Over the years, I’ve encountered a lot of opportunities to understand love in ways that I wasn’t quite ready for. Love in all its beauty has great benefits, but more often than not, I found myself on the opposite end of bliss. I felt like I was always taking the short, blunt end of the stick. Crediting most of the mishaps and failures to my own naive mistakes; always taking the brunt of my own shame. A lot of times I felt I should have been smarter, wise; that I, quite frankly, should have known better. And with this mindset, I built bricks to the walls that have led to this solitary confining, comfort zone I call singleness.
Although this comfort zone has kept me alone, it gave me a lot of time to examine me; for all that I am and aim to be. To gain understanding of the lessons that each situation taught me. So when I encounter the next opportunity, I won’t make the same mistakes, because I learned the following:
Mistake 1: Allowing the opinions of someone else to dictate who/what was good for me.
Lesson: No one knows me better than me. I am the only one who can truly know what I desire. I have a better awareness of myself and what works for me than what anyone else will ever know. And just because it looks good… Doesn’t mean it’s good for me. Everything isn’t as it appears to be. And there’s a possibility I might not be good for what everyone sees as a good idea. Yes, I will make my own mistakes, but I will learn from them.
Mistake 2: Spending dedicated time trying to prove my worth and showcase my value for a chance at love.
Lesson: When people see me, off snap judgement they can see my worth. They know I have a lot to offer. They know I bring quality to the table. They know that I could have very well produced the table, chairs and the linens, they will be sitting down at. I am enough. I have always been enough and I will always be enough. And the people who are for me are aware and are accepting of this fact. I don’t have to waste my time trying to prove I’ve got what it takes, because it is a FACT, I have what it takes.
Mistake 3: Standing by someone who allowed me to neglect myself (lose love for myself); allowing me to give all I had to offer until I was left feeling broken, unwanted, unloveable, unworthy and not worth it.
Lesson: People will only treat you how you allow them to. Cliché, but there’s a reason for that. Self-love is deeper than pampering yourself and taking yourself on dates. It’s knowing when something or someone is no longer emotionally affordable for you. It’s knowing that you’re at wits end and that no one is worth going into overdraft for. It’s respecting yourself enough to know when you’re being mistreated… to know when you’re being used. It’s seeing the line and not crossing it, no matter how much someone pushes or pressures you to do so. (Love doesn’t stretch you thin.) It’s not making excuses for someone else, giving the benefit of doubt, nor reasoning with their f*ckery — for lack of a better word. People will do to you, what you allow them to get away with. Take time to audit your emotional worth. Make boundaries. Know when to say no. Stand your ground. Never apologize or feel guilty for choosing you first.
Love has the opportunity to be one of the most beautiful things you can encounter. But it also requires dedication and work. It starts internally and flows externally. As many have said before, love is an action word. And I’m always working to understand it to the best of my ability. And I challenge you to learn from my mistakes, so that you understand you are deserving and worth the best love has to offer.