By Michael Kimmel | Life Beyond Therapy
If you’re single, do you ever feel lonely and wish that someone wonderful would love you?
If you’re coupled, do you ever feel lonely and wish that someone more wonderful would love you?
If either of these scenarios is true for you, dear reader, you’ve forgotten that you are the cake.
I use the cake analogy with my clients. They think that the missing lover or not-good-enough partner is the cake and that they are desperately running around with an empty platter, saying, “Where’s my cake?”
When you understand that you are the cake, it may surprise you to realize that you are the person you’ve been waiting for. Think about it: who else knows your history, dreams and desires better than you? Sure, another person can come along and make it even better, but you need to be the cake; others can be the icing.
Sound familiar? When you don’t know that you’re the cake and try to make someone else into your cake, this creates a vibe of desperation. Plus, it’s a lot of responsibility to be someone’s cake (e.g. their “everything” or savior”).
When you’re frantically looking for your cake, people often back — or run — away. And the ones who don’t, my friends, you don’t want. When someone wants to be your “everything”, they’re apt to be controlling, insecure people who want to cut you off from your friends and family so they can be your “everything”, leaving room for no one else in your life.
You deserve better. You deserve to be your own cake and have someone — or several someones — provide you with delicious icing (or more).
The analogy is simple; but the execution is not so easy: how do you become the cake? How do you find happiness, contentment and love inside — not outside — of you?
You can start by beginning to experience the feelings you think a relationship will bring you. At first, you might be skeptical — you may think it’s impossible to feel connected, loved and taken care of without a partner. But I promise you that you can. Consider this question. “What makes me feel loved?” It isn’t always another person. Find ways to answer that question so you can have more of those “I feel loved” moments.
You could also ask yourself: “When do I feel content?” I suggest you write down your answers to the question and start to do more of these things in your life.
Starting today, set aside time to be your own cake. Get to know yourself…on your own. I have clients who are desperately afraid to live alone: “How can I be with myself?” they ask me. Many people don’t want to find out, so they avoid being alone — as long as they can — never learning to enjoy their own company. Never learning how to be their own cake!
The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to finding love is believing that a romantic relationship will somehow, magically reverse all the bad stuff in your life. Or you think something’s missing in your life, and another person will make that empty, sad feeling go away.
It doesn’t work that way.
Many of us are looking for “The One” because we feel that there’s a void, a hole in our hearts/minds/lives. We try to fill this hole by looking for the perfect relationship “out there.” Eventually, we may find people or things to fill this void, but the satisfaction is only temporary. If we don’t address our disconnection from ourselves, we’ll always return to feeling like something’s (still) missing.
It’s tempting to look for our happiness in someone else: expecting her/him to give us everything that we can’t give ourselves. It can’t ever work, because inevitably that person — being all-too-human — will let us down.
Being happy isn’t about having someone else love you. Ironically, it’s the reverse. When you already feel happy, loved and content, wonderful people want to be with you. You’re attractive and desirable when you know that you are the cake.
— Michael Kimmel is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in helping LGBT clients achieve their goals and deal with anxiety, depression, grief, sexually addictive behavior, coming out, relationship challenges and homophobia. Contact him at 619-955-3311 or visit lifebeyondtherapy.com.