I've had a couple of different things on my mind for the topic of today's Life Chats. The one that seemed to scream the loudest to me was love. That's right, l-o-v-e. With all of the weddings, engagements, and babies going on around me the one question that often comes up is "Why aren't you dating anyone?" Believe me, it comes up more than I would like to admit. The short simple answer is that I choose to be single right now, but truthfully there is a deeper meaning. I don't owe anyone an explanation of course, but after recently talking about this with friends and even getting this question from a few readers, I decided to open up about it.
Without getting into too much detail about my dating history, I will just say that I have had my heart broken many times in the past. I was cheated on more than once. I never really picked the right guys, especially in college. I had one horrible relationship and another on and off one that went on for several years. I've only been in love once although back then I thought I had fallen in love several times. I was the girl who became too emotionally involved to the point where I let it consume me too much. I didn't understand the difference between wanting someone and needing someone. When a guy hurt me, it seemed like it was the end of the world and because of that I started to lose my sense of self. A friend said to me once during a time when the love of my life let me walk away, "You lived before him and you will live after him." To this day it's something that I will always remember. When you're cheated on or not treated the way you deserve to be, it can be detrimental to the way that you see yourself. And I admit it, it made me very insecure for a very long time.
When my father died, something clicked inside of me. For the first time in my life I had experienced true heartbreak. This pain was so much greater than all of the other times I thought I had been hurt in the past. I mean those other "heartbreaks" didn't even compare. I just knew right then and there that I needed to make changes not just with guys, but with the way that I saw myself. I needed to feel lost and broken so that I could find my way back and put the pieces together again. So for a very long time I chose to stay single so that I could truly focus on ME. As cliché as it sounds, I needed to work on the most important relationship and that is the one with myself. For the first time in what felt like forever, I started to put myself first again. Time after time I had made these guys a priority when I was only an option to them and I refused to continue that cycle. It wasn't really until I turned 30 that I learned to let go of most of the insecurities that I had held on to for so long. I felt confident again and comfortable in my own skin. I had completely rebuilt myself and chased after my dreams full force. I put my heart and soul into everything that I did. Sometimes people view being single as sad and lonely and in fact it's been quite the opposite for me. I think in order to be happy with someone else you need to learn to be happy on your own first. So that is what I did and it's been empowering.
Of course I have dated and met guys within the last several years, but my outlook has changed and I have changed. I won't settle ever again. I've made myself a priority for so long now that I admit it's a little scary to give a man a significant role in my life again. I've put up a few walls that weren't there before. When the time is right though and more importantly when the guy is the right one, then I am sure love will happen for me. There are still so many goals that I want to accomplish on my own and some things that I still need to prove to myself before I am ready to completely share my life with someone. I am in no rush and I don't want to force something just so that I can say I am in a relationship. I could easily meet someone next year and that could be it for me or maybe it won't happen until I am 40. Either way, I am OK with both outcomes. Loving someone and being in love is truly amazing. Now that I have learned to love myself again, I know what I am worth and what I deserve so I will be ready for it.
This was really personal for me to share with all of you, but given the conversations that I have had with others about it, I feel like it could help someone who has gone through the same struggle. The journey of self acceptance and appreciation can sometimes be a long one, but it's worth it. Never forget how amazing and worthy you are. <3