The other day, a lifelong friend left a comment my Facebook page: You sound so full of contentment these days. Indeed, it seems I have entered a period of sublime contentment I haven’t experienced in a very, very long time, if ever.
While my daughter spent the weekend with her father, I spent the weekend dilly-dallying and lollygagging. I enjoyed margaritas at happy hour with friends, I worked on and completed, my jigsaw puzzle. I went hiking, treated myself to a movie, touched base with a friend I hadn’t talked to in a while, made a trip to Trader Joe’s, got cozy in bed with the dog and the Sunday crossword, and read some David Foster Wallace. All ordinary things, really, but I enjoyed them immensely.
So, what’s the reason behind this period of contentment? I’m finally involved in a loving, committed relationship. With myself.
Like a million other women, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life taking care of and doing for others. Feeding my soul, chasing my dreams, and satisfying my wants and needs always seemed selfish somehow. At last, I have finally realized if I don’t love and take care of myself, who will?
It’s about damn time.
So, a number of months ago, I made a serious commitment to honor and value myself. I promised to treat myself with kindness and compassion instead of criticizing every little thing. I vowed to forgive myself for my failings and celebrate my accomplishments, however small. Little by little, I am learning to love and accept myself warts and all.
Everyday before I leave the house, I look in the mirror and say out loud:
You’re beautiful on the inside and out. You’re full of health and vitality. You’re smart and funny and talented. You’re loving and loveable.
It’s amazing what a positive affirmation can do. I’m finally beginning to see, really see, what others insist they see in me; that I’m loving and loveable, kind and beautiful. (And let me tell you, believing I’m beautiful on the outside is far more difficult than believing I’m beautiful on the inside.)
Part of my commitment to myself involves letting go of fear; fear that holds me back from living my life to its fullest capacity. I have to trust that God and the Universe are working in my favor. I am actively working on breaking old patterns, behaviors, and ways of thinking about myself that ultimately, make me feel awful. I gave up online dating for good and promised myself I would not have sex again until it's with someone who genuinely cares about me and wants to know every facet of who I am. Boys are on the back burner. It's all about me now.
Admittedly, tackling all of this simultaneously can be quite daunting and there are moments when I want to cut and run, but I am fully committed, for better or for worse, and I know, when all the hard work is said and done, I will reap the benefits. I’m already feeling them.
I feel lighter and more upbeat. Now, I see a pretty girl when I look in the mirror. I laugh all the time! I’ve adopted a go-with-the-flow attitude, which allows life’s little snafus to roll right off my back. I feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. My confidence is at an all time high. Where I once dreaded weekends, when the void of not having a significant other to spend the time with was most profoundly evident, I now relish that time spent solo. I have finally arrived at a place where I feel entirely content to be in a relationship with just me.
And it’s making all the difference in the world.