“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.” ~Unknown
One day, somewhere around the age of twenty-seven, with a rich background of long-term relationships, dating, alone time, and searching for the man who would complete me, it hit me.
Why was I looking for someone to complete me when I believed that every person could be whole by him or herself? Why did I feel like something was missing, and why was I building my hopes on someone I had never even met?
I realized I had been looking for someone to believe in me, someone who would encourage me and give me the confidence to know that I was good enough to go after what I wanted.
I didn’t trust myself to make the right decisions for my life. I was looking for approval so I could believe that the way I acted and the things I did were right.
Right after this realization came a deep recognition: I am the only one who can truly know what’s best for my life. Even when I make mistakes—and for sure I will—it doesn’t mean that I can no longer trust myself.
It just means that there is a new part of myself that I’m not at peace with or just not familiar with yet. And it’s time to explore, discover, and choose if I wish to change and improve that part of me.
I felt so good that I decided to declare myself a complete woman, out loud, to the universe. I announced with pride that I was whole as I was, by myself, and if I felt that something was missing or out of key in my life, it was up to me to find and fix it.
It was up to me to believe in myself, to trust myself, to listen to my intuition and follow my gut, to pick myself up when I fell, and to keep encouraging myself when I felt stuck or weak. I would be my approval, and I would give myself confidence.
I felt good about my declaration and decided to take it one step further. I announced that I would stop my search and not look for a partner anymore. I would celebrate, enjoy life, accomplish my wishes and dreams, and I would do more than fine by myself, with myself. I truly believed in it. I felt it. I felt whole.
With all that self-empowering, I knew that I would still want to keep the partner option open. After all, love between two people can be a beautiful thing, and there was no reason for me to dismiss it if it came into my life.
But in order to keep myself from getting lost again, to keep my promise and stay tuned to myself, I decided to put in writing all the qualities I’d want in a man if I were to be in a relationship again. Qualities I believed were beneficial, encouraging, empowering, and right for me.
Removing the fear of staying alone and knowing that I wasn’t incomplete without a man gave me the strength and courage to clarify what I wanted, without compromising.
I wrote the list in a positive tone and in present tense, as if this man already existed. Some of the things I wrote included:
- The man I’m with accepts me for who I am.
- When I’m with my man, I can be myself. Totally.
