: 08 April 2014

The Secret You Need to Know About Feeling Loved in a Relationship

I know you want to know this secret — how to feel loved by another person, and have his or her love sustain you. It’s simple actually, and probably not what you think.
Love yourself.

Yes, that’s the secret to getting love from others. Love yourself, first.

You see, when you don’t feel enough love on the inside — when you don’t feel good enough, lovable enough, smart enough, anything enough — your default is to try to get someone else to make you feel this way.

You figure, If he or she loves me, then I’ll feel loved.” Unfortunately it doesn’t work this way.

Trying to secure love on the outside causes us to chase after people and demand their love. But this just leaves us, well, chasing. It will never get you the love you want. (Take a moment to think about it: how many times has chasing after love worked for you? My point, exactly.)

That’s because the secret to feeling loved by someone else is loving yourself. When you love yourself first, then everything else will fall into place.

What we experience from others is a reflection of what we experience inside ourselves. If you feel desperate for another person’s love, it’s a sign that you’re desperately in need of loving yourself. There’s a hole you’re trying to fill, but the reality is it can only be filled by you. As you fill this need within — as you love yourself more and more — then you’ll feel more love from others, too.

So, what do I mean when I say “love yourself”? What does it actually look like?

It’s everything from how you talk to yourself when you make a mistake, to giving yourself enough time to sleep, to eating foods that make you feel nourished rather than deprived. Self-love is the simple but profound act of treating yourself the way you’d treat someone else you care about deeply.

I’ve experienced this concept profoundly in my own life.

In the past, at times when I did not feel good enough, I desperately wanted to feel loved by someone else, in particular by a romantic partner. As much as I tried not to, I would grasp and cling for a man’s love, in hope that I could feel a sense of being loved. I thought his love was the answer, and if I could just get it, everything would fall into place. This couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Finally, after a ton of soul searching and internal work, I realized the real truth, and I started to focus on loving myself.

What happened next?

As the love within me grew, so did the love I felt from others. In fact, it was directly correlated.

All this time I had been trying to get love on the outside, and it never worked. But once I started to cherish myself, the experience of being cherished by others came so naturally. I no longer had to chase after others for love; I just had to do the necessary work to feel love within myself, and the rest took care of itself.

As I began to feel full, beautiful, and magnificent internally, I experienced others feeling these things for me in a greater way than ever before. As I accepted my feelings and was kind to myself when I struggled, I encountered others who did the same for me.

Our internal experience is mirrored back to us in our relationships, therefore the best thing you can always do is find love within. When in doubt, love yourself.

Loving yourself is a process. It’s not like you do it once, check it off the list and you’re good to go. It’s a lifestyle.

If you want to change your body, you have to change your diet and exercise routine. Same thing if you want to change your heart — you commit to a plan and you go for it.

You go for it by reading inspirational books and by being in contact with people who lift you up.

You go for it by working with mentors or coaches who can guide you on the path.

You go for it by changing your internal dialog to nicer, kinder words.

You go for it. You continue. And you persevere.

I know you want to feel completely cherished and loved in relationships, and I am here to tell you that that you can. The change starts within you. 

Treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others, and the rest will fall right into place.

Please leave a comment below telling us how you are going to love yourself today. I look forward to hearing from you.


  1. Danielle on April 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    “Self-love is the simple but profound act of treating yourself the way you’d treat someone else you care about deeply.”
    What an important idea! An a-ha moment, even.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 8, 2014 at 4:31 pm

      I love ah-ha moments! Thank you for your comment, Danielle. xo

  2. Morticia on April 8, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Hmmm, I know I love myself, but I do have self-doubt like anyone else. So here is my problem…I don’t know how to approach a man. I’ve been with the same guy since I was 16. I’m now 42. I separated in 2009. Was introduced to someone in late 2010 and he pursued me, then broke up and in 2012, I was introduced to someone else. That didn’t go well either. He just stopped talking to me. His excuse was I have to build onto my house, put your kids through college, and never asked me if I wanted to move in.So which leads me back to this topic. What is wrong with me? Guys just don’t even seem to look at me, or I just don’t see it. I’m told I’m a very sweet person and I’m pretty, so what gives? Which leads me to self-doubt and if a guy doesn’t like me, why should I like me?

    • Nic on April 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      You’ve answered your own question – but backwards. If you don’t like you, then why should a guy? Forget about them for a while and create the life you enjoy all on your own. This means doing new (or old) things you enjoy like going for walks, taking your dog to a dog park, knitting, reading, yoga, exercise classes, biking, movies, etc. The key here though is doing these things as publically as possible so that, while you’re out leading your own great life, you might meet someone who is also doing those same things you enjoy and an authentic meeting of someone can occur. Your new goal – talk to at least 1 stranger every day – in line at grocery, hallway at work, or even a friendly smile while sitting in traffic. If in fact you are sweet and pretty, in no time you will be making lots and lots of personal, quiet contact with people. This may not right away lead to fireworks with some new guy but it will get you doing things and having experiences (however small!) you can chat about with a new person. This was my biggest lesson. I do not have to wait for or on anyone to have the life that i want. I joined a running club, which led to 2 new girlfriends and 1 rejection from a guy – but whatever…at least I was meeting new people! And he is now my genuine friend. Also, guys are looking, you just don’t realize so every day try to be pleasant and positive b/c those are the things that will attract somoeone to walk over, instead of just look! You’re only 42 and were with someone since you were 16 – I’d say enjoy singlehood while you still have it bc before you know it you’ll be coupled again and in some capacity unable to do WHATEVER YOU WANT!

