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I spent nine years with my ex-boyfriend, Bernard. It would have been easy for me to decide that Bernard wouldn’t marry me because I wasn’t good enough or I wasn’t the woman he wanted–because, in short, he had rejected me. I had certainly worked hard at the beginning of our relationship to gain his approval, in part because he was older and more learned than I was. But deep down, I knew his fear of commitment had nothing to do with me. Many women stay in unhappy relationships because they crave the approval of their partner–it is what lets them feel OK about themselves. But here’s the rub: The only way to truly love another person is first to learn to love and accept ourselves and our shortcomings.

Are you in a relationship in which you can be your best self? Make a list of what you see as your shortcomings, and next to each one, brainstorm some ways in which these traits have also benefited you.

–Arianna Huffington

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