You’ve heard it before… “You need to love yourself before someone else can love you.” I whole-heartedly believe that. It’s all about loving who you are and being comfortable alone before inviting another soul into your life to love and be loved by.
It may come across as repetitive but I am going to always talk about what I know, personally (which I think everyone with an online presence should do). I want to become completely vulnerable with you because I think that vulnerability is the way one authentically connects with others. I have struggled with self-love my WHOLE entire life. When I was younger, I HATED who I was. I slashed my body with razors, starved myself to be that “perfect size,” and STILL despised who I saw in the mirror. I could not stand to be around myself; yet, at the end of the day, we are all we’ve got.
As I got a little older, I started looking for love in men. I fell in love the summer going into my Sophomore year of college. He was the first boyfriend I had ever had and it was the first time I had invested my whole heart into another person. From the second we met, we were inseparable. I wanted to be with him every waking minute. I remember going on our first date and, over the next 3 days, being so antsy waiting for a follow-up text. We ended up becoming exclusive and I had the best summer of my life. Then that little bubble we were in ended because I went back to school, all the way in Northern Arizona. We did the long distance thing but that got to be too much due to a whole slew of different circumstances. Longest relationship I was in to date.
After him, I dated this guy for a couple months. It was a good distraction from the heartbreak I was feeling from my first boyfriend and the whole “moving home because I was hospitalized” thing. I admit, I probably dated him as a rebound from boyfriend #1 but at the time I didn’t think that. We binge-watched tv, he bought me presents, he would surprise me at work with food… I thought things were great and that we were in love.
Then he took advantage of me.
*PSA: LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU ARE DATING SOMEONE… IF YOU SAY NO THAT MEANS NO.*
Do not, for a second, think that just because you are dating someone that gives them OR you the right to do whatever you want to them or them to you. Relationships are about respect and if you do not respect each other’s boundaries, it won’t work.
I KID YOU NOT, a week after I ended things with boyfriend #2, I started dating my best friend. The one person who was there for me through everything, from hospitalizations to nights spent screaming and crying. The one person who I could explore with and stay in bed with and still feel that same amount of inspiration. I can’t even explain how truly in love I was with him. The depth and understanding that relationship brought into my life was truly a gift and I will always think about how blessed I am for having gotten to experience such love. We got engaged 4ish months after dating and I was the happiest I could have been… Unfortunately, the feeling wasn’t entirely mutual. Things ended and I was heartbroken, yet again.
That was a turning point for me.
I lost 30 pounds, started taking care of myself and putting my time and energy into ME instead of men. Yes, I have dated a bunch of guys over the past 3 years since the demise of my “happily ever after.” But… I now know what I want and don’t want and the second I feel like it’s not the right fit I end things, to not waste anyone’s time. Wasted time is my least favorite thing.
Through all of these (I was going to say failed relationships, but they weren’t failures as much as they were lessons) experiences, I have found out so much about who I am and who I want to be. I want to be someone who is always striving for greatness. Someone who doesn’t settle for ANYTHING less than I deserve. I have also come to realize what I want and don’t want in a partner. I want someone who is going to support all of my crazy, 2am ideas. Someone who will love me and hold me when I’m having a panic attack or going through one of my depressed episodes. Someone who will challenge me and push me to do better and be better, but in a loving way. Someone I can start a family with. Someone who won’t judge me when I can’t get out of bed. Maybe a little silly of a list, but those are just a couple things I’m looking for.
The best example of love I have ever seen is that of my parents. The way my dad still romances my mom 24+ years later. The way my mom surprises my dad with day dates. Is their relationship flawless? No. But their ability to move passed any fight or disagreement is truly awe-inspiring. Dreams and goals right there my dudes.
I know February is only really thought about for Valentine’s Day and it’s the “month of love,” but why not make EVERY SINGLE DAY about loving yourself?!?!?! I’m not perfect at it and find myself making nasty comments to myself in the mirror still but it is WAY less than before and I have definitely got a new sense of self love. I’m taking care of my body, mind and soul and it’s been the most beneficial thing I have ever done for myself.
I guess this post is to say that it’s okay to pour more into yourself than others sometimes. It will end up benefitting others in the long run, but self-love can be looked at as selfish. It’s not. I promise you.
Whatever you believe to be self-love, do it. Face masks? De-clog those pores. Weekend trip to the snow? Shred it up. New hair, new you? Chop it all off! Crying and dancing in your living room? Have at it. WHATEVER IT IS. Do what feeds your soul. Pour into yourself. Don’t sacrifice who you are for who someone wants you to be. I promise you won’t regret it.
Obviously, I’m not perfect at it but I am working on it. And as far as that special someone coming into my life… I’m in no rush. I still believe that he’ll show up on a white horse with 12 dozen roses and fireworks (I may just bump into him at a coffee shop but that’s pretty much the same thing). For now I’ll just dress to the nines to impress myself and that’s good enough.