Finding True Love: Self-Love as a Path to Fulfilling Relationships

By Nirmala Raniga

Remember, in our inmost being, we are all completely lovable because spirit is love. Beyond what anyone can make you think or feel about yourself, your unconditioned spirit stands, shining with a love nothing can tarnish.” – Deepak Chopra

Our most innate need is to love and be loved. We are born into this world with a pure expectation of unconditional love but regrettably this is not the experience for most of us. It is only through experiences where love is withheld from us that we begin to question whether or not we are worthy of love.

Early in life, we learn that love will be withheld from us, whether well intentioned our not, by those who are closest to us. Loved ones can wound us in this way because of the impact of past pain inflicted on them and/or as a form of control where love is used as a reward. Such behavior causes us to believe that in order to receive love, we must act a certain way.

Because of those hurts and wounds, over time, we can believe that we are flawed and consequently not deserving of love. An inadvertent side effect of this belief is to judge ourselves for perceived flaws, withholding unconditional self-love, which causes us to feel incomplete.

If we look to our relationships to complete us and fulfill our unmet needs for happiness and love, then they often result in disappointment. And, if we believe that the person we are in a relationship with is responsible for making us happy and whole, then we create an unhealthy expectation that is impossible to meet.

Our sense of lack can cause us to feel fear whenever our partner is not satisfying our expectations for attention, affection, and love. This causes suffering and co-dependency. Such insecurity also causes us to act with jealousy, neediness, and/or constant approval seeking. When this behavior becomes compulsive, obsessive, and destructive, it manifests as an addiction.

The problem is that we look outside for love and approval, but our relationships reflect back to us what we think and feel about ourselves on the inside. When we are attracted to a person, what we are actually drawn to are the traits that we feel we lack and the characteristics we want more of. However, in order to fulfill our unmet needs for worthiness and love, we must love ourselves fully.

What we really seek is to reconnect with that unconditional love lying deep within the heart of our being. To find true love, we must look inward and reclaim our own self-love.

Stepping Stones on the Path to True Love:

  • Let go of the past. Feeling unworthy and unlovable are illusions of our conditioned minds. What we see as our flaws are just hurts and wounds of the past. We must come to know that we deserve to be happy and fully loved.
  • Be comfortable with our weaknesses. Every person has positive and negative qualities. Weaknesses make us complete. Instead of using them against us, we need to recognize how they can help us grow and empathize with others.
  • Love ourselves exactly as we are. By loving and embracing our authentic selves, we will attract people who love us for who we are. We can say to ourselves, “I’m a beautiful person. I’m a loving person. I love myself just as I am.”
  • Stop looking for the right person; become the right person. All relationships are mirrors . When we fall in love with someone, we can write down what we admire about him or her and express those traits in ourselves. This way we will not be using that individual to complete our needs, but rather as an inspiration.
  • Don’t ask for more love; be in love. Love is a state of awareness where we are connected to our spirit. When we express unrestrained, unconditional love for others and ourselves, we light up the world around us. The more we put our attention on love, the more expansive it will become.