Realizations about my love life

I was reading through the archives on this site. I enjoy it because it comforts me with the realization that all my problems are not new or special, but in fact festering boils on my existence. It got me thinking that for once in my life, I'm thinking different. Oh the situation is unchanged, notwithstanding the crap that has happened in the interval between then and now, But I'm glad that my opinion on the matter has changed significantly.

Because it's one thing to be unlucky in love. I mean, man, I've struck out more times than should be allowed by law. It's quite another thing to abandon hope entirely. Because I've made a few realizations in my life, and they're stupid realizations, but just because they're stupid doesn't make them any less true.

(1) I can't love someone if I don't love myself. I don't mean that in a narcissistic way. I just mean that when it comes down to it, loving someone else requires you to believe yourself worthy of such an emotion.

And along that line, (2) Happiness is something from within, and I have to learn to be happy by myself if I want to be happy with others. Inner joy isn't supplied by others. It's something gained from within. Happiness based on other people isn't happiness. It's no different than drugs or alcohol. It's a temporary euphoria that is lost as quickly as it's gained.

(3) Part of learning to love myself is accepting who I am. This I am working on. I've been working on it for quite some time. A couple years back, I realized that I was trying to change who I was to accommodate the love interests in my life, and that was a flawed strategy. I need to be myself, and accept that I am the best at being who I am. And that means accepting that I'm a private person, that I have a hard time sharing. I'm a goody-goody Catholic boy who'll quite likely remain a virgin for a long, long time. I draw pleasure from small things. I am very nostalgic. I get great satisfaction by pleasing others. I am conscientious. I am full of quirks and foibles and little sharp edges, and that's who I am, and there's no reason to change that or modify it.

Once I learn to accept myself, and to love myself, then (4) quite simply, I deserve to love and to be loved. I am who I am, and that is the person who deserves to be loved, not someone else.

But just because I deserve to love and to be loved, (5) that doesn't mean that I have any control over who loves me. I've been chasing after eidolons, fantasies. I did not learn until recently that finding the right person is more than attraction. It is finding a person that complements me, that is the other half of my puzzle piece in life.

(6) Love is not trying to fill the emptiness in my life with someone else, but it's trying to find someone who'll want to help me fill those holes. Love is not a solution to anything; it's a partnership. I've always viewed my life as empty and lacking, and maybe it is, but I'm not looking for someone to shore up the gaps. I'm looking for someone to help me along.

But the thing that I really came to terms with is that looking for love, real love, is playing with fire. Because the truth to life is that (7) if you want to be loved, you must love. Love isn't a one way street. And I can't be loved without loving. I can't take without giving. I can't expect a person to love me and not to love her back.

I'm still sorting through these little realizations, but I feel like it's time for me to get back into the dating world. And it's not that I have any prospects that I'm working on. It'd be nice if something just fell into my lap (no pun intended), but I think that it's simply a change in my attitude.

So, the short of the story is that I think I'm ready to try to start dating again, and that I'm kind of glad that I've had all this time off from it, in spite of all the shit I had to wade through, because I had some lessons to learn, and learning those lessons was valuable, because learning to accept myself for who I am is probably much more valuable to my existence than some scattered dates that led nowhere and would've caused a lot of heartache.

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