After several months of therapy and working with a life, relationship, and dating coach (yes, it takes a village), I decided I am ready to date again.
Recently, I was asked to write down the 20 reasons why I am the greatest thing to happen to a man, followed by a translational exercise at which every time a fear or negative thought came to my mind, I needed to replace it with a loving affirmation of what it is I really do want.
This concept seemed foreign to me. I became comfortable in my fear and anxious attachment style. For as long as I stayed there, it meant I did not have to move forward into the unknown. I have rationalized these ideas over and over again in my head around my readiness. I needed to know it was for the right reasons, with the right intentions.
I had just created a life list of my five core values, and I finally felt ready to not only breathe life into them, but to find someone who I can share them with, in the hopes that they have those same core values.
If you can say yes to any of these reasons, then you know you’ve made a breakthrough:
1. I am no longer a shell of myself.
I am open. I am vulnerable, and more importantly, I am no longer afraid to be either of these things. I can admit that I am self-reliant, sometimes to a fault, but I am also not afraid to admit that I also need my partner’s support and comfort.
2. I am no longer afraid to speak my truth or communicate my feelings, needs, and desires.
And I am only willing to accept you in my life if you understand those needs and desires. Because I have now learned the gift that I no longer need to settle for “anyone,” but rather the right one.
3. I deserve love.
And more importantly, I am f*cking worth it! I no longer need to accept a partnership where I am silenced, misunderstood, or made to feel invisible. I am no longer weak or broken. I am just a human who, by default, is flawed. And I will own it and take accountability when I need to.
4. I still give myself permission to feel emotional pain.
I do not suppress those dark parts of myself. I will cry it out, and if you’re in my life, I invite you to be there with me, unafraid to share those difficult moments, to let me talk about them, and even embrace them. It is those very moments that make us better, stronger, and more emotionally available to our partner.
5. I have accepted the hardest and most painful lesson of them all.
I have learned that not everyone who comes into our life is meant to stay. Sometimes they come to teach us new lessons we haven’t yet learned about ourselves. Other times they come to break us so piece by piece we can build ourselves back up again. Other times they come to inspire us, to show us something we didn’t even know existed. To help us grow, and heal, and to remind us that love exists and sings louder than any pain we’ve experienced before.
When we finally arrive at this place of acceptance, self-love, and growth, we stop needing someone else to love us, but rather, we simply desire it. We understand that the very reason we are ready to find love again is because we have already found it inside ourselves.
And when we know and love who we are, we are ready to accept the gift of being seen and loved by someone else too.