Valentine’s day is around the corner and people are picking up cards, flowers and candies for their loved ones. Valentine’s day used to be a holiday I despised. When I was single, it would bring me such desperation, that I had not yet found the one who I could love or love me back.
I was single for many years before I met the man I am married to today. My husband is everything I wanted and more. But getting to a place where I can allow a man like my husband to love me was a long and arduous road.
I grew up with an abusive mother. The physical and emotional abuse carried into my late teens. The memories of it still linger today. It took me years to forgive my mother and find empathy in my heart for her. I don’t blame her anymore because I know that she didn’t know any better. She didn’t exactly have the best childhood either. Unfortunately, this is how abuse is formed. Your grandparent did it to your parent and your parent did it to you and well you could do it to your child. It's a cycle that I plan on breaking.
From my late teens to my early thirties, I went from one bad relationship to the next. I didn’t have good examples of how a loving relationship should look. Plus, from all the years of physical and emotional abuse, I didn’t love myself enough and I allowed others to define my worth. After my last failed relationship, where I caught him cheating and he placed me in a choke hold, with his hands around my neck, I thought to myself “how did I allow myself to get here?”
It wasn’t until I started to seek help and find ways to unpack my past that I learned so much about myself. Therapy helped me out tremendously and still does to this day. Some people don’t understand just how powerful it is to talk to someone who has absolutely no biased opinion about you or others in your life.
I allowed myself to just be single and enjoyed it. I stopped waiting for Mr. Right and started living. I went to church alone, read books, listened to podcasts, went to therapy, volunteered, made new friends, got a better job. I got myself out of debt. I traveled with my friends. I took myself to the movies. I bought myself flowers. I went dancing alone. I bought myself gifts. I took care of my health and worked out. I did things I loved to do.
I learned to love myself and most of all I learned to be alone.
And just when I stopped looking for Mr. Right, he showed up. Travis is my best friend, my partner, my lover, the man I had prayed for and so much more. There are days when my husband gives me big bear hug and says, “I wish I would have met you sooner” and my response is always “no you don’t.” Because, the person I am today, is not the person I was before. I needed to learn to love myself in order to be in a beautiful healthy relationship.
Ladies and gentlemen, we can never love another unless we learn to love ourselves. That goes for anyone. You can’t love your spouse, if you don’t love yourself. You can’t love your kids, if you don’t love yourself. You can’t love your friends, if you don’t love yourself.
Start today. Be your own Valentine. Learn to love yourself. What makes you happy? What brings you joy? What makes you smile?
And if you have suffered from any abuse or are currently suffering from abuse, find the help you need and let the healing begin.