Four Lessons Learned In My Year of Self-Love
This week, I wanted to talk about self-love and the journey toward self-love. I’ve used this quote before in a post, but I think it is just so perfect. I love Sex and the City, and one of Carrie’s famous quotes is “Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” I have always loved this quote and have always heard people say that you can’t truly love another person or give them everything until you learn to love yourself and give yourself everything first. I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always lived by this mantra myself.
Around this time last year, I had just gotten out of a relationship, and I knew it was time for me to take some time to really learn how to be on my own. I didn’t truly know who I was independent of a relationship, so I made a promise to myself to be single and not enter a serious relationship for at least a year. It was about time that I started actively practicing self-love rather than seeking it out from someone else. I’ll admit, I was a little hesitant in making this promise. At the time, I didn’t feel like I had enough faith in myself to believe I could honor that promise, no matter how sad or lonely I felt. A year later, I am proud to say that I did kept my promise, and this has been a year full of growth, self-reflection, and lessons learned.
So, what have I learned? Here are some of the most important lessons I have embraced, for better or for worse, in my first year of true self-love:
I learned…how independent I am.
Cultivating independence after spending a lot of time being dependent on other people is one of the toughest things for me in the last year. I spent a lot of time looking for approval and justification from other people, and I realized that not only did I not need that validation from someone else, but I was capable of giving myself all the validation that I would ever need. I’m a very poor decision maker, so I always looked to someone else to back me up in what I was saying, doing, or choosing and by doing that I wasn’t always allowing myself to listen to and trust my intuition. Cultivating my relationship with my intuition is something that I always shoved down, because I knew I could count on someone else to help me decide, rather than just listening to what MY heart and gut were telling me. At the end of the day, my intuition is never going to go away, so why shouldn’t I work on trusting it?
I also spent a lot of time not doing things myself because I knew someone else would help me or take care of it. While it always made my life a little bit easier, I realize now how unhealthy that constant dependency was! The one person that will remain constant in your life is YOU! I think it is important to become as independent as we possibly can so that as we move forward in life, we won’t constantly be seeking some kind of dependency in any aspect of our lives!
I learned…how important my friendships are.
I could write a whole separate post on this note, that’s how strongly I feel about it. I love my girlfriends more than anything, and this year really helped me be a better friend and strengthen my friendships. For the first time in four years, most of my close girl friends and I found ourselves all single all at the same time and we bonded even more than we ever had before. Being that it was my first-year single in a long time, I really leaned on my girls to get me through the moments of sadness and frustration I felt. When I needed someone to snuggle up and drink wine with, they were always there. Whenever I felt like giving up on my promise of self-love, they were right behind me to pick my back up and remind me what I was working towards. Next to myself, they are the other constant relationships I have in my life that I now know will last me a lifetime. I truly can’t imagine valuing my friendships any other way than how I value them now.
I learned…I am strong enough to get through tough times.
When I have been in relationships in the past, whenever something went wrong or I was upset and having a bad day, having that one individual to turn to always seemed like a security blanket. I knew I’d have someone to turn to who would unconditionally listen to me or bring me ice cream, or even just sit with me. Now, I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who would do all of that for me if I ever asked them to, but the relationship with friends/family in that way just never felt the same as it did with a significant other, if that makes sense? This year has been FULL of upsets, especially in the last six months, and sometimes, not having that one special person to turn to was hard and just different. But ultimately, NOT having that one person to turn to made me MUCH stronger. I have learned how to handle upsets and bad days on my own by developing my own healthy habits rather than dumping all my problems onto someone else. It’s a skill I think will serve me well in life, and I’m grateful for it.
I learned…how to value being on my own.
I’m an extrovert, but also an introvert. I think living with roommates in college (love you girls) did just make me value my alone time, and I cherish the times I can just sit in quiet and kind of do whatever I want. Obviously, when you’re in a relationship sometimes you have to sacrifice some of your alone time! I think at the place I was in last year I was looking to have some more time to focus on me and my personal growth. This year has given me just that! Were there lots of times I felt the exact opposite feeling and didn’t want to be by myself after having always spent my time with someone else? Sure. But being on my own helped me create more space for the things I needed/wanted to focus on in my education, my career, and my personal life.
This past year opened my eyes and shown me all I needed and wanted to work on within myself, and has also taught me a lot about my worth and what I expect from people that I allow into my life going forward. It also allowed me to be a little selfish with my time and my energy, as most 20-something’s should really have the freedom to do anyway! Life with a significant other was always special and beautiful in its own way, but life without one has also been special and beautiful too. I love myself more now than I think I have ever loved myself, and I have this year centered on self-love to thank for that. Simply, all in an effort to be better for myself, my friends, my family, and for people I haven’t even met yet.
Lots of love xoxo