For years, I attempted to love everyone, give everyone what I believed that they needed. I focused on what everyone around me wanted. I was the perfect friend, employee, wife, mother, daughter. At least in my mind, anyway, I tried to be. I gave everything that I had everyday. I believed that I was loving them.
I was trying to please them, which is not the same as loving them. You see, I didn’t love me so I needed them to love me. I had this unwritten, unspoken contract in my mind: I will meet your needs and in exchange you will love me.
But it was never enough.
So, I started a mission to love myself. I set intentions, I set boundaries. I let go of expectations and hesitations. I jumped in. I played. I stayed. I let things be okay.
I took long baths and long drives. I cried. I wrote poetry. I laughed. I called old friends. I went to coffee with new ones. And every single day I told myself that I loved myself. In the bathroom mirror. In the rear view mirror. At yoga, with every breath, I told myself that I loved me.
And in the space that loving myself creates, miracles happen. Miracles that humble me to tears. Miracles that only love can create.
With the turning over of the new year, friends took the time to share with me the impact that I – no, not I – my love – has had on their lives. Their words of gratitude speak of life saving conversations, sacred space creating vulnerability and courage inspiring action. They speak of feeling supported in being who they truly are – all of them, complete and imperfectly beautiful.
My genuine response is tears, tears of gratitude. For the love that I cultivated within myself is the reason.
When I loved myself enough, I found the courage to tell my story. When I loved myself enough, I admitted my mistakes. When I loved myself enough, the love overflowed, spilling into every cup around me so that my love became their love.
When I loved myself enough, I was capable of loving you.