We all want to be loved, period.

A common thought to cross my mind, however, was that I would never find love — or at least have love returned. Some people would tell me that I still have friendship love and familial love, and that should count, but we all know that the unique qualities that accompany romantic love seldom cross over into other relations.

The consumption of heart and mind and soul, the ecstasy/intensity, the possibilities, the understanding of that which others don’t, the attention devoted to each other unlike that for others, the sense of immense value and importance in each other’s eyes, etc. Of course, these qualities are present in friendship in smaller amounts, but the overwhelm of romance that develops into concrete bonds at every level is much, much different. We want relationships that contain those qualities, more or less — we want love.

The issue is when we are staunch believers in the idea that we will never find love or that love must miraculously fall into our laps.

There are lessons to be learned when we enter periods in which we don’t find someone and when expectations fall short in our relationships. You will have to face these lessons head on to understand how to move forward in your love life (e.g. issues with confrontation, choosing the wrong people). And history will repeat itself until you understand to take heed of those lessons.

None of this means that you will never find love, but rather that it takes time and growth to find the right love for yourself.

The belief that we will never find love, precludes love from entering our lives.

We close ourselves off to opportunities to find love, get stuck in old patterns of pushing people away before they can push you away or pulling them too close, and we don’t believe in the love we have even when we do have it right in front of our eyes.

This all ties back to the psychological concept called a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which the very act of believing in a prediction about the future actually leads it to occur through changes in our behaviour.

For example, those who believe they will find love may be more open to new relationships and more hopeful about their outcomes, leading them and their partner to fall in love with each other with more ease.

It’s not the belief by itself that holds some mystical power, but rather that our beliefs alter our behaviour and the behaviour of those around us.

Those who believe that love will enter their lives are less likely to settle for the first person to enter their lives, but rather keep up their standards and look for the right relationship. Those who believe that love will enter their lives are less likely to get caught up in the fantasy of love that cannot be and keep looking for love that can be.

It’s impossible to know the future, but if you know your value and worth, it’s likely that you will find love at some point. Holding onto that belief is vital. You can’t necessarily flip a switch to believe that you will find love, but you can learn to first love yourself by acting in ways you would if you loved yourself (i.e. attitudes follow behaviour). You can keep chipping away at the hurtful belief that you won’t find love until you believe it — and then you find it.

I used to fall into the camp of those who believed I would never find love, or that I would continue to be in subpar relationships that I didn’t deserve. When all the people who didn’t treat me well fell away and I let them disappear from my life, as you should if you have a deep love and respect for yourself, that’s when I realized what it means to wait for the love that I deserved. It was a long and complicated journey, easier said than done, but you can do the same for yourself.