Years ago, after being in and out of several longterm relationships and lots of casual dating, I decided I was ready to get serious with someone again.

I met a great guy, who treated me better than I had ever been treated before. He brought me flowers for no reason, sent me soup when I was sick and really showed me, in many ways, how much he valued me … and I valued that because I knew my worth and was tired of meeting men who were noncommittal and didn’t appreciate someone as amazing as myself.

But we had our differences. This man was a very early riser and asleep by 9 p.m. I was a night owl and not a morning person. He didn’t go out much. I was a social butterfly. He lived almost two hours away, deep in suburbia and had a child. I lived in Manhattan and had no responsibilities other than myself. At the time, being with someone who had a kid was a deal breaker for me, but he was so great I gave him a chance anyway. He ended up leaving me because I didn’t put in half the effort he did. I didn’t take him that seriously … until he broke up with me.

I asked for another chance, but he denied me that opportunity. I beat myself up for months about it. If only I went to Jersey when he asked me to, maybe life in the suburbs wouldn’t have been so bad? If only I wanted to play stepmom. If I were more of a homebody and morning person it could have worked. If only I was the type of girl who was dying to have a family and settle down, we could have been perfect! Why am I not that type of girl, I thought? Maybe I should be? Maybe all the good, relationship-minded men want that type of girl? Suddenly, I became envious of all the women around me with baby strollers and a “normal” lifestyle.

After that experience, I found myself hesitant to admit that I wasn’t a morning person or that I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids, or that I had a very active social life and stayed out way too late sometimes. I was afraid no one would take me seriously if they knew that about me.

And then I woke up. I remembered who I was and how much I liked myself, and my life just the way it was. I never wanted to try and fit into someone else’s box again.

I didn’t want a suburban dad’s life, and he didn’t want mine. It’s not that I wasn’t ready to settle down and open myself up to a relationship, but I knew it had to be with someone who was more compatible for me. Otherwise, I was more than fine being alone. This pushed me to get back to me, drove me to continue pursuing things that enriched my life and made me happy. I started singing and writing again, fell in love with running along the water, spent lovely quiet nights alone at home, went out to see live music by myself, became more dedicated to accomplishing my goals and overall really grew to know myself, love myself and appreciate myself even more. I took the focus off having a relationship with someone else and put it into one with myself.

You see, I was always extremely confident. I could walk into any room and command it. I never tolerated being treated poorly by men. I knew my worth, understood my value and with conviction could say I was the whole package, a real catch. I sincerely felt that anyone should be so lucky as to have a chance with me.

What sometimes puzzled me was how others, whose love I was vying for, couldn’t see my awesomeness as much as I did. It took me a long time of questioning myself before I concluded that what they thought didn’t matter! And furthermore, I realized my definition of self-love was skewed. Self worth is only ONE part of loving yourself. Although I praised myself for my outstanding attributes, I wasn’t accepting myself for who I truly was, nor was I welcoming or embracing my insecurities. I was forgetting to like myself as I was, entirely.

A common misconception is that someone is going to come along and “make you happy.” Too often people depend on others to “complete” them. Truth is, you are responsible for your own happiness, and only you can complete yourself. No one is going to do that for you. Someone can add to your happiness and complement your life, but you must love yourself first and foremost. Think about it. If you wait for someone else’s love to make you happy and it doesn’t work out, how devastated will you be? That’s a whole lot of power to give to someone. You are the only one who should possess that much power over yourself. No matter what happens, love should always live within you, because no one can take that away.

In the end, what’s most important is your well being and what you think of yourself. So always continue to evolve, treat yourself kindly and live a full, happy life, whether alone or with someone.

Be so in love with yourself, for yourself, unconditionally, that you don’t need anyone to make you feel good, complete or validated. Have that relationship with yourself. If you don’t, how can anyone else? When you see yourself for all that you are, someone else will too.

Remember, you can never be lonely if you love who you are.