Most of us walk around all day every day with this gaping hole inside of us. It feels like something is missing -- something's just not complete. So we spend the vast majority of our time on this planet looking for things to fill that hole. The online dating industry generates over $2 billion a year from people looking to buy something that cannot be bought. And I'm certainly guilty of it myself. While I've never paid for a dating service I've definitely spent way too many hours of my life swiping on Tinder looking for a girl that would probably never use Tinder. But what I've realized over the past few years is that what I was actually looking for on Tinder was the love I didn't feel for myself.  We all desire love in some way, shape, or form and unfortunately, this often leads us down paths that aren't very beneficial for us.  But it doesn't have to be this way at all. I honestly felt betrayed when I first learned that I could love myself and that loving myself is honestly all I needed to feel fulfilled. I felt betrayed because it seems like everything around me, from as early as I can remember, was trying to convince me that I wasn't good enough. Even the people that claimed to love me were constantly reinforcing this idea that I needed to be more than what I am. That I didn't deserve happiness unless I achieved certain things. That I didn't even deserve my life and instead I should feel guilty and obligated to worship this man that I'd never met because he "saved" me. Anytime I turn on the TV, there are 100s of companies telling me how I need to buy their product in order to be happy. And had it not been for meditation and learning about who I really am, I would have believed them. I would have continued to bounce from woman to woman, leaving in my wake a trail of broken hearts because they couldn't fill a void that I had no business trying to make them fill. I would have continued to buy more and more stuff that I didn't need to impress people that I didn't even really like. I would have continued to subscribe to a belief system that is based in making feel guilty for something that I didn't do. But what I've learned from spending so much time with myself lately is that no one or no thing can fill the void that I used to feel inside of me other than myself.

Have you ever wondered what really happens when you fall in love with someone? You think about them all the time. You're constantly thinking of ways to make them happier, or how to make them feel good, or how to make them fall in love with you more. All of your thoughts of the future start to include that person and all of your thoughts of the past pale in comparison to how your life is now that you've found your person. You wake up everyday happier and more excited about life. Food tastes better. Colors are more vibrant. You become a much more positive and bright being. I've heard so many people say that they are at their best when they are in love and they believe wholeheartedly that that best has come from their new love interest. But what if they're wrong? What if the love you feel when you fall in love has nothing to do with how you feel about the person you "fell in love" with but instead has everything to do with how that person makes you feel about yourself? What if that person does nothing more than provide you with a mirror to see all of the beautiful parts about yourself that society does it's best to make you forget? What if the smile that you put on your lovers face makes you happy, not because you made them happy, but because it showed you that you're capable of causing joy? What if the clinginess of your partner makes you feel secure, not because they're attached to you but rather because they've shown you that you're worthy of holding onto? What if it's not the love of your lover that makes you feel at your best but instead it's that your lover has provided inspiration for you to release and cultivate the love that is always present inside of you? We've convinced ourselves that love is a verb and that it requires action but I'm not sure that this is true. The love that I've had the pleasure of getting to know lately doesn't require any action because it does not need anything. So when I say that I love everyone, it's not that I'm constantly trying to do things to show people that I love them because that's not love at all, it's a trade. When I say that I love everyone what I mean is that I'm allowing them the space to be whatever it is that they are with as little judgement as possible. And I think what really happens when we fall in love with someone else is that they've allowed us the space to see that what we are is already enough to deserve love.

As an artist, I've spent a lot of time investigating the need for a muse and just how essential the muse is to the creation process. Muses are important because they provide us with a point of reference. Isn't it bizarre that you'd never know what your face looks like without a mirror or something else that casts your reflection? Just like it would be impossible to know our faces without a mirror, it's also impossible to know things about our personalities without the mirrors that our relationships provide us.  I believe the things that we don't like about people show us the things we don't like about ourselves and consequently, the things we love about other people show us the things we love about ourselves. I mean, "it takes one to know one", right? So consider the possibility that it's not someone else's love that you're after to feel complete but instead it's your own love. Consider the possibility that you don't need a better half because you are already whole. Consider the possibility that you're at your best when you're in love because that person makes you forget about all the things you don't like about yourself which allows you the clarity to see and be your best self.

One of the most interesting things I've had the pleasure of studying is how people become more attractive to you when you start to fall in love or develop feelings for them. There have been a couple girls that I wasn't that into aesthetically at first but as I learned more about them, they became so beautiful to me and I preferred to see them more than girls who I originally thought were more attractive. Have you ever wondered why this is? I think it's because love and judgement can't exist in the same space. So as you begin to fall in love with a person, you start to judge them less and less. The insignificant things that used to bother you about their appearance disappear because you've become more attracted to who they are beyond their bodies. As I began to turn inward for love instead of looking outward as I'd been doing, I noticed that the same thing was happening to me. For too long my "love" of myself was based in my appearance and my personality and the access that both provided me but that also meant that the hatred of myself were based in the same things. But through meditation I began to reconnect with the part of myself that is beyond the physical and when I did, my bodily imperfections and personality flaws started to mean a lot less to me. Through meditation, I learned to love myself truly which means that I've stopped comparing myself to everyone all the time. I've stopped tripping over every little blemish on my record or whenever someone isn't interested in being with or around me. Through meditation I've learned that love is something that we all have inside of us all the time but over time we've forgotten how to access it. Through meditation I've learned that the person I've been dying to meet this entire time is myself and in recognizing that, I've been enjoying life more than I ever have before because my happiness is no longer dependent on other people or other things that may leave me but instead my happiness is dependent on something that I've always had and always will have -- my Self.

-@MichealSinclair

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