There are two different kinds of "falling in love". It's the "ego-based-thinking" or the "heart-based-being" that falls in love.
When you fall in love from the viewpoint of ego-based-thinking, it's not so much the person you fall in love with, but how this person can love you. You're giving away your own responsibility of self-love and self-acceptance believing this person will fill you up with the love you lack within yourself. You might call it being in love, as a pleased and happy ego can absolutely be mistaken for euphoric love. But it's not actually being in love, it's being in need and in pain.
Being in need is the equivalent of co-dependency. The part of you "in need" is a part of you starving for love, as you're not loving yourself enough, or even at all. It's an empty space within, in desperate need for someone else to fill up the emptiness. As an ego-based-lover you define your worth, self-love and acceptance based on what is given to you by someone else. As you define who you are and what you're worth based on someone else, you will feel completely dependent on that person, believing you cannot live without him/her and that you'd loose yourself completely if the relationship ended.
When you fall in love from the viewpoint of heart-based-being you've already learned how to fill your own space with love and you define your own worth based on who you know you are within. You feel lovable and worthy of the greatest love of all, as you're already in love with yourself and full of love. The inner fullness residing within you is a result of you taking responsibility for your own feelings and needs. You're in a loving state of mind packed with all the love you need and you wish to share this love with another, without ever actually needing it. You view a loving relationship as a blissful bonus to an already never-ending fountain of love within your heart. Your goal as a heart-based-being is to share the love with another heart-based-being, rather than just receive it.
When you choose someone from the viewpoint of ego-based-thinking, you'll choose someone you believe is willing to take the responsibility of filling you up with the love you lack within yourself. But there's a major issue with this needy relationship. The one you've chosen most likely has the same level of emotional needs within themselves hoping you'll be the one to fill up their emptiness as well. A relationship where you both focus on getting love, rather than sharing love, will eventually end up being dissatisfied partners and both will blame the other for not loving them the way they want to be loved, usually resulting in break ups. When the break up is the reality of the outcome, you will blame each other for your own unhappiness and insecurities not seeing that you're actually the one responsible for your own happiness, inner love and peace of mind.
This is an absolute nightmare of a relationship. I've been in a relationship wanting each other to complete one another in every way we could not complete ourselves. - Jealousy, possessiveness, arguments, tears, fears, insecurities, sleepless night, anxiety, desperation, control-freak, bitterness and loads of cold shoulders. You name it, that relationship had all the ugly juice in the world. Not to ruin the surprise here, but guess what, we broke up blaming each other for the break up. What a mess!
I wasn't a bad person or selfish searching for someone to complete me and you're not either! Some are even completely unaware it's their ego that's mainly in love. I wasn't aware of it at all. As I said, a pleased and happy ego can absolutely be mistaken for euphoric love. I know so, because it happened to me.
What I had to do was to stop and observe myself. I've written about self-observation here if you wish to read a full-length article on introspection. I've done a whole lot of work within myself to grow my self-love and self-acceptance. I've taken loving care of myself through meditation, mindfullness, healing my inner child, talking to myself and truly working on my communications skills. Not just how I communicate with others, but how I communicate with myself to target my ego and release it as it appears.
So how can you start loving yourself more? There are many ways to do this, but there's one specific thing I would like to share with you. It's quite simple, but it's not always easy as it might feel weird at first. You have to become the person to yourself that you want the other person to be, and I guess you've also come to the conclusion by now that you yourself have to be the person you're looking for in a partner. But how? Well, love is what you search for so love is what you'll have to give to yourself. Growing self-love is all about focus, determination and consistency.
Ok, so let's move on to the awkward stuff. Hah! This might sound really funny to you, but I promise you, this exercise was a life changer for me and you might have heard it before in some way.
"The Mirror Relationship"
Basically what you need is yourself and a mirror. Find a mirror, look yourself deep in the eyes, really deep, give yourself a flirty smile and say it out loud. "I love you!" Louder! "I LOVE YOU!" And even louder! "I FUCKING LOVE YOU!" Go to town with why you love yourself. Point at your self and smile, dance if you want to or sing it out loud. I love you because you're kind and compassionate. I love you because you're a great cook. I love you because you're an amazing father. I love you because you always do your best. I love you because you're passionate about your job and I love you because you always deliver in time. I love you because you're always there for your friends. I love you because you're a genuine person. I love you. I love you. I LOVE YOU!" Whatever you love yourself for, let yourself know it.
You might feel tense and uncomfortable and as silly as ever - "Am I really talking to myself right now?". But talking to yourself is actually hilarious and you often end up laughing in your own company, which is an energy boost and ridiculously funny. Loosen up. Have fun with it. Make it a joyful habit.
I do this all the time!
Do it every single day for a little while. It's said it takes 21 days to form a new thought pattern or habit. As I'm not a scientist I can't say for a fact that it takes 21 days to restructure a pattern in your brain, but whenever I have tried to form a new habit for 21 days it has worked for me. Read more about it in this article written by James Clear at Huffington Post. - 21 days, 50 days, does it really matter? The days pass as quickly as you know they do anyways. 21 days from now you'll wish you started today. Write a note to yourself on the mirror as an "I love you"-reminder and set a side a few seconds to lift yourself up and love yourself every single day. You deserve it and what is greater than a new habit of loving yourself?
Now, get that mirror, LOVE YOURSELF, become the one you look for in everyone else and become the heart-based-being longing to share the love you've discovered in yourself.
Mirror-relationship-forecast: 100% chance of winning!