Once when I was dating and had a break-up I wrote about it on a dating site and got an interesting email from a guy wanting to know how I can seem so confident and cool in the face of it. As he said, if he “had been with someone for four months, and then had to walk away” he would be “devastated”. I thought I would expand on my response and share it publicly, because it is a very important question, in view of all the recurrent heartbreaks.
This was part of my response:
“I wouldn’t be devastated, because the main reason people get hurt, especially after short relationships, is because they don’t love themselves enough. They expect the other person to love them instead, and end up putting that person above themselves. Sadly, when the person walks away they are even more hurt, because, having no internal source of love, the only source would have left them alone, confirming the low unworthy feelings they already have about themselves.”
I am human, too, and do feel naturally upset after any break-up. However, it doesn’t last for long. As I tend to be very expressive, I am also very trusting. I fall deeply and I love equally passionately, which make me even more vulnerable to being hurt. Yet break-ups hardly affect me emotionally, no matter how much I love the person. It got me thinking why I don’t suffer the usual angst of people who are really hurt by it, and I gradually worked it out.
What most people probably don’t realise is that every relationship has three crucial elements at the heart of it:
1. Self Love
2. The capacity to love another
3. The desire to be loved
Most people go into relationships armed with just the desire to be loved. That’s the easy bit. But what is even more important is to have the other two elements, which are often missing. In fact, the most important aspect of a relationship is SELF-LOVE (which acts as a protective barrier to pain). But loving the self unconditionally, without expecting perfection, is not an easy thing to do after a history of not being valued or affirmed by the people who matter in our lives, like parents and past lovers.
Yet self-love is like having money or riches. If we have no love for ourselves, we cannot give away any either. That date will never be able to do enough for us simply because we will always feel inadequate. The irony is that a love of the self frees us to be more loving and understanding towards another. For example, though I did miss him very much – because we had grown pretty close very quickly, my self love made me smile and remember our awesome moments together, whenever he comes to mind, rather than any anger, recrimination or blame; to also give thanks for what we shared rather than what we might have lost.
Sadly, most relationships consist of two people without any self-love or capacity to love. In effect, there are two TAKERS instead of givers in the relationship, wanting to be loved, and looking after their own corner, while being unable to truly love themselves or each other. It means when the relationship breaks down it would be doubly painful for one person because he/she would have been emotionally dependent on the one who took that love away. That partner would have been living in constant fear of the relationship not working, and would then be pretty shaken when it does break and the love stops.
Loving the self reminds us that we matter the most in any relationship. We are the cake, the other person is the icing, and icing is never mandatory. Icing might go beautifully well with a cake but it is a CHOICE, just like having a date is a choice. It means that once the icing goes, we would have enjoyed it, enhanced that icing with our presence, but, in the end, we stand independently of it, because we are all on our individual journey of life. With that knowledge, we can appreciate ourselves more, and will also have more to GIVE a partner than merely expecting them to give us what we seek. We can take them or leave them, as they are, and, best of all, if they should leave us, our self-love will keep us intact – more aware, confident, positive, much wiser – and better prepared for the next encounter.
BEFORE YOU GO…..
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