I Looked For Love For Years But Didn’t Find It Until I Learned To Be Happy On My Own

Living the single life can be hard — it definitely was for me. I wanted to find love because I thought that’s what I needed to make me happy. What I didn’t realize that my own unhappiness was actually closing me off from love — here’s why:

  1. Having a boyfriend wouldn’t have made my life better. It would’ve just given me even more to worry about. Until I figured out my own life, adding another priority to the list would just make my life harder. If I was unhappy being single, that feeling wouldn’t go away just because a man entered my life. Even worse, when a man’s presence didn’t fix things, I had to worry about his happiness too.
  2. I shouldn’t need a man. I should only ever want one. When I was unhappy, I was desperate for a man I could depend on. I needed someone, and that meant looking for love for all the wrong reasons. When I finally found happiness on my own, I stopped being desperate. I didn’t need a man to make my life complete — I just wanted someone to share my already amazing life with.
  3. My happiness can’t be dependent on my relationship status. I couldn’t have someone else be my source of light in the world. If darkness hid behind him, eventually the clouds would cover up the sun. My unhappiness would always be looming beneath the surface. There’s a hell of a lot more to life than having a boyfriend — no man could ever save my battle with unhappiness.
  4. Unhappiness promotes a low sense of self-esteem. That just doesn’t work in the dating game considering finding love is all about having confidence. I wasn’t happy with my life, and that made me dislike myself. I started looking for acceptance through men because I didn’t accept myself. No man wants to be a woman’s only source of self-esteem, and it wasn’t until I finally got some confidence that I realized that.
  5. I needed to realize the type of man I deserved. Until I did, I just kept falling for the wrong guys—the ones who had no idea how to treat a woman right. I deserved real love, but all I ever did was settle. I thought that I should be happy just finding a guy I liked, even if he didn’t treat me right. I didn’t think I deserved a Prince Charming, so I kept settling for the jesters.
  6. I didn’t really know who I was. How could I when I couldn’t accept myself? No man could ever really know me if I didn’t know myself. I was walking around in circles just wasting time because I was waiting for a man to define me. Before I could really be open to love, I had to define and accept myself.
  7. I finally realized that a relationship wouldn’t fix my problems. I needed to get my act together all on my own. I can keep hoping for Prince Charming to come in and save this damsel in distress, but that only happens in the fairy tales. I need to be my own heroine because no man can fix my problems. In the end, I have to save myself.
  8. I needed to be able to stand on my own two feet. I needed to be happy all on my own and find true independence. I couldn’t spend my life depending on a man. When I finally became happy with my single life, that’s when I was finally ready to add a partner into the mix.
  9. I was constantly looking for problems in my relationships. I found problems that didn’t really exist. Why? Because I was so afraid of losing a love that I actually drove it away. I tested the men in my life to see just how far I could push them, proving to myself over and over again that I was just too difficult to love. I self-sabotaged because I was unhappy, and no amount of romantic love could change that.
  10. Loving someone else didn’t matter until I learned to love myself. How could I properly love and be loved when I had no love for myself? Getting love from a man wasn’t going to make me happy, because I was unhappy with you I was. Even in a relationship, I was still suffering from the presence of me. I wasn’t ever going to be ready for the love of a man until I finally learned to love myself. It’s cliche but it’s true.
Kelsey Dykstra is a freelance writer based in Huntington Beach, CA. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing from Grand Valley State University and been writing professionally since graduating in 2013. In addition to writing about love and relationships for Bolde and lifestyle topics for Love to Know, she also writes about payment security and small business solutions for PaymentCloud.

Originally from Michigan, this warm weather seeker relocated to the OC just last summer. Kelsey enjoys writing her own fictional pieces, reading a variety of young adult novels, binging on Netflix, and of course soaking up the sun.

You can find more about Kelsey on her LinkedIn profile or on Twitter @dykstrakelsey.