Searching for love can seem like an endless task. And when it begins to feel like an exhausting, grueling mission we tend to lose our zest for it, don’t we?

How many times do we have to pick up after a failed attempt at a relationship? How many more failed attempts will there be? Could this be the one? I’ve paid my dues; it has to be, right? These thoughts run through the mind of a single person longing for companionship. Why does love sometimes feel so far away? As if it’s buried underground somewhere in a land we’ve only learned of but are beginning to doubt exists. After many disappointments and gut-wrenching heartbreaks, waiting for the “right one” may seem like anticipating the Messiah or some holy figure heard about in stories. Suddenly you understand what it’s like to be an atheist.

As defeating as it seems, we continue fighting for love, not allowing these disheartening experiences to ruin our chances at finding what we want so badly. I know it’s hard. We have all felt heartache, disappointment and rejection. We have all shed tears over someone who probably didn’t deserve our time or our cries. Like an addiction, the thing that makes you feel the best also makes you feel the worst and you must let go of it.

You embark on your journey once again, with a positive outlook and high hopes for the future. You’ve been through enough; you’re convinced the next relationship will be it. Your friends have found their person, even the ones who weren’t trying so hard. You question why it hasn’t happened for you yet. You wonder if you are just unlucky or perhaps cursed. You even start to analyze strangers you just met or couples you see and think to yourself, “How did that happen? How did they do it?” Or, “What is it about her or him that I don’t have?” You question yourself and think, “Am I not good enough to be loved?” (even though you know deep inside you are).

It becomes a fight to keep going, constantly reassuring yourself you are freaking awesome and one day you will find someone who will prove why no one else worked. But after all the brutal letdowns, you would rather be alone, meet no one. You can’t deal with it anymore. You ask why universe, why!? You want to scream, “When is it my turn?” And you start to think it may never be. Maybe you are destined to be alone.

It gets harder to believe, to stay hopeful. Harder to show up at family functions, weddings or events your coupled friends invite you to. You feel sad and sometimes alienated, but remain strong and confident. You promise yourself you won’t let your moments of weakness overcome you, but you don’t want to feel the disappointment or colossal-sized pit in your stomach again. Can’t you just meet someone you want to be with and have it work out? Seems simple enough. Why does it feel so penalizing?

As cliché as it sounds, love truly is a battlefield. It gets tougher to recover after each hurtful experience and more challenging to return to your resilient self, but you do. You keep loving again until the person meant for you loves you back. Give yourself time to heal. Mourn, cry, sulk, talk your friends ears off, seek professional help, if need be. It’s OK to stay in bed and not leave the house for days. Don’t be ashamed of what you’re feeling, but at some point you must cut your sadness off. Give it an expiration date and reclaim your power.

There are certain things we can’t control, like a partner who is unfaithful or falling for someone who is incapable of giving you what you want and deserve. Trust that these experiences bring us closer to what we are meant to have. That you are being spared in the long run. This all sounds like fluff we need to hear to feel better, but it’s the truth. You can either choose to believe it or close yourself off from anyone in the future.

Turning to what makes you happy will bring back your self-love and optimism. It’s easy to forget how amazing you are in the dark fog that forms around your worth at the height of despair. Rest assured, the fog will fade and you will start to see how special you are again in time. Embrace yourself with feel-good people and activities like working out, yoga, cooking, travel, dancing or anything that makes you shine bright. Engage in your passions. If you don’t know what they are, now would be a good time to find them and connect with your soul. You can rely only on yourself to feel better, so love and accept yourself. Understand that loving someone doesn’t make them right for you. Don’t blame yourself or wonder what it is about you that can’t be loved; sometimes it really isn’t you, it’s them.

When you are ready to start dating again, take your time getting to know someone. Make sure they’re ready for a relationship and their desires align with yours. Worry about your needs and whether they are being met. Know that one day, you will find your blissful love. You will end up with the most special person you have ever encountered because you, my dear, have earned it.