30, 2020

Looking for love in all the right places

I’ve spent a lot of my life “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces…

–Johnny Lee

As a young girl, I didn’t feel understood, loved or even liked by my family of origin. There wasn’t a lot of affirmation and support going on…instead, there was a lot of harsh judgments and criticism. As a result, I didn’t have a good sense of my strengths, and didn’t feel particularly lovable.

So like many women, I bought into the promise of the Cinderella story, and thought I just needed to find a man to love me…and then I would feel loved.

And I did find a wonderful man when I was just shy of 20…and he did make me feel loved. Until just after our engagement, he suddenly fell ill with cancer and quickly passed away. The source of my love was gone, and suddenly I felt unlovable again.

So I searched for a new source. Someone else who would make me feel deserving of love and attention. I’d find one, and that would work for a while, until the relationship ended, and then I was back to square one. And on and on it went…

Somewhere along the way, a friend of mine asked me, “Do you love yourself?” And I remember getting choked up, knowing the real answer was “No.” I didn’t really love who I was…I was looking for love outside of me, instead of inside of me.

Why we yearn for love

It’s normal to want love and affection…human beings are wired for connection, so it’s a core part of our make-up to want to be surrounded by loving people.

But when we yearn for love, it’s usually because we did not have our need for love, affection and affirmation consistently met as children. Maybe one parent died or left. Maybe our parents got divorced. Maybe our parents were physically there, but were alcoholics, abusive or neglectful.

Whatever the reason, when our emotional needs are not met in childhood, it creates a strong desire in our psyche to receive the love we deserve. And so we spend the rest of our life chasing after and clinging to anyone who shows us even an inkling of love and affection. Even if they are less than what we really want, we settle, thinking that some love is better than no love.

But is it really?

By the time we reach mid-life, most of us have discovered that having an unhealthy or toxic relationship is not better than being alone. And yet we fear being alone, so we cling to what we know, even if it’s not good for us. Better the devil you know, as they say…

So how do we break free from this vicious cycle?

Where love comes from

When we look at love as something to get from others, we miss the very important truth that all emotion – love or otherwise – comes from within us. Sure, someone can be the object of our attention (and therefore, we think they are “making us” feel loved), but our thinking about that person and the emotions we are feeling come from within.

So does it take another person to feel the emotion of love? The answer is no.

No one can make you feel anything, including loved. And therefore no one can take love away from you. Only your own thinking about a person or situation can do that.

Try this experiment…close your eyes and think of someone you feel pure, healthy love for. Can you feel the emotion in your body? Where do you feel it…in your chest area? What about if you think about something you love about your life, or about yourself…can you feel the emotion of love?

When you open your eyes, you’ll see there is no one here…it’s just you. So where did that feeling come from? Did someone give it to you? No, you created it yourself…you generated it with your own thoughts! And if you did it once, you can do it again, and again and again.

This is a powerful realization…because when you become a creator of love, instead of a consumer of love, you become the source of love…a source that is reliable and never-ending. A source that can’t be taken from you…even if someone dies or leaves.

Loving others

So is it wrong to want someone to love? Of course not. But what we’ve been calling “love” isn’t healthy love. It’s a clingy, addictive kind of love that comes from a place of lack…of fearing there isn’t enough to go around.

Real love is an over-flowing feeling of having more than enough to share. It’s a giving energy (not a taking energy) that comes from a place of abundance…a place of knowing there is more where that came from!

You see, we’ve been getting this love thing wrong for millennia. We have believed that we need to find someone to love us in order to feel loved…and that simply is not true. What we need to do is learn how to create love within ourselves, and give it to ourselves first, then share it with others.

Trying to find someone to love you in order to feel loved is coming from a place of lack. Finding love within you and then sharing with another comes from a place of abundance.

But how do you do this if your needs weren’t met in childhood, and you don’t feel lovable?

Loving yourself

The answer is to learn how to love yourself first.

I used to hate this answer…what on earth does it mean to “love yourself” anyway?

In its simplest form, loving yourself means re-parenting yourself…giving to yourself the things you wished your parents did. It means treating the little girl inside you with the same care and compassion you would offer your own child (or a niece/nephew/student in your care).

It means listening to your own body, and respecting your own limits. Giving yourself the nourishment and rest you need. Affirming for yourself what is good about you. Encouraging yourself to take risks and try new things. Offering yourself care and compassion when you’re struggling. In essence, it means being your own best friend.

It may sound corny to “love yourself,” but this really is the path to personal freedom, and to success in relationships. It puts you in a place where you can really love someone else, without requiring them to make you happy (because you already know how to do this for yourself).

Loving yourself is the best gift you can give to yourself, your kids, your friends, your partner…because when you truly love, accept and nurture yourself, love and joy will naturally flow out of you, and everyone around you will benefit from your positive energy.

More on this topic…

If you’d like to learn more about how to love yourself, I invite you to attend my FREE online masterclass on February 12, called Fall Madly in Love with You.

And if you’re feeling lonely and want to connect with other single women, you can join my free Empowered Single Women Facebook group, where we share ideas on how to love life as a single person and attract real love.

**************

Karen Strang Allen is a love and empowerment coach for single women. She is the author of Free to be me: Create a life you love from the inside out! and international bestselling co-author of Unwavering Strength Volume 2. Karen’s mission is to help single women feel great about who they are and create a life they love so they attract (and keep) their dream partner. Learn more about Karen and check out her free empowering resources and workshops at www.karenstrangallen.com.


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