When You Love Yourself, Others Will Love You, Too
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Look at that doggie in the window.

Do you ever notice, when youíre single, there arenít any decent prospects available? But when youíre in a relationship, members of opposite sex seem to come out of the woodwork. Suddenly, everyone wants you.

Why? Many people talk about this strange feast or famine phenomenon and canít figure out why it happens.

I have a theory.

Have you ever looked in a pet store window and watched a litter of puppies at play? Bear with me, there is a point here.

So you peer through the window, tap on the glass, and watch the response of the pups. Letís say there are three fuzzy little applicants; one has its frightened head buried under its paws, one is dozing and snacking off and on, and one is dancing and strutting proudly -- and probably would be even if you werenít coaxing. Which of these puppies do you like best? If you were going to take one home, which would it be?

This metaphor is what I call Ďthe doggie in the window theoryí. Think about it; when youíre single, you may not bury your head in your paws, but you probably wonít hold your head quite as high, either, because youíre distracted by paranoid concerns. Do you look all right? You must be cautious to say all the right things. And are you an overall attractive package to any onlookers? And the nights that youíre tired of the single scene, you opt to rent a flick, pop some popcorn, and fall asleep on the couch rather than do something fun or pamper yourself.

On the other hand, when youíre happy, you strut proudly because you feel the validation and contentment of your relationship. The person youíre seeing thinks youíre hot; therefore, you must be hot. Youíre relaxed, vibrant, and you donít try to impress anyone by putting on airs. How attractive is that?

There lies the problem. Why is it that we need other people to validate us? If you canít love yourself, no one else can love you. And if you donít love yourself, itís hard to let others love you. Sounds simple, but most of us have to do a great deal of soul-searching in order to be the person that we want to be and appreciate what we have to offer our family, friends, and lovers.

On the bright side, we must realize that the people who find us irresistible when weíre already spoken-for and content with our partners are merely dazzled by our happiness. As much as misery loves company, happiness draws fans. People want to be close to happiness in the hopes that it will rub off; thatís why theyíre drawn to you.

Experts agree: love is contagious. If you love yourself, others will love you too.

This article originally appeared in the London Free Press on Thursday, October 3, 2002.

Have a question, a thought, or a story to share (anonymity guaranteed)? E-mail Christine at: single@keynotebooks.com.

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