Waiting For Love Will Drive You Mad.
Why wait for it, when you could be loving yourself?
I'm not a needy person but like all of us, I enjoy being in love. I remember those young days when I would spend my time in the mirror, carefully doing my hair and my make-up while praying I would find the one who would love me. I remember changing my behaviour and my appearance a million times over just so that I would look the part for the first hot and steamy man or woman who might look my way.
I have a problem with those words hot and steamy. Sometimes 'hot and steamy' is not everything we think that good looking man or woman is. Looks can be misleading. Let me tell you a true-life experience:
I met a man in the summer of 1997 who I thought had everything. He was slightly younger than me. He was about 3ft taller than me with gorgeous dark eyes, dark hair, and he dressed smartly. He worked in a hospital and he appeared friendly.
He was caring, good company and a great conversationalist until he realized that he could pull other women and that I was very vulnerable. Up to this point, he had been supporting me, loving me and helping with the kids.
We started clubbing together, and he would take a long time to do his hair and choose clothes. He said, "I only do this because I know I'll get pulled." I felt that this was disrespectful towards me, especially because he said he had met the one, and didn't want anybody else. The result? He slept behind my back several times, even with women he didn't know, and when I called him out on his behaviour, he became progressively nasty towards me. I called it off, and he started bringing his friends around in gangs, ignoring my call and expecting me to act as nothing had happened.
This was a man who I decided had potential because he looked good and was smart. However, he wasn't smart enough to understand how a relationship worked.
My problem was after ending a violent and abusive relationship, I was desperate to be liked and loved. My self-esteem and confidence had been shot by what I had been through, and I was looking and hoping to find love from this man that simply did not exist.
In other words, I was waiting for love, instead of teaching myself to love myself because I felt lonely and unwanted.
These feelings came from a place of vulnerability as a person who felt insecure in herself and as a parent. I did not like myself much and after many years of putdowns, I was unconfident in myself.
I thought the only way to love myself was to be in love with another.
I fell into a cycle of unhealthy relationships because of these feelings. I was reaching out to those who looked good, had good jobs but were insecure like myself. These men and women, despite having looks and good work were drinkers, druggies and abusers. I also ended up in a love affair with people who were criminals, though I never found out until these relationships ended.
I felt this was all I was worth, abuse became normalized to me.
I did break the pattern eventually. However, it was a hard one to break:
1. I had to learn to look after myself and appreciate my own physical appearance before I could learn to love and respect myself again.
2. I had to learn to love and appreciate what I had in front of me. Some days, I struggled with this, because it was just me and my children. I soon learned after a year of struggling but with support how to manage this.
3. As a single parent who had vulnerabilities. Not having time to myself felt like something that was never allowed. I had to let go of that guilt, and build my own hobbies and interests so that I could separate myself as a person from 'just mum.'
3. My children were looked after for a while from 1997 to 1999 at this time. I spent a period of this time alone before meeting my husband in hospital in 1998. I had to spend time finding myself before I could allow anyone to love me again.
Although the above was a rocky period in my life before I married. I learned a valuable lesson.
Why wait for love, when you could be loving yourself?
Don't misunderstand me here, I love my husband to bits. However, we too went through a stage of not being able to love ourselves as individuals.
The result was, we had difficulty accepting ourselves as individual people, and we ended up behaving and trying to be completely like each other without knowing that we were doing it.
We had to try and save our relationship while saving ourselves. We started by accepting that we didn't have to lose the things we liked about ourselves just to love each other, and by accepting that we sometimes did things differently to each other.
We eventually realized that we didn't need to wait for love in order to prove we loved each other. We loved each other anyway, despite the differences and we were able to retain those individual parts that made us who we are as separate people.
The point is waiting for others to love you is an unhealthy way to live. So start loving yourself, and never settle for second best or a partner who tries to change you. The right one will come along, and once you learn to accept each other as individuals, you'll enjoy your relationship more.
On the other hand, you don't really need a relationship to know you are loved. You are more than capable and worthy of loving yourself.