As I combed through my daily batch of e-mails, I read a theme that seems to be going strong for so many women: a desire for love, yet no idea how to find it.
How do you find love?
It starts with loving yourself.
It starts with honoring yourself.
We've all heard the term self-love so many times. But…
What is self-love, exactly?
Is it a real thing?
Is self-love love and acceptance of all who you are?
Is self-love a journey that never seems to pay off or end because aren't we supposed to self-love ourselves to death until we find somebody who will actually love who we are?
I've been in love in my life.
I was taught a great lesson by my mother about love.
She said, “Love will come to those who believe that somebody is out there willing to love you more than the last person.”
Pretty simple advice from my mother when I was 19.
So, I've always believed that if I continue on my journey and my path, I'm going to find somebody who will just love me more and more.
But my mother never taught me about self-love, because my mother was pretty much self-loathing.
She had low self-esteem.
And she really, truly didn't love who she was as a woman or as a person, and that's okay. No knock on her. It was who she was.
But when it comes down to finding love…
I started doing some serious work on myself over the last five and a half years.
There’s something about having a child that makes you do that.
Especially having a child with the wrong person.
It tends to make you look at your life in a whole different way.
It makes you kick back and think to yourself, all right, what do I need to differently here?
It wasn't that my daughter's mother was a bad person at all.
It's just she wasn't my person.
Which doesn't make her wrong or make me wrong.
But the lessons that came from that were some of the greatest lessons I've ever experienced in my life. It made me look at myself in ways that I've never looked at myself before.
It made me think long and hard about how I would find love on this magical journey called life.
Over the five and a half years since I've been separated from her, I've had what I call “familiar loves.”
Women that would come into my life who felt familiar to me one way or the other.
So of course I fell in love with the pattern that I was living out.
My pattern was always fixing.
Being overly generous with somebody.
It was, well, the way I was taught love.
My mother was broken.
My grandparents were over-generous to my father, who didn't appreciate anything.
My grandmother was doting and loving and, well, basically nurturing, so those are the things that I learned as a kid.
As I went through progressions over the last five and a half years, and I met certain women, they all showed up for certain reasons.
One of them showed up because it was my pile of cocaine.
That right. I was addicted to the sex with her.
I thought that was love because I was giving her great sex. I was getting validated, which I crave. And, well, I thought that was love, but I realized she wasn't giving me back what I truly needed:
Somebody who wanted to show up for me on an equal basis on a daily basis.
As I continued dating, I realized I was repeating certain patterns.
And I really didn't want to repeat those patterns at all anymore.
I dated women with kids.
I thought, well, let me bring my daughter the sister or brothers that she needs and desires.
So I'd meet women with kids and we'd form a family, even though my daughter would never meet the women or meet the kids of the women that I was dating, I still fell for that idea.
I even dated a single mom who I was not really aligned with on a physical level.
But I loved the idea of a family that we could've created, so I fell in love with the idea of family.
I mean, I'm only human. And it's real easy to do things like that.
And then I realized, no, I want my equal, my co-creating amazing equal, so I could fall in love with the exact feeling that I was looking for.
And that's the journey of love: Being able to embrace everything that you've done and being able to literally get raw and real with yourself and see the lessons and see the people that showed up for why they showed up.
Love is a journey. So enjoy it. It's magical.