The following is adapted from tinybuddha.com
If there’s one thing we all want, it’s to feel loved. We want to feel deeply connected to other people, fully seen and appreciated by them, and secure in those relationships.
If you want to feel more connected to love, try some of these tips:
1. Begin by loving yourself. Each day, look in the mirror and say out loud, "I love you unconditionally. You are perfect just as you are and the world is lucky to have you." At first this may feel uncomfortable. But just keep practicing and notice how you begin to feel. Then start to expand on the statements, being more specific about what you love about yourself. When you practice the art of loving yourself, you set an example for others around you.
2. Consider that love might look different than you visualized it. Most of us tend to have an idealized, Hollywood version of what we think love is. However, love can appear in many forms if we just open ourselves up. Each day ask to recognize and receive love in all its different forms.
It might not be from the person you want to be with romantically. It might not even meet the standards and criteria you defined in your head. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. When a friend pushes you to reach your potential, it’s an act of love. When a stranger smiles at you on the street, that's an act of love. When a family member takes the time to listen to you, helping you form insights about your life, it’s an act of love. See and appreciate the love all around you and it will surely multiply because you’ll approach relationships--new and old-- with a sense of wholeness instead of lack.
3. Change your beliefs about the world and love. When we tell ourselves the same things over and over again, we can end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself that people don’t care, you’ll put that energy into the world and attract evidence to back it up. If you tell yourself you’ll never experience love, you can create mental barriers and then subconsciously repel love from coming into your life.
Why not tell yourself a different story? There’s an abundance of love in the world, there’s plenty of love to go around, you deserve it, and it’s surrounding you every day.
4. Give love when you're tempted to judge. Ultimately, this is how we all want to be loved: without judgment, pity, or condescension. Commit to giving this type of love--both in your existing relationships and in new ones.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow your instincts when you feel unsafe around someone. It just means look below the surface, give people a chance, and in doing so create the potential for more meaningful, mutually supportive relationships.
Make the conscious choice to be understanding and compassionate. While getting isn’t the intention of giving, this will likely set the stage for you to receive the same consideration in return.
5. Recognize the love you're not giving. It’s far easier to pinpoint what we’re not getting than it is to be honest with ourselves about what we’re not giving. Perhaps you want people to check in with your more frequently. Are you checking in with them? Maybe you want people to ask more about your personal life. Are you asking them about theirs?
Give the type of love you want to receive. Give praise. Notice the little things. Offer help without it being asked of you.
This is not to suggest that you should always be the one giving. If it feels like a constant one-way street, then it might be time to reevaluate that relationship. But in most healthy ones, giving more freely creates an environment of consideration and generosity.
6. Value the people that are there. Sometimes we get so caught up looking for romantic love that we forget to appreciate the friends and family who are always there, offering their support.
You might think that friendships aren’t the same as romantic affection, but we don’t attract romantic love into our lives by focusing on what’s missing. We attract potential partners by radiating love to others around us.
Take an inventory of all the people who care. There are likely far more than you realize.