    • Erin on April 8, 2014 at 6:17 pm

      “Which leads me to self-doubt and if a guy doesn’t like me, why should I like me?”
      Because you are much more important than any other mans opinion of you! As soon you realize that, I can guarantee you won’t give a darn of anyone’s else’s opinion but your own. And that will make you more confident!

    • Jackie on April 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Nothing is wrong with you. Nothing is wrong with the guy. They weren’t aligned with who you are and what you deserve now.

  3. Chou Zin Yi on April 8, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I love your article… I’m trying to always love myself but sometimes doubts makes everything gone and i will have to start all over again. I’m in mid 30, always try to find a man who loves me to complete my life like others who have husband and kids and seems very happy. It’s not that i’m not happy.. I am happy and i know how to make myself happy.. but still I feel something is missing cause never experience being love by someone i love.

  4. Lei on April 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

    Last night I cried tears of joy after having a breakthrough moment that allowed me the space to forgive myself for being so hard on myself my whole life. My own mother until recently talked to me in a sarcastic scolding tone of voice and just about belittled me without realizing it. I called her out on it a week ago and for me has released 31 years of delusion, fear and abuse. Because of this abuse, I subconsciously attracted co dependent relationships, allowed myself to be hurt and to hurt the men I loved in my past and since having my daughter a few months ago I have begun to love myself through loving her. Not wanting my daughter to go through what I did, I decided to be the change I wish to see. Today I took the both of us to lunch, shopped for new clothes and toys then took a stroll at the beach where she napped and I poured my gratitude all over Mother Earth. I prayed for others and ourselves and my heart felt so open and free filling with love. I literally practice everyday by looking in the mirror and telling myself, “I love you Lei”. After my showers while putting on my body oil I tell my body parts “I love you and thank you for housing my soul” or I say “thank you legs for allowing me to have such an awesome run today” and “thank you arms for the ability to hold my daughter” and “thank you heart for beating after all the abuse I allowed, but no more because I love and honor you now”. Takes time and feels funny at first but with practice it becomes enjoyable. This is how my self love journey is going so far. I’ve just begin looking up again and around at the guys out there. I observe. I take in the eye candy. I’m enjoying my singleness and my daughter for now. I want to make sure the next guy I attract is a spiritual partner rather than another codependent vampire energy sucker.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 9, 2014 at 2:58 pm

      Lei, thank you so much for sharing. What you shared is so beautiful, and so true. With love to you, Shelly

    • Leslie on April 16, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story Lei… I can relate having the same type of up-bringing. Kudos to showing your self lots of love. Keep up the great work! Love and embrace the breakthrough moments!

  5. Shen-li on April 9, 2014 at 8:13 am

    ‘When in doubt, Love Yourself.’
    I’ve been repeating this over and over again in my heart after I read this article this morning. This is just the perfect article for me and I will read it over and over again as my mantra. Thank you so much Shelly for putting all this together. You truely helped me a lot. Love you!! 🙂

    • Shelly Bullard on April 9, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      You’re so welcome! xo

  6. Ilove on April 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Perfect timing… Just recently let go, felt free, allowed myself to have the most wonderful experience with a man whom is my compliment… I’m in this unknown territory now. I haven’t heard from him since I left him and I desire his love but I know the key to that Magnificat weekend and even the attraction I felt from him was a result of my loving myself enough to maximize on that encounter… I know now that is the key moving forward, to continue to give myself love! To fulfill my passions- my art, my music, to treat myself to my favorite restaurant etc. Whatever fills me, I must be my own compliment. I will continue to blossom with love and attract such.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. xx

  7. Stacy on April 10, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Shelly, I’m always amazed and enlightened when I read your blogs. I love me but like others sometimes self doubt steps in but for me …… Having faith in God and believing and saying it “I am a queen & worthy of goodness” I outsmart my doubt.
    Thank you for your gift!

