Love unexpectedly entered my life at a point when I was just starting to get to know myself. The inner work had just begun but I knew I was tired of playing games. I was tired of kidding myself into thinking I was more satisfied with hollow no strings attached relationships than I would be in a meaningful one. I wasn’t actively looking for a relationship but I was open to it. When it started off, I was very forthcoming with where I was in terms of not looking for anything serious. As time progressed and the relationship developed, I was more interested in it being something deeper. I was discovering who I was and he was there during the process. He accepted me without judgment or criticism. He embraced me for who I was without wanting to change me as I learned to love and embrace myself.
It’s no wonder we ended up getting married although there have been times I’ve been surprised our relationship has lasted. I’ve changed so much over the years as a result of the self-discovery, growth, and self-love I’ve cultivated. That has impacted our relationship in ways we didn’t foresee. As my self-love and self-worth reached more healthy levels, I began to treat myself differently. I believe that we teach others how to love us by the way we treat ourselves. The way I treated myself began to impact the dynamic of our relationship. It’s not that he wasn’t kind or loving. It’s that in the beginning, I didn’t feel I deserved such an incredibly kind and thoughtful person. The love he showed me was so genuine and I was just learning how to have a healthy relationship with myself and in turn be in a healthy relationship with him.
I was just learning how to love and accept myself and how to receive love from someone else. I was just starting to explore what it was like to not only discover who I was but to express it openly and confidently. I began to cultivate my self-love and I started to realize love was a birthright. As my self-love grew over the years, I was ok with the changes that came with it because it was a process for me. But for my husband, it was results without an understanding or awareness of the process. This put strain and stress on our relationship and we faced challenges and difficulties we weren’t always sure we’d be able to overcome. It’s taken a lot of work to get to where I am within myself and where we are within our relationship. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve learned so much from it and grown stronger because of it as has our marriage.
If there’s one thing I’ve found to be true, it’s that my level of self-love is the determining factor for everything in my life. Every choice I make, relationship I have, the way I operate, and the things I accept all stem from how deeply rooted my self-love was. In many cases, it wasn’t very deep at all. I also wasn’t able to receive love from others that I didn’t cultivate for myself. Sure, it gave me a temporary boost to be desired by someone but the boost was temporary and superficial. As soon as the moment was over, the feeling of validation began to fade and often times left me feeling even worse than before. It might not be what you want to hear but for me, the only way I’ve found to feel that deep sense of love I yearned for was by learning to love and accept myself first. For me, true love didn’t happen like a fairy tale or romantic comedy. True love was cultivated within and that opened the door to receive it from another.
Sending lots of love your way!
Former seeker of love from others turned women’s worthiness coach
To help you cultivate your self-love and learn to build it within instead of search for it from others, I encourage you to sign up for the Kindness Practice. It’s a 7-week guided journey of self-love through kindness.