Because I'm a dating coach, singles talk to me all the time about why they want to find someone to love. They truly believe--as I do--that sharing love with a special person is one of life's greatest joys...and that a relationship with the right partner will bring them the happiness they seek.
But the older I get, the more clearly I understand that nobody else can make me happy. I need to be intentional and proactive about "following my own bliss" on a regular basis. Now, finally, after 60+ years of living, I "get it" that, as the 1994 book says, Happiness Is a Choice-- and that I have the ability to make that choice every second of every day.
I have a wonderful, loving, caring partner. And I feel special and important when I'm with him and generally content with our relationship. But, I've come to see that just being with my partner doesn't ensure my happiness. Things can be going fine between us, with no conflict or disagreements and plenty of quality time together and affection. But that doesn't mean I don't sometimes feel as if something is missing in my life.
Now I realize those are the times I need to look at how well I'm taking care of my own needs.
No other person or group of people can fill all your needs and desires--even if they're aware of all of them. Only you know what you need in every moment. And it's up to you to fill your own needs the best you can...without expecting others to take care of you. As one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Louise Hay, says, "When you have expectations, you set yourself up for disappointment."
Here's an example from my personal experience. The mood swings of the "change of life" sometimes cause unexpected bouts of melancholy to wash over me suddenly. I used to wonder why I felt so sad--and thought maybe it meant I wasn't feeling satisfied with the world at large, the political landscape, my career, my partner, or something else in my external world.
Now I know that's not the case. The unease I feel is internal. And only I can take the steps needed to make it better.
This is when extreme self-care is needed. For me, that means carving out time for things that make me feel warm, uplifted, and joyful inside. I find that listening to my favorite music, dancing, luxuriating in a hot bath, reading some passages in my Daily Guidance From Your Angels book, calling a dear friend, walking in nature, digging in my vegetable garden, or arranging some fragrant flowers does wonders to lift my spirits, feed my soul, and make me feel alive and happy again.
How about you? Are you able to give yourself the "me" time on a regular basis that makes you feel loved and content--even when your partner isn't with you, or when you're alone because you haven't yet met that special someone? I hope so.
I'd be interested in hearing what you do to create the inner peace and contentment that sometimes seem elusive. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.