  8. sincerely on April 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    I love myself and respect myself. I’m told I’m beautiful inside and outside. I try my best to live an honest Christian life that i can. I’ve treated and given my ex husband’s nothing but love and respect. Yet they cheated, since my divorce three yrs ago I’m in my mid 40’s, the men i meet say I’m everything they’d want, I’m attractive, I’m hot,gorgeous, irresistible…but yet they only want a bed buddy or not for them. So it leaves me wondering” what am i doing wrong, i can figure it out” My first husband says im too loving and forgiving and that was a turn off too easy for him to cheat. My ex-husband says I’m everything he wants he still loves me very much, but I’m not his type anymore as he’s looking for a girls who’s a bit wild. An ex boyfriend broke it off because he said by the 3rd month i should have messed up by then I was doing everything right so that left him to be at fault so it was best we stayed friends, another said he felt himself becoming jealous because i was too attractive. The last guy i dated said i was everything a man could want introduced me to his family but he lives 200 miles away suddenly im not for him. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I am who I am a loyal, sincere classy respectful, independent woman w integrity.

    • Shelly Bullard on April 13, 2014 at 10:07 pm

      There’s only a little I can know from what you wrote here and I would be happy to schedule an appointment with you if you wanted to explore this experience more, but this is what I picked up on from your comment. I wonder if you are overly pleasing to men, which is totally a turn off, and is something we do when we don’t feel good enough within. I get this sense that you try to be what everybody wants you to be, and this is not self love, nor is it sexy.

      • Jana Brown on April 22, 2014 at 7:55 pm

        Shelly,I am 29 years old and still….I do not love myself. I am in a relationship and I cant trust because I have been hurt so many times in the past. I feel like
        he will leave me if I continue not to trust him and “suffocate” him. I need your help. How can we talk?

        • Shelly Bullard on April 22, 2014 at 8:32 pm

          Hi Jana, I’m glad you reached out. It’s true – if you are are insecure, you will inevitably suffocate your partners, which (I’m sorry to say) will push him to leave. It’s too much for anybody to handle.
          Yes, we can talk, and I can definitely help you. Please schedule an appointment here: https://www.timetrade.com/book/13YWR, and we will get the process started.

          xo Shelly

  9. paola on April 15, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Hi, I’m 19, yes u might think I’m too young for been here asking questions, I know. I should be having a blast with my life, and enjoying single life haha. Well the truth is I’m in college, on my third year, I have a boyfriend, we’ve been together for 3 years and 3 months, and I love him a lot. There has been a lot of problems through the years, and as you can see I decided to challenge them, but I’m still wondering if this problems are going to fix eventually, because we have tried a lot of things, primordially changing our attitudes, but but despite all that has happened I’m still unhappy with my relationship, and I’ve always thought that the problem is that I do not love myself enough, and when I tried to end the relationship to take my time and “love myself”, he always gives me reason not to, and return with him, but always comes back this feeling of dissatisfaction. Is really hard for me to leave someone I love so much and loves me back. I really don’t know what to do.(p.s. my english sucks… sorry!)

  10. Sandy on April 15, 2014 at 5:12 am

    It’s very true and I’ve always believed these words: You need to love yourself first before you can really love someone else.

  11. Denise Mathews on April 22, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Hi Shelly,My relationship recently ended and I have come to realise that do not love or value myself very much at all. A friend sent me the link to your article and it captures the essence of the work I truly want and am ready to do for myself. I believe in your words and want to take the journey to self love before I involve myself in another relationship. Thank you for your inspiration!

    • Shelly Bullard on April 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      You’re welcome, Denise! Thank you for your comment! xo

  12. maya on June 21, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hi ShelleyI always felt unloved by people and then decided that I would love myself totally and yet I don’t see any love from other people. They are not mean but I don’t see any love. I am not sure how love started appearing in your life once you decided to love yourself.
    I love myself and that is enough. Once you love yourself, what others do or do not do stops mattering.

    • Shelly Bullard on June 21, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      What is inside of us appears outside of us. Keep loving yourself, and perhaps detach from what you want others to do. When we loosen expectations and demands, our relationships get much better!

Before you dive any deeper...

Hi, I’m Shelly!

I’m a relationship coach, licensed marriage & family therapist, wife, girl mom, world traveler and… a damn good manifesting teacher.

On any random Saturday, you could find me hiking in the Redwoods with my family during the day AND relaxing to all songs on 🎶the foggy jazz🎶 station on Spotify in the evening with my man…

I’ve helped 125,000+ expansive, beautiful humans manifest their desires through my YouTube channel.

Over the last decade, I transformed my love life… I went from feeling terrified that I may never find love or have a family of my own to manifesting marriage, my baby, our dream home, and so much more. Now, I want to help you do the same.

Hey love! Let’s manifest love, relationships & wealth together.

You with me?

Tired of the same old inbox experience? Think of me as your manifestation big sister, here to guide and inspire you in relentlessly claiming your beautiful desires. I’m here to deliver a blend of affirmations, meditations, visualizations, real-life love stories and practical manifestation tools right into your inbox.






The 3 Most Important Steps to Manifest Your Specific Person



4 Steps to Manifest the Greatest Love of Your Life



7 Easy & Unexpected Ways to Manifest Money



3 Self Love Journal Prompts That Will Change Your Life