Find Yourself Before You Find Love

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“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts

After a few years of living through the betrayal and anger of my ex husband, my friends decided it was time for me to start dating again.

They took me out to the bars, dressed me up, bought me drinks, and showed all the men how cute I was.

I didn’t feel cute. I felt like a fraud.

The bar scene was not for me. I felt like a piece of meat wrapped in cellophane on the shelf waiting for a man to decide which one he’d like to eat.

I dressed up in my newly skinny body and looked the part of the fun loving girl, but inside all I felt was desperation.

I put on make up so men would think I was pretty.

I went through tortures of pilates exercise so my body would look good for others to gaze at.

I smiled and giggled so men would think I was fun and funny.

I didn’t feel fun, funny, pretty, or like I wanted to be looked at. I felt scared.

I kept grasping at a portrait of who I wanted everyone to think I was. I so wanted to be this picture perfect representation that I thought men wanted. I wanted a man to like me so I could feel loved and validated.

I finally realized my imaginary self-portrait was who others wanted, not who I wanted to be now. I was not being true to my new self.

So I trashed the portrait, went home, and got my act together.

I wanted to find love again but not like this. Not by picking up someone in a bar who was looking for love in all the wrong places, just like I was doing. I needed to learn to love myself, because no one else could do it for me.

I wanted to find love by knowing who I was. Then I could find someone who complemented me. So I stopped going out and started to learn who I was, what I wanted in life, and what I deserved in a man.

What I did learn from speaking to men in bars is that real men want real women. I decided to learn how to be real. Learning how to be real would require some investigative research on my part. I had lost myself in my marriage. It was time to find me.

I decided to step out of my proverbial box. I had to try new things and figure out what activities I liked, and which ones I needed to stay away from.

I travelled to developing rural areas. I had my palm read and visited a mind reader. I went food tripping, took up yoga, learned to meditate, hiked on volcanoes, rode zip lines through the forest, joined book clubs, learned to meditate, I found out what tai chi was.

I started to visit international restaurants. I went to museums and hung out in coffee shops. I got into my first Wattpad organization and started to get active. I tried things I had always wanted to do but never could while I was married.

I had fun. I learned that I favored Chinese food over Italian food. I learned that I can forget all the troubles in the world whenever I bake. I learned things about me I never knew.

I stopped wearing most of the make up I had worn thinking it made me look good so men would like me. Instead I decided to look good for myself.

I stared at myself in the mirror and told myself over and over that I am beautiful, even though I didn’t believe it. The more I told myself I was beautiful, the more I began to feel good about myself.

I wanted my beauty to be defined by my self-confidence that began to return when I started to truly believe in what I began to represent.

I started to dress the way I wanted to feel, not the way I wanted to be looked at. I wanted free flowing clothes that I could move in. I wanted to be able to feel my body, not the clothes pinching me.

I started to exercise because it made me feel good, not so I would look good. I accomplished both by doing what I wanted for me, not for them. I found exercise that I loved to do. I increased my pilates exercise and kept on walking, even planning to try rowing and biking.

I stopped going to bars to meet men. Instead, I went to the occasional hang outs with friends.

I stopped looking at men as the answer to my problems and started looking at me to solve them.

I realized that to find a man that had the same interests I had, I better know what my interests are.

When I learned what I liked, I became happier than I had ever been before. I learned to be true to me, not someone else.

I realized that I had been incomplete without the knowledge to define my own boundaries, my likes, and my dislikes. Without knowing what my boundaries were, I would never attract a person into my life that could live within my boundaries. I had never known how to define and stand up for my own beliefs.

When I felt confident with my new self, it was then that I became ready with a new steady omnipresent love. He just knocks me off my feet, but he also teaches me that I am already far better educated to know how it pays to wait for that right timing specifically for what I wanted and how I wanted to be treated. It was far better than telling someone to take me on a romantic date, when I couldn’t define what I thought a romantic date was.

So get on with it, what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the beauty of life. Find out who and what you are. Live life by yourself; be happy by yourself. It’s your life; make it what you want. Don’t look for someone else to do it for you, because they can’t. Only you can know who you really are.

 

P.S. here’s a lovely playlist I made a year before I even met him which by the way gave me true inspiration that I have right now, hoping it would also give inspiration to others out there. XOXO

 

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An Open Letter To The Girl Who Waits

 

You deserve the best. I mean it with all my heart, with all my soul. A soul mate;  someone who we are beyond thrilled to meet. We are thrilled to know where we will meet them, how we will meet them and most importantly, what they are like. We wonder if we will meet them in college or in a place we aren’t even aware exists yet. In the absolutely cheesiest way possible, we are thrilled to know whose name will be beside ours on our wedding invitations, whose name will be beside ours on our child’s birth certificate, whose pillow will be beside ours come morning. We are thrilled to know our soul mate, but let’s start being thrilled without anxiety. Let’s start being thrilled while resting in who our God is. Let’s be thrilled knowing that if they are indeed our soul mate, our souls will indeed mate.

