It’s the day of love.
A day when the world tells you to appreciate your significant other by buying them a red rose, a piece of jewelry, and making a reso at a nice restaurant. I love jewelry, flowers, and good food so by no means is this blog post about the commercialization of Valentine’s Day. This post is more about the things I have seen over the course of my almost 34 years. I came across a Facebook status yesterday that struck a chord inside me. It read “No Longer Looking”. It wasn’t that this person had found love but instead felt frustrated that they simply couldn’t, felt deflated, and wanted to give up. I want to tell the world that the only person you need to love is yourself and here is why-
My opinion varies on the subject. It seems to be in human nature and probably a lot to do with the culture we live in that we join hands and walk two by two-before you get too old or you are deemed faulty. If you reflect on past generations we have certainly come a long way from marrying within your postal code and not skipping a beat to start your family. Today, there seems to be less pressure to marry in your early twenties and jump into the minivan. I still hear women talk about the time clock, how they wish they could just find the “one”, and have kids. It’s like the movie Pleasantville. We are not fulfilled in life if we don’t have the white picket fence, perfect home, and a variety of charger plates for our dinner parties. And look at little Chantal’s view on her future….I was drinking the Kool-Aid.
Well it’s safe to say that my path didn’t quite end up with a cargo van of kids, a multi profession career, or the horses. I blame the Hasbro game “Life” …if you took the college route you made bank, throw in a few of those extra pegs and you were set to WIN. Now, the storybook of my actual life had a bit of college, some travelling, and a variety of relationships including a short marriage. Far cry from the routine pathway I took in my favourite board game.
What the game of life also didn’t teach me was it isn't as easy as falling on the space that said GET MARRIED- then place your appropriate gender colored peg in your car. It was much more difficult. I had a theme for over a decade- it was simply to pick the wrong guys. It has taken quite a few years to figure out the common link to each of them and in all my reflecting it was the lack of self-love. People simply have to be happy with themselves to be happy with another person. I was also to blame because, staying or picking these types of men in my life was normal and I made it acceptable to be treated that way. I lacked the love for myself. There was everything from mental abuse, alcoholism, dishonesty, manipulation, infidelity, oh the list goes on… over years I became a shell of a person. It was completely normal for someone to treat me with complete disrespect. It became all I knew. Even when I would end a bad relationship I seemed destined to arrive at another one.
I took a stand one day. Told everyone around me that I was not interested in dating ever again. I was over it. No one could be trusted. I wasn’t willing to have my heart ripped out of my chest anymore. Maybe it’s with age I started to learn who I was and that I refused to be mistreated. By no means would I say that I have the world of relationships figured out but, I started to feel more confident and secure when expecting to be treated a certain way. I wasn’t going to stay silent and just live with it. I used to be so scared to stand up for my feelings. Fear that the other person would judge me and maybe they would walk away- be the one to leave me! In the end…isn’t that better? To figure out that you’re not each other’s person before another 3 years goes by. ‘Fake it till ya make it’ doesn’t work in matters of the heart.
When I look at all the people that surround my life I can directly pin point the ones in relationships that I believe are great examples-relationship mentors. These individuals love themselves (not in a selfish, I only put my needs first kind of way) but in a I respect myself enough to choose a partner in life that treats me the way I demand to be treated and I also show that same respect back to my person. I watch some relationships from afar and just think...if only you knew that you don’t deserve to live like that. People had looked at me and I can guarantee they said the same thing.
So in closing I want to reiterate that no one should ever feel like their life is behind because they haven’t found their person, started that family, with horses, on that acreage. You will stumble, question your gut, then your heart, then your gut again. You will curse the game. But get back in that car and enjoy the ride. Learn from your mistakes, no really….actually learn from them. Recognize the red flags and the green ones too.
So on this day of LOVE, I want to ask you...have you loved YOU today?