Ultimately, we are all looking for the same thing. Love. But why does it seem so hard to find?

Often times, it’s because our focus is on the wrong piece of the equation. We spend all our time looking for a good catch, that special someone who “gets” us and will make everything right. Even worse, we look for someone to make us happy or make us feel whole. But how often do we put that same effort into falling in love with ourselves?

Why not “get” yourself first? Make everything right for yourself first? Be happy with yourself first? And here’s a bigger question: if you can’t do it for yourself, how will someone else be able to?

I’ve seen it happen again and again, people spend all their time trying to land their ideal mate, and then when they do, they’re set to fail right from the start. Why? Because they haven’t laid the groundwork with themselves. If you don’t feel comfortable and confident in who you are, you can’t possibly know what you really need from a relationship. If you don’t love yourself, the bar against which you measure all your partners will be set far too low and you’ll be much more likely to accept a partner who doesn’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated.

Think about it for a moment. What kind of person are you? What is important to you? It’s time to recognize and appreciate this! Consider everything there is to love about you. In making it a priority to love, respect, and appreciate yourself first, you are setting yourself up for success on so many levels.

1) YOU OWN YOUR OWN HAPPINESS. As long as you rely on someone else to make you happy, you won’t be. Losing 10 pounds won’t do it, neither will a new wardrobe, promotion, or partner. If you’re not happy without these types of things, you still won’t be happy with them. Own your happiness. Don’t give anyone or anything else the power to make or break your day. Find your happiness from within and let it blossom from there.

2) YOU DETERMINE YOUR OWN SELF-WORTH. Take the power into your own hands to define what you’re worth and what you deserve. To get you started, consider what a truly good partner would see in you, but know that nobody else has these answers for you and nobody else should! It’s up to you! When you develop a true appreciation for yourself, you’ll find you’re more confident and secure in who you are and nobody else can take that away from you.

3) YOU BECOME CONTENT WITH YOURSELF AND YOUR LIFE JUST AS IT IS. This is the best part. You will reach a point of comfort with yourself. This doesn’t mean you will stop striving to improve or build upon what you have, but by and large, you will be content with your life just the way it is. With or without changes, with or without anyone else, you will feel confident in who you are, the decisions you make, and you will appreciate yourself. This is a truly wonderful part of love.

4) YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU NEED FROM A PARTNER AND WHAT YOU ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT. Here, you can build on everything you’ve accomplished so far. The main goal should be to add someone to your life who does just that – adds to your life! Look for people who support you and continue to build you up and don’t accept anyone who doesn’t get it. Everyone deserves to be in a happy, fulfilling relationship but you only get what you give so take the time to weed out the people who don’t see your true value. You’ll find yourself much happier with the end result (not to mention the journey)!

Falling in love with yourself first allows you to remove the block standing between you and a completely healthy, happy relationship. Not only does it make you happier as an individual, but it also allows you to develop a truly great relationship with someone just as special and deserving as you are.

You set the standard for how others are allowed to treat you. The power is in your hands. The big question is what is your standard?

Krista White