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The truth is we all want love to motivate us, to make us feel alive and move us, because let’s face it, love is something we all want even if we don’t admit it. But here is where it gets tricky, there’s a difference between wanting love and needing love: that is the biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout my life; It was how I was able to love myself without the love I needed from others. 

When I was young, I thought the world revolved around love and everything else came second. It took a few years to realize that even the closest people to me are unreliable; that sometimes life has other plans for you, and that some circumstances will always be out of your hands. If you’re too codependent on someone, and they leave, your world will turn upside down and you will be faced with a lot of mess you don’t know how to clean.

It all started when my mom had to move abroad while I was still a teenager. It was hard the first few years to comprehend that she was not going to be there immediately when I needed her, or she may not be available to answer my call when I had an emergency. It was confusing and difficult, but it was how I came to realize that you can’t really control who stays in your life and who leaves. Sometimes those you need the most won’t be available for you when you need them; they may not be able to respond to your most important calls. I learned to love myself despite what I received from others. 

A few breakups later, I realized that if you keep giving all the love you have to others and neglect yourself, you’ll soon be depleted of love. You’ll soon be empty, because at the end of the day, almost everyone I’ve ever loved or that changed my life, ended up focusing on their own, and I had to start over. Almost everyone went on to do great things and I was left lost, wondering where it all went wrong. Learning to love myself wasn’t always easy, and it still isn’t, but it helped a lot to know that I have the power to be there for myself even when others can’t or won’t be. 

a white woman lying in bed with flowers around her and holding a bunch of stem roses that hasn't bloom yet

But the one thing my codependency taught me, is that there was a void inside of me I needed to fill. Part of me felt like love was all I had to offer, so that was my haven: giving love and knowing that someone out there loves me and feels the same way too, but let me tell you that one of the hardest truths you’ll ever have to face is knowing that you have a problem and you need to fix it; That maybe you don’t know yourself.

Slowly, and after a few years of struggles and inner battles, and going back and forth on my beliefs, I was able to find myself again; to practice loving myself. I focused on evolving as an individual, I focused on being the person I always wanted to be, I focused on supplying myself with all the qualities I sought in a partner. I became the person I always wanted to love and that made all the difference because the one thing I know for sure is, if you can provide yourself with everything you need from others, you’ll never again get into a relationship or get attached to someone for the wrong reasons. 

The truth is we can all do that: we can all be self-sufficient so love becomes a sweet treat instead of a necessity. It becomes something that makes life easier, not something you can’t live without. Even though I had to learn the hard way, I was able to look back and be thankful for feeling that kind of rejection or loss early on because it conditioned me to believe that depending on others for my happiness always turned into misery. If you invest so much in others instead of yourself, you’ll always end up feeling lost, questioning. Learning to love myself was one of my greatest lessons, and it still continues to be. 

It all starts with one decision: do you want self-love to be the foundation of all your relationships? The choice is always yours.

Do you feel like you need love from others to be whole?