“Sometimes to find love we must first love ourselves. In loving ourselves, we uncover our relationship with love.” –The Autumn Witch
We all have our own issues and problems in regards to love-whether that be love for ourselves, our family, our friends, our significant other, or even the overall conception of just love. It’s this very misunderstanding and misconceptions that can lead to us dreading and abhorring certain days like today-Valentine’s Day. I can already hear the collective groan! It isn’t because I’m single that I despise it but the simple over commercialization of what love should look like which leads to an over inflated sense of grandeur as well as expectations.
That doesn’t mean that I dislike romance and lovey-dovey schmutz either because believe me, I do! I’d noticed recently my dislike for Valentine’s Day has only increased and grown worse but I wasn’t sure why. Sure, I’m single but I choose to be. I value my independence, time, and interests. There’s just a lot I want to do and unless I happen upon a man who shares those exact passions, I feel like I’m settling. That I’m forcing myself to give up and that’s not my thing. For example: I want to travel the world and teach abroad. I’ve actually been researching a potential opportunity to teach English abroad for a year in a country that I do speak the language of which would be an amazing opportunity (don’t want to give too much away–better not jinx it!), however when I guy starts talking to me and wanting to become serious, I totally freak. The men I’ve talked to either already have children, which isn’t the problem for me, but also love the area they are living in or have explicitly stated they’ve done all the travelling they wanted. We end up wanting two very different things!
OR this was the excuse I was always mumbling to myself whenever I would either decline any offers for a date or when I would end the relationship all together. It’s not that I’m a flake but there was something deeper to it that I just wasn’t acknowledging–or even willing to uncover! I wasn’t being real with myself. Well, recently I’ve begun a journey of self-love which has already been incredible. Suffering from low self-esteem and confidence, this has been a major eye-opener for me and it was through this love for myself that I began to open my heart up. With this came those emotional wounds, those shadows of my past.
It actually wasn’t something I had planned on doing as I wasn’t even aware I had deeper, more rooted issues that were plaguing my love life until this morning when I drew my card for the day which I’ll include the link below for! This card signaled there was some relationship and emotional issues that needed to be resolved before I could be free and move on. I knew I’m still pining over an ex-boyfriend of mine who was the ideal man for me–having been sixteen at the time meant I had been afraid of that serious commitment even though I could envision us getting married one day. Wait, how could I be afraid of the promise to stay together yet I could see us happily married with kids? Simple. It’s because I was afraid of settling down and not making anything out of myself. I was afraid that if I remained with him then I would give up my dreams of traveling and even maybe my dream of going to college. Over dramatic? Definitely but being an emotional teenage girl, that was who I was.
So, I dumped him. Except not in the best way possible. I dumped him for his best friend that we both worked with. Yikes. I know how wrong it was and actually ended up dumping his friend the same night I dumped my boyfriend because we just weren’t compatible in the least bit. I’d gone from someone I cared deeply about to someone who was only really looking a girl to have a fun time with. My fear wasn’t the only thing that drove me to do it but also several other factors, such as only seeing and talking to him at work because he didn’t have a phone or car. That, my friends, gets lonely whereas the other one did. And he loved to text so going from only speaking to a guy four-five times a week to having a guy text you Good Morning….it isn’t that hard to understand why I felt drawn to the latter.
It wasn’t only with that boyfriend though that I’ve sabotaged it somehow but I didn’t understand why I did it. Sure, like I stated previously, fear of giving up on my dreams was one and a big one but that wasn’t the end of it. As I prepared for my day, I was showering and that was when it hit me. It’d been a conditioning from my childhood that I had repressed and swept underneath the rug–THEN add the failed relationships that I blamed myself for and continued blaming myself for. You see, my parents didn’t have the best of relationships and actually were two people who never should’ve gotten married. They constantly bickered and I could see how much my mom hated being in that relationship. She’d given up her dreams of going to college, of making something of herself and had instead settled for being married and immediately having children. I was born four days before my parents first anniversary.
Watching her regret her decision and relationship every day as a child subconsciously had resolved me to never allow myself to become tangled in that trap. I refused to. So whenever a relationship would be fine and well, I’d panic and do end it. I looked for any reasons to justify my leaving and there just never seemed a good enough reason to stay. Being given this fresher perspective, I’m able to work on my issues so that they don’t hinder me in the future. While I value my independence, if in the right relationship I won’t feel like I’ve lost that. This aha-moment has given me the opportunity to really examine what love truly means to me. I used to think love was a hindrance that wasn’t a luxury I could afford. I thought it looked as miserable as my parent’s marriage. I wanted this ideal perfect boyfriend who met such high standards because then I could easily argue against any relationship because they were below par. I was afraid. I still am. I’d be a fool to believe otherwise, however I now have the tools and capability to fix that conditioning since I can know understand why I believe it to be so.
If you find none of your relationships are panning out, take a step back. Reflect on each relationship and look for common themes. They’ll be there. Journaling would be a great way to do this! Take a honest look which can be hard as none of us want to admit our faults. I believe in you. If you want to do this but are having a hard time starting, try answering these questions:
- What does love mean to me?
- What does love look like?
- What is your ideal mate?
- Why are you afraid? What triggers you?
I know Spirit was telling me it was finally time to face those shadows and to learn to love again. Stop fighting. I don’t have to be in a relationship-that’s still my choice-but it will actually be of my own free will and not driven by fear. I give thanks to Spirit for that lesson this morning and know it’ll take some time but as I deepen my love for myself then so too will I deepen my ability to love others. If it wasn’t for that card this morning then I highly doubt I would’ve given much thought to the problem but instead only continued burying it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long and incredibly personal post which wasn’t easy for me to write. However, healing isn’t easy nor without pain. We’ve all been a points in our lives which we regret later on but each experience is meant to serve as a lesson and looking back now, I can objectively find lessons learned with each failed relationship. Were they indeed doomed as I believed or may they have actually worked out? Who knows. Either way, my next relationship will be completely free of my own choosing.
Brightest of Blessings!
The Autumn Witch
I wish you a day overflowing with love and joy! ❤