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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This Is Why I’m Guarded

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 Reblog. Credits to (c) Nicole Tarkoff

A/N: This is what I get from watching The Healer last Saturday, too much Korean heavy drama.

To Gymbae,

Mianhae oppa….joesonghamnida….

There’s a reason why my walls are built so high, and there’s a reason it will take you longer than expected to bring them down. There’s a reason why I’m guarded.

I’m guarded because I’ve been hurt before. We all have. My weakness is that I carry the pain with me as a constant reminder that it could happen again. And while this is such a cautious way to walk through life, while instead I could be wildly sprinting, the wild sprint has made me fall and trip before, and the scrapes and burns were painful. So painful that it takes a while to try and run that fast again. So I walk, and I walk carefully noticing my surroundings because I worry if I were to ever fall that hard again, I might not be able to get back up.

I’m guarded because I’m scared of what you’ll think, but not scared enough to admit it. I fear your disapproval like a little girl fears the monster under her bed, and right now I will just keep quiet to avoid any disturbance.

I’m guarded because no one has ever protected me as well as I protect myself. My own armor has been stronger than yours, or his, or hers, and it will continue to be until someone shows me otherwise.

I’m guarded because I’m no stranger to failure, and while it has made me stronger, it has also made me more aware of all that can go wrong.

I’m guarded because I’ve mistakenly invested my trust in those who took it for granted, and because of their disregard, I no longer hand that trust out so easily.

I’m guarded because I see the damage coming before it even happens, and I know that the lucky ones will tell me how unreasonable, pessimistic, and sad this all sounds, but even when you try to tell yourself that this time is different, the reminder seeps back in.

Life will bring hurt and pain, and people will disappoint you, but no one has the ability to break down your walls except for you. I’m guarded because I’ve chosen to be that way.