We love to fall in love. We love to be liked, to be noticed, to be desired. I am not talking about young girls in general. I am not even talking about women in general. I am talking about human beings in general. We love to love and even more, love to be loved. Our problem today is that we are settling. We are settling for men that hold doors behind them instead of in front of them. We are settling for surface level relationships when we should be seeking deeper conversations, deeper moments. We are settling for, “talking,” for “things” when we should have an, “if you know, you know, let’s do something about this or I’ll be on my way,” kind of mindset. We are texting. We are snapchatting. We are liking each others’ Instagram posts. Let’s not settle for social media flirtation. If they really like you, they will like the real you more than the social media you. We are settling for a twenty-first century relationship when we should be seeking an everlasting love.

 

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We should not be throwing in the towel simply because we realize they snort when they laugh, sing too loudly in the car or snore when they sleep. We are people. We are a lovely mess and masterpiece all at once. We should not be expecting a man without flaws, as he should not be expecting a woman without them. We should not be giving up because we are fighting every once in a while. Because in every relationship worth something, there will be fights about anything and everything. We should not be giving up because the other person in the relationship is simply human. We should not be expecting a perfect man, but a respectable and loving one.

We should be expecting a gentleman. We should be expecting men who come from women who have raised them right and not settling for anything less. We should be expecting treatment fueled from our God’s love for us and not our generation’s standards. There is no perfect man out there, but there is man who will be perfect for you. There is a laugh that will create a beautiful harmony when aligned with yours. There are eyes that will tear up when they view you in a white dress. There are hands that will hold you when you have had enough and feet that will dance with you in the kitchen on a Monday night.

 

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Love is a two way street. We should be treated how we have desired to be treated throughout our whole lives and also be willing to return this treatment to them as well. You cannot expect a breathtaking love story if he is the only one writing it, nor should he expect one if you are the only author. Don’t believe the lies the world tries to tell you when you begin to believe that a kind, passionate and Christ like man is unrealistic. Do not believe them when they tell you, you are living in a fantasy world, because you crave a more meaningful relationship than the rest of the world. You simply have higher standards than the others and you will one day see the great gift of high standards convert into a high valued relationship.

Relationships end. We cannot be looking forward to a full life while simultaneously looking forward to a life of no heartbreak, no heartbreaking and no lessons learned. They end, you cry, you hurt, you go on. . They often end solely because it was not meant to be. Maybe your senses of humor do not line up. That’s no one’s fault. Maybe you’re too outgoing for him. That’s no one’s fault. On the other hand, relationships have the potential of ending when one or two involved in the relationship were not putting in their best effort. There is the option of settling when you are putting in 100% while he is putting in 20% at most. There is the option of seeing what is in front of you, being too scared that no one else will love you like they do, and staying out of fear. When you settle, your sadness, your absence of fulfillment, your emptiness is no longer his problem, it is yours. Yes, blunt and rough; it is yours. We can blame others mistakes and lack of love on them, but when we stay in these places of comfort, we are hurting ourselves more.

 

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You do not deserve a twenty-first century  relationship. You don’t deserve a relationship centered on read receipts or likes on social media. You deserve a relationship centered on Love, a relationship centered on something greater than the two of you combined. You do not deserve to be cheated on, under any circumstances, ever. You deserve someone who would never think of leaving you, seriously. You deserve to be appreciated, not judged for the intelligent, beautiful, worthy of love, human that you are. You don’t deserve to be embarrassed by rude tipping habits. You deserve to be proud of all that your partner is. You do not deserve to feel like the only one in the relationship. You deserve to feel like there is another person, also putting 100% in on the other side. You don’t deserve a car honk or a text. You deserve a doorbell ring. You do not deserve to be treated less than. You deserve to be treated like the most important human in the world.

Do not sell yourself short. Do not be afraid. Because if it is not who you are with, someone is even better. No matter how hard that is to believe, God’s greatest gifts are upgrades. Know that if he won’t, someone else will. If he won’t treat you like you believe you should be and desire to be treated, that does not mean that no one ever will. You should not feel like you are settling at any point. If you are settling, you are better off alone. If he is unfaithful, you are better off alone. If he is treating you in a way below your expectations and your standards, you are better off alone.

 

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Know that if he isn’t kind to waiters, there is someone who is. If he doesn’t shake hands and make good eye contact, there is someone who does. If he doesn’t pull your chair out for you, someone else will. If he cancels on you often, there is someone who will be there ten minutes early. If he is constantly red faced and yelling, there is someone who finds no need to do so. If he doesn’t walk you to the door because it is too outdated, know there is someone who believes the exact opposite. If he doesn’t remember small details, know there is a relationship in which you will find yourself surprised as to how much they know about you. If he doesn’t go out of his way, know there is someone else who will.

If you wouldn’t marry them, don’t date them. That’s one of my biggest pieces of advice from my seventeen year old single self. If you wouldn’t want to wake up to their face personality, each day, seven days a week, for the rest of your life, don’t waste your time now. If you wouldn’t want your kids to be just like them, don’t waste your time now. Wait for someone you would never associate the word, “settle,” with. Wait instead of settling. Wait because there is someone who will look at you in a way you didn’t know was possible. Wait because there is something greater, a relationship between soul mates, and not just, “loved to be loved,” young people. Wait because there is someone who would never allow you to settle. Wait patiently with love because if he won’t, someone else will. ♥

 

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