In the end, there are three things that matter……
How much you loved.
How gently you lived.
How gracefully you let go of the things that were not meant for you.
Of the three, the one I struggle with, is the last one. If there is anything that Valentine’s Day taught me this year, it’s this – I owe myself the love that I so freely give to other people. Sometimes that means walking away. Sometimes that means letting go. When it’s all said and done, sometimes it means that you have to lose something or someone, to find yourself.
I distinctly remember a time when I was in a conversation with a group of friends and someone (jokingly) made the comment, “Monica, you’re like a chameleon and can blend with anyone.” Even though they meant it as a compliment, it surprised me how much it hurt my heart to hear. That got me to thinking, how often am I “blending” with the crowd and not putting one foot forward to stand out on my own? How often am I absorbing the likes and dislikes of those around me because I am afraid that my differences won’t be embraced?
Do I even see my value and how much do I truly love myself?
We live in a world that looks at singleness as loneliness, as though having a partner defines our existence. Unpopular opinion – singleness is a gift. It’s an opportunity to search our hearts and discover who we really are, the person we were, before the world told us who we should be. The path down the road of singleness is one paved with many lessons that should be viewed as learning opportunities. I don’t have to be someone I’m not, for the sake of not being alone.
I know, I get it. On days like Valentine’s Day, it’s difficult to look around seeing all the love and not get discouraged. Rest easy my single friends, our special day is coming – but it won’t be on our timetable. See, I’ve found that the foundation of who we are begins with knowing where we’ve come from; and, when you know where you’ve come from, you have the self-esteem to walk into any room, with or without someone by your side.
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” (Proverbs 31:25)
Good self-esteem is like a superpower. It’s amazing when you have it — you can sail through life, enjoying the good bits and using your self-love shield to protect you from haters and negaters. But when you don’t have it, the concept can seem impossible, frightening, and unattainable. Loving yourself is a radical act, but life is SO much easier if you do. Do you find yourself often saying, “I’m tired of the same old relationships” or “all guys/girls are the same” after a breakup? Let me introduce a concept to you: what you resist, will persist. If you find yourself repeating patterns, it’s because God will withhold changing your circumstances when He is trying to change YOU in the circumstance. The thing is, we should never put a comma where God put a period. So, if He allows us to endure the same situation over and over, there is clearly a lesson He needs us to learn.
For me, that lesson was this – I had to love myself before I would ever be capable of truly loving another person. One year ago, on Valentine’s Day, I came to the realization that it was time for a new relationship……with myself.
Everything in your life flows from your relationship with yourself. Learn to treat yourself like someone worthy of love, respect, and compassion, and your life will flow more effortlessly, abundantly, and joyfully than you can imagine. Treat yourself like someone worthy of contempt, disdain, and indifference, and each day will be a struggle to keep your head above water. The unfortunate part is that most people never put much energy into their relationship with themselves. They drift through life acting as their own worst critic, working to inhibit their potential, and keeping their hearts and minds guarded. I know that sounds dramatic, but pause for a moment. If you spoke to your children or family the way you speak to yourself (in your head), what effect do you think it would have on them?
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.
The thing to remember here is that learning to love yourself is a process, and often a slow one so don’t expect your world to change overnight. Incremental changes are usually the most sustainable. I’m not sure when being single became some sort of disease that everyone wants to get rid of, but I do know this – there will always be someone who doesn’t see your worth. Don’t let it be you.
As I sat across from my girlfriends last night, at our Galentine’s Dinner, it occurred to me how much I had grown since the year before. I’ve learned to walk away from things that no longer bring out the best in me. I’ve learned to let go of the things not meant for me. I’ve even learned to embrace the purpose of pain. But, the most important lesson that resonated with me, is that I’ve learned to be comfortable in my own skin. I’m a work in progress, but I’m comfortable being uncomfortable. Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. If we’re not growing, are we even really living?