Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.
We have been sold a Hollywood bill of goods when it comes to romance. You know, how the handsome and suave leading man always knows exactly what to say -- just the right things at the right time in the right tone -- to make his lady love swoon.
Well, the truth is that someone directs this Prince Charming incarnate. And someone -- often a woman -- writes his lines for him. Lines she, no doubt, would love to hear. Wouldn't we all?
What is more passionately romantic than a lover gazing deep into your eyes and reading the feelings and desires of your true being? This is the fantasy of an ideal lover who knows the truths of your soul and who knows exactly how to satisfy you in every way.
Unfortunately, most of us are not mind readers. It is so important to be able to ask for what we want rather than challenge our lover to intuit our feelings. Expecting someone else to know instinctively what we desire and what we need in any moment is very unfair and doomed to disappoint.
It is our job to know what we want and what we like, and it is completely up to us to articulate our needs in such a way as to give them every chance of being met.
When I consult with the couples whose weddings I will officiate, I always urge them to include in their vows not only what they promise to bring to each other and the marriage, but also to ask for what they want to receive.
Taking the responsibility for our own happiness and fulfillment is a great gift to give a lover who, presumably wants to please and satisfy us -- or else why would we want to be with him/her anyway?
All those perfect words of comfort and devotion that we long to hear? We can say them to ourselves. Say them with feeling and meaning. We can show ourselves the attention and affection that we all crave -- that we lavish on others, but never think to give to ourselves.
There is only one person in the world guaranteed to stay by our side until the day we die and that is us. So we better learn how to understand, nurture, love, honor and cherish ourselves so that we may know how to cherish and be cherished by another with no guessing games and no pressure.
Our primary love relationship has to be with ourselves. Someone once said, "In order to say 'I love you,' you have to be able to say 'I.'"
When we take the time know our Self intimately and embrace all the parts of our being -- body, mind, heart and spirit -- whole-heartedly, unconditionally, with compassion and no judgment attached, we can be a sovereign lover -- not dependant and not beholden. How glorious would that be?
Have a Love Affair With Your Self
Get to know your Self
- Acknowledge your thoughts and feelings, your fears and fantasies.
- Spend some quality time alone together -- just you, yourself and you.
- Turn off the computer, the phone, the fax, and the TV.
- Put on your favorite music, or simply savor the silence.
- Entertain a program of non-directed Self-discovery.
- Stare out the window or into a candle flame or a mirror.
- Clear your mind of inner chatter and let it wander where it will. Focus on being rather than doing.
Take interest in your Self
- Engage in projects of Self-expression in order to reconnect with your higher nature and your inner best Self.
- Go for a run, walk, swim, or bike ride.
- Do yoga. Meditate. Drum, chant, dance.
- Write in your journal. Transcribe your dreams.
- Create an altar.
- Paint a picture or your walls.
- Sing silly songs. Jump up and down. Pound on pillows and scream.
- Have a good cry. Laugh out loud.
Please your Self
- Work at establishing a warm, rich atmosphere for your own physical comfort and aesthetic enjoyment.
- Indulge in a variety of sensory delights.
- Surround yourself -- your body, your home and to whatever degree possible, your office -- with the colors, textures, sounds and smells that you love and that express your personality.
- Light candles and incense.
- Create a mood to seduce yourself with earthy pleasures.
Court your Self
- Get all dressed up purely for the fun of it.
- Take yourself on a dream date. Buy yourself special treats.
- Compliment yourself, applaud and appreciate your strength and your beauty.
- Pull down the shades, turn off the lights and dance till you drop.
- Massage your body with sweet oils.
- Whisper sweet somethings in your ear. Kiss yourself. Tickle your fancy.
- Make hot love to your Self.
- Make yourself a marvelous breakfast in the morning.
- Send yourself flowers with a note saying, "I love you."
These exercises in Self-appreciation and affection are not meant to seal ourselves off from others forever, or to replace any current or future love relationships, but to make sure that we do not get involved for the wrong reasons -- out of loneliness or fear or desperation.
We emerge from these Self-love exercises with the secure knowledge that we are our own best lover. And when and if we choose, we are able to share that love with someone special who will understand how very precious it is and return it in kind. Do we deserve any less?
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