By James Michael Sama — Written on Jul 20, 2017
The internet is home to countless articles, videos, and quotes about how to be happy in a relationship. Not settling for less than you deserve. Texts to send a guy to make him fall in love with you. Questions to ask women that’ll get them talking to you.
Blah, blah, blah.
Like much of our society, we are looking at things from a surface or result oriented standpoint. We see the Ferrari, or the diamond necklace, or the big house on the hill. The happy relationship.
What we don’t see being talked about enough is the difficult and arduous path it takes to actually accomplish these goals.
Nobody prepares you for the years of sacrifice and destitution you may have to face on your way to financial success, just like nobody prepares you for the lone introspection and self-work that needs to be done before you can enter into a happy, healthy relationship.
Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely. There’s a quote I remember reading a long time ago that said “You’ll never be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with,” and it has always stuck with me. I think this is a vastly overlooked — but endlessly important — point we need to make about relationships.
You’ll never be happy with someone else until you’re happy by yourself. That’s right, you must be happy with yourself first.
When was the last time you went out to dinner alone without feeling uncomfortable? When was the last time you sat at a bar and talked to a stranger? When was the last time you were truly alone with yourself and not checking your phone every 5 seconds?
We have become so reliant on outside stimuli and approval that we’ve forgotten what it’s like to build the most important relationship of all: The one we have with the person in the mirror.
We long to be in a relationship because we think it’s going to bring fulfillment or completeness to our lives. We think we will finally be happy when we end up with the man or woman we’ve been creating in our minds. We think that being single means you’re unwanted, and being in a relationship means you’re loved.
The truth is, there are plenty of happy single people out there, and plenty of miserable people who ended up in the wrong relationship because they thought it was better than being single.
These people didn’t fully embrace the power and value of being alone. When you do this, you learn who you really are and what’s really important to you. You learn what your values are, what experiences you do and don’t enjoy, how and where you like to spend your time.
You learn, you evolve, and you grow without any lanes to stay in or lines to color in. You freely become who you genuinely are and something very important happens while you do this.
You learn what types of people you want in your life because you understand who is going to enhance your happiness and who is going to draw from it. You know what type of person you’d like to share these experiences with. The type of person who would make you enjoy your favorite restaurant or concert even more than you do when you’re experiencing it solo.
But if you don’t take the time to live your fullest life in the way(s) that you choose, you may find that you’re molding yourself to fit whatever your significant other seems to want. The only way to prevent that from happening is to develop yourself as an individual over time — you must be happy with yourself first.
It sounds like work, doesn’t it? This is exactly why most people do it. This is exactly why people think they will be just fine if they get right into another relationship and repeat their same patterns again. Happiness, fulfillment, and satisfaction are all an inside job. They do not come from your bank account balance or your car or your relationship. They come from within you.
And we are losing sight of how to identify that and truly feel good about who we are as individuals. If we can’t love and value ourselves, how can we love and value someone else? You can’t pour water out of an empty cup.
Fill yourself up first. Define who you are, what’s important to you, and what you value. Learn and grow and change and evolve and become the person you choose to be. Then — and only then — will you learn what type of person will best complement you along this journey of life.
When you and they both find your “person,” that’s when the magic happens. But if you don’t take the time to learn who you are, how will you ever know who they are?
This article was originally published at James Michael Sama. Reprinted with permission from the author.
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