3 months after my marriage ended I was in a pretty low place that included lack of self worth, lack of hope and throwing myself the biggest pity party I had ever thrown. Sure I talked about it, but I was also embarrassed about how I was feeling. It’s a little hard now to even admit. I’m all about being vulnerable. But then I second guess myself because I’m worried I sound too whiny, too insecure, too anything that’s not attractive or pleasing.
Through this transformation, I have desperately wanted to show the world that yes I was hurting, but I was strong and healthy and happy. I wanted to show my friends and family that they could count on me to get through it, that they could count on me to get back to myself.
I know that that part is true now, that I will get back to myself, it’s just a different version. But I also know that I have to be okay with the hard and lonely parts of me too. Because they are still going on and unfortunately are just a part of life.
Slowly but surely I am realizing that I have had a major ingredient missing from my story, missing from my healing: self love. Slowly but surely I am figuring out how to love myself again.
I am 29 and have never truly been alone. I was the girl that has had a boyfriend since 4th grade when I sent my first “do you like me” note. But after my husband left, I hit the kind of lonely where I was willing to choose anyone because I knew I had so much love to give. And since I had so much love in me, surely it was meant for someone else right? I just wanted a distraction from the pain of my divorce. I wanted a distraction from the pain of rejection.
Obviously I knew this was so crazy unhealthy. I had therapists and family and friends telling me to make peace with being by myself. But at night (nights are the worst), when you are in the depths of wondering if you will be single for enternity (dramatic I know), it is easy to convince yourself that the next potential person that walks into your life could and must be the one.
For the last few months as a newly single person I have spent a lot of time thinking about a future partner. But what I have now realized is that has been the opposite of what I actually need to think about.
Instead of falling in love with someone else, I need to fall back in love with myself.
Man that felt good to say. Since I’m all about some words, those are the words that are going to be on repeat in my confused and chaotic mind and heart right now: I need to love myself.
I want to date myself. I want to get excited about spending time with me. I want to nurture myself, honor myself, be gentle with myself and fall head over heels in love with myself. Eventually, yes, I want to be the kind of person other people want to date. I want to be fun and kind and loving and nurturing to someone else. But right now I want to be all of this to myself. I need to be all of this for myself.
I know how this works. In fact I’ve known it since I started dating. “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself”. I heard that a lot as a dating teenager and young adult thanks to my therapist mother. Of course she’s right. She usually is.
But, that statement is a little too black and white for me. I do think I could probably love someone right now. But obviously my path is showing me I need to love me first.
If I start by taking care of myself I have a feeling that I will find my person. Because once I am more whole, I will be ready for my person and they will be ready for me. I will be able to give them the best version of myself. And that’s what my future person deserves. That’s what I deserve too.
I need accountability though. This blog is the perfect place for it. I can go back and read these words and remind myself of where my love that is building up inside of me needs to go- it needs to go straight back to me (and Owen of course).
I have already started the slow process of falling in love with myself. I recently read a quote that tugged at my heart strings:
“I fall in love like I fall asleep. Slow and then at once”.
That’s about where I am with myself. I am still falling slowly. It’s kind of like my running. For the last 4 months I have become a runner. And each month I run a little farther, a little faster and a little harder. But it has taken time. It has taken a lot of self talk, motivation and a ton of endurance.
I have had some pretty major setbacks in my own love affair where I feel like I have too many issues to work on. But then I have that moment where I tell myself “no. Stop that. You are loving and beautiful and thoughtful and funny and kind”.
Yes, I have issues. I’m pretty sure we all have issues. So I am working through mine. And as I do I am falling harder and harder, for me.