How Learning To Love Myself Helped Me Find Love
I'm a total sucker for romantic comedies. I'm pretty sure my hubby Ryan and I have seen every decent romcom out there at this point ;)
I love LOVE, but it wasn't until I truly learned to love myself that I was able to explore and allow someone else to unconditionally love me.
What does love have to do with health and nutrition, you ask?
You know that “butterfly” feeling you get when you’re first starting to fall in love, and all that matters is spending time with that special person? If you've been in that space before, you know love can fuel your life more than any amount of kale or super foods.
I’ve never been the girl who dreamed of the perfect man, the perfect wedding, or a white-picket fence kind of life. And for whatever reason, I ended up getting all of those things…and more.
There wasn’t a particular day when I decided that I was ready for love and headed out on a mission to find my soul mate. In fact, I felt quite the opposite.
But a day did come when I made the decision to live my life for me.
In November of 2012, I ended a three-year relationship that was heading towards marriage. It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever made. To add insult to injury, I had been fired from my job two months prior. I wrote about those two life-changing events in a blog years ago that you can read here.
That cold November day is one that I will be forever grateful for. I must’ve hit a breaking point (as they say, sometimes you have to hit your version of rock bottom before you’re ready to lift yourself up), because from that moment on I knew I was ready for a different life. I didn’t know what that meant exactly at the time, but I had finally accepted that the way I was living wasn’t working. I woke up with a huge smile on my face and a newfound sense of self that made me feel like I was walking on clouds. But I was left wondering…
Why had I stayed in several relationships that I knew weren’t working?
Was I afraid of being alone?
Did I fear the unknown?
I realized there was one key element missing as I reflected on my past relationships.
Although I was a confident woman in many ways, I didn’t feel I was worthy of the kind of love I was looking for.
It was time to look in the mirror. Through a few chats with my amazing girlfriends and plenty of time spent looking back on the past few years, I came to one conclusion:
I was finally ready to be in a relationship with myself.
Before I could fully commit to another human being, to let him love me completely and reciprocate the same love back to him, I had to learn to love myself.
And in the process...
Let the messy parts hang out.
Stop trying to be so perfect all the time.
Decide NOT to accept any form of disrespect or belittlement.
Stop apologizing for my “flaws.”
Ten days after leaving my previous relationship, I ran into Ryan after having met him months prior. Throughout our courtship, I was as true a version of myself as I had ever let anyone see. The same applied to Ryan. And I wholly believe that is why we knew within a matter of months that we had found our soul mate within each other.
He didn’t want me to be perfect. In fact, he loved every little messy part of me:
How I’m as clumsy as they come and may ruin expensive things in the future because I spill quite frequently. (Like everyday).
How I complain about how clean my Mom is, then nag him for not putting his dishes in the dishwasher.
How honest I am about my past, even when it’s difficult to share.
How I always try to see the best in people, even when I end up getting hurt and he’s the one comforting me.
How I pretend like I’m not a “girly girl,” but I could just shop until I drop!
The list goes on and on…and on. Ryan even says it in our wedding video, which you can view below. We wrote our own vows, and reading them to each other in front of our family and friends was the most special moment of my life to date. As Ryan says in the video, every day we get to spend together is the greatest day of our lives. And we mean it. I never knew that love like this could exist, and I’m so grateful that I was able to let go of perfection and simply be myself so that it could happen as easily as it did.
I shared our entire love story (and full wedding video!) in this post.
My hope for you is that you find someone (or you’re with someone) who loves your soul—the very part of you that makes you, YOU. That’s truly all we can ask for in life. Love is powerful, and if you’re with a partner that makes life even better when you’re together, then I’d say you’ve hit the jackpot.
What’s your story? Are you in an amazing relationship? If so, what keeps your relationship strong? If you’re single, what are you looking for when it comes to love?