Don't sell yourself short. You were never just an option, and you should never become merely that. Instead, you're the primary focus, the only alternative.
When you choose someone to be part of your life, that's a blessing. You are a unique and valuable human being, and don't let anyone make you doubt that.
If someone wants you or says they love you, they will be loyal and faithful and fight through every temptation to avoid hurting you. But, here's the tricky part: people like others who stand up for themselves and know their worth. So, you're the one making a choice, from the very beginning, that there's no way you will be someone's second best.
There are no silver or bronze medals in love. There's only pure gold, and you deserve it. If the other side doesn't agree, well, that's not your problem.
We were all in that second place
Some of us had no idea, but overall, it's safe to assume that each person wasn't always a priority. And additionally, we had our moments when we treated others in the same manner.
Humans aren't perfect, and we learn from our mistakes. But, you must recognize when you weren't number one, and not allow yourself to be in that position again.
Make yourself a priority
Choose yourself over everyone else. Yes, your love life depends on making conscious decisions in your everyday life, because your partner becomes a part of that life. When you show that you're in charge, that you know how much you bring to the table, it will make others see you in the same light. It should be effortless, but in reality, it's a lot of work.
Start by working on yourself and accepting that you're the right choice. Then, slowly, gradually, start changing your attitude towards people, not by saying to them: "I am a unique flower." Words are quite useless because people acknowledge the action. Express self-love, pamper yourself and be grateful for all that you have and all that you are.
Don't be afraid; it's just love
It's one thing to recognize that you're one of a kind. But, when you fall in love, everything gets cloudy, and you're not quite yourself. Well, if you do slip into that hole, by becoming someone's choice, there's a way out. One is to play along and pray that they choose you. It's humiliating, painful, and stressful.
The second option you have is to say it and mean it. Either you are the one, or you are gone. And this too can end in tears, or it could be a beginning of a beautiful romance. Either way, love can hurt us, no matter how strong and resilient you are.
It's a matter of respect
Apart from the simple fact that you're unique, there's something every healthy relationship needs: respect! You cannot love a person and treat them like crap, that's not love, that's some twisted, toxic fairytale.
Having a respectful, honorable, caring partner is the ultimate goal, the biggest prize of all. But to get to that, you mustn't allow people to use you or to make you feel like you're anything less than enough. You're the only choice, and that's not negotiable.
Be frank with what you want from the relationship
Some will call you high maintenance, but you know that what you're doing is the best for your future. So, it might scare you to even think about being demanding in a relationship, but if you do care for someone and you want them to love the real you, there are some ground rules.
Significant connections are all about being a priority. Real love is deep, and it's comfortable, yet passionate, and for all those reasons and more, you need to communicate and be honest with your partner. And when they talk to you, you listen. It's not one four hours long conversation. Instead, it's all those small talks you have when you're planning your future or talking about something that matters to both of you.
Eventually, by not becoming an option, you're choosing to make someone happy. A person who you want and who accepts you, with all the good, the bad, and the in-between, is ready to be your support, your friend as well as someone you share emotional depth with.
Everything else is a lesson that leads to this moment: a moment when you realize that real love is about loving yourself to love the other person dearly.