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Dize: Instead of looking for love in all the wrong places, learn to love yourself | RELIGION COMMENTARY

We all want to be loved. We want that special someone with whom we can spend our lives and share our experiences.

We learn of romance from fairy tales, literature, the Bible and movies, etc. Some stories are fantasy, while some are tragic love stories that teach us to demand higher standards. Who can forget Cinderella, who escaped a dismal life and lived happily ever after marrying the prince? We form unrealistic expectations by dreaming of the knight in shining armor who will carry us away from reality.

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We expect to find that certain someone who will fill all our needs. We want their attention, recognition, adoration and respect, so that they can complete us. But love attracts others, while need drives them away. Try behaving like the person you seek and you’ll quickly learn that no one can meet another’s needs 24/7.

Truth be told, our relationships are a reflection of our inner relationship. To find the love of your life, you have only to look within. A person who is complete is a person others want to be around. A complete person is a magnet; they are not filled with never-ending demands.

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Gregg Sanderson, a spiritual practitioner in Florida, was clearly reviewing relationships when he wrote his poem: “Love is caring, Love is daring, Love is baring of your soul. Love’s obsessive, Love’s possessive, Love is losing all control, Love is needing, Love is bleeding, Love is being there for you, Love is owning, Love is moaning, Love is awful when you’re through.”

Make the big shift. Instead of looking for love in all the wrong places, learn to love yourself. During a women’s conference at the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County, Calif., the keynote speaker received affirmative recognition when she stated she had become that complete person that her mother wanted her to marry.

Do you love yourself? Do you love the God within? Are you grateful for you? To love others, you must first love yourself. Mirror work is when you look into the mirror, look into your eyes and say affirmations to yourself such as, “I love you!”

This simple affirmation can have a profound effect on your well-being. When you say, “I love you” to yourself many times a day, you will start to love yourself. Try it; see if it works for you.

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When Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” He responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart ... and, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). After reading that Bible verse, Nicholas de Chamfort is quoted: “If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor.”

Love is not a feeling, it’s a choice. Discover that the more you love yourself, the more you will be able to love others and the more others will want to be around you. Loving yourself will ultimately benefit the lives of others. That special someone you’ve been looking for is you.

The Rev. Ellin M. Dize is a retired pastor, the executive director of nonprofit NRS and facilitates A Course in Miracles spiritual discussion groups in Carroll County and beyond. She can be contacted at NRSsolutions@yahoo.com.

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