Do you remember your first love? Oh, I do. The rush! The urgency! The passion! No one could tell me that we were not meant to be. Young and uncertain, I blossomed in his adoration. I believed in us and most importantly, I believed in myself with him by my side.
And then he cheated. Over and over and over, he cheated.
I was shattered, of course. I blamed myself for not being able to keep his attention. I hated him for calling to tell me that he loved me then hanging up the phone and sleeping with another woman. He played with my emotions and I allowed it because to me, dysfunctional love was better than no love at all.
I didn’t know it at the time, but what he took away from me was more than just his loyalty or a sense of companionship. He took away the image I’d created of myself, the way I perceived myself through his eyes. Through him, I saw myself as a prize. When he cheated, I fell from grace. I felt like I’d been thrown away, and I couldn’t understand, if I had ever been special to him at all, how could he treat me so recklessly?
After that, I chased that feeling for years. Looking for men to make me feel whole, to give me the attention I craved and make me feel special. But there was always disappointment. I screwed things up; they screwed things up – either way I continued to feel incomplete. Searching high and low for love, stealing love, and putting love on layaway – I played all the games, got the same results.
What I feared most was becoming a bitter woman who had lost her faith in love. I remember asking myself: what can I do, how can I protect myself so that I’m never in this situation again, where my peace of mind is completely dependent on the whims and attitudes of someone else? That’s when I finally turned to face myself, when the love of others just would not quite do.
If you feel that love is being withheld from you, guess what? You are only withholding it from yourself. Whether you are single or not, when you know what you love about yourself, there is no one who can take that away from you. You are the person that you are guaranteed to spend your entire life with. You. The relationship you have with yourself, how you make yourself feel through your thoughts, your actions, your vibrations, those are the things that matter and shape your experience. Every day that you wake up with yourself is a day that you can be gratuitously in love with yourself, complemented but not completed by the love of others.
When you think about your ideal mate, the things they will say and do and the way they will treat you, you are thinking about the way you must first treat yourself. People will come and go, but you will always have you. Love yourself accordingly.
GG Renee Hill is a writer, blogger and soulful living coach based in the Washington DC area. She writes to help women embrace their complexity and live authentic, creative lives. You can find her sprinkling love dust daily on her blog, All the Many Layers. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ggreneewrites.