The Secret You Need To Know About Feeling Loved In A Relationship

Written by Shelly Bullard, MFT

I know you really want to know this secret — how to feel loved by another person, and have his or her love sustain you. It's simple actually, and probably not what you think.

Love yourself.

Yes, that's the secret to getting love from others. Love yourself, first.

When you don't feel enough love on the inside — when you don't feel good enough, lovable enough, smart enough, anything enough — your default is to move into trying to get someone else to make you feel this way.

You figure, "If he or she loves me, then I'll feel loved." Unfortunately it doesn't work this way.

Trying to secure love on the outside causes us to chase after people and demand their love. But this just leaves us, well, chasing. It will never get you the love you want. (Take a moment to think about it: how many times has chasing after love worked for you? My point, exactly.)

That's because the secret to feeling loved by someone else is loving yourself. When you love yourself first, then everything else will fall into place.

What we experience from others is a reflection of what we experience inside ourselves. If you feel desperate for another person's love, it's a sign that you're desperately in need of loving yourself. There's a hole you're trying to fill, but the reality is it can only be filled by you. As you fill this need within — as you love yourself more and more — then you'll feel more love from others, too.

What do I mean when I talk about "self-love"? It's everything from how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake, to giving yourself enough time to sleep, to eating foods that make you feel nourished rather than deprived. Self-love is the simple but profound act of treating yourself the way you'd treat someone else you care about deeply.

I've experienced this concept profoundly in my own life. In the past, at times when I did not feel good enough, I desperately wanted to feel loved by someone else, in particular by a romantic partner. As much as I tried not to, I would grasp and cling for a man's love, in hope that I could feel a sense of being loved. I thought his love was the answer, and if I could just get it, everything would fall into place. This couldn't have been further from the truth.

Finally, after a ton of soul searching and internal work, I realized the real truth, and I started to focus on loving myself.

What happened next? As the love within me grew, so did the love I felt from others. In fact, it was directly correlated.

All this time I had been trying to get love on the outside, and it never worked. But once I started to cherish myself, the experience of being cherished by others came so naturally. I no longer had to chase after others for love; I just had to do the necessary work to feel love within myself, and the rest took care of itself.

As I began to feel full, beautiful, and magnificent internally, I experienced others feeling these things for me in a greater way than ever before. As I accepted my feelings and was kind to myself when I struggled, I encountered others who did the same for me.

Our internal experience is mirrored back to us in our relationships, therefore the best thing you can always do is find love within. When in doubt, love yourself.

Loving yourself is a process. It's not like you do it once, check it off the list and you're good to go. It's a lifestyle.

If you want to change your body, you have to change your diet and exercise routine. Same thing if you want to change your heart: you commit to a plan and you go for it.

You go for it by reading inspirational books and by being in contact with people who lift you up.

You go for it by working with mentors or coaches who can guide you on the path.

You go for it by changing your internal dialogue to nicer, kinder words.

You go for it. You continue. And you persevere.

I know you want to feel completely cherished and loved in relationships, and I am here to tell you that that you can. The change starts within you.

Treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others, and the rest will fall right into place.

Please leave a comment below telling us how you are going to love yourself today. I look forward to hearing from you.

Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist, Love Coach and Spiritual Teacher. She's the...
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Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT
Shelly Bullard, MFT, is a Marriage and Family Therapist, Love Coach...
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