There are many different types of love. Love can have an incredibly positive effect on us but it can also have a powerful negative impact. Some love can be suffocating, some love can open us up to dreams we never thought possible.
Whatever love you have or have not yet experienced, there’s no doubting that until you find absolute, unconditional love for yourself there is a strong chance you won’t allow yourself to fully discover the joys of love with another person.
I always thought I had self love and blamed my partners for the breakdown of relationships. I was forever searching for a partner who would make me truly happy without realising that the only person who could achieve that was not my soulmate, but myself.
Often people will accuse self love of being selfish but it is not selfish. Allowing yourself to love and respect yourself is utterly selfless. By doing so, you are putting the best you that you can be, out there on the market for others to reap the benefits. Imagine having a partner who is so entirely secure in their own happiness that you simply get to enjoy their company without having to be the sole source of their happiness. I see it time and again, relationships bending under the pressure of one party needing the other to create their happiness. Often they are completely unaware of themselves doing it. I certainly wasn’t aware, I put so much pressure on my partners that I completely pushed them away. I so believed in what I watched in the movies and tv shows, I believed the tale they sold that you’re never really whole until you find your other half, that I didn’t think I could live my life alone.
After 5 years of single life, dating men who were never right for me yet me wanting so much to believe they were, I realised I was trying to mold myself into their view of the world. I was changing pieces of me to fit with their puzzle rather than presenting myself as a complete package alongside their complete package. I decided to stop dating and start dating myself for a while. I spent time figuring out what I wanted from life, what I enjoyed, what I loved, what I didn’t love. I traveled by myself, had nights in by myself, gave myself time with friends whom I loved and discovered the world of mindfulness. I built little rituals for myself, figured out what tiny, simple actions brought me the most joy. The ritual of relaxing in a long hot bubble bath, the ritual of having a cup of tea with a biscuit, the ritual of cleaning my flat from top to bottom whilst listening to my favourite podcast, jumping on a bus without checking the destination and having a day out wherever I ended up.
I learnt to love what I saw in the mirror, eating healthier foods and trying to exercise around my busy job. I finally started to take control of my own destiny and take charge of my own happiness. For the first time in my life I was able to say that I didn’t want or need a relationship and mean it.
The cliche to this story however is the moment that happened, I met my husband and embarked upon the first relationship I have ever felt truly happy in.
I call this a cliche but I think there is some truth in the saying “the moment you stop looking, your soulmate will appear”… however I don’t believe it is once you stop looking, but once you have found yourself. Your true, fabulous, unconditionally self loving self, that you you can be found by another who can match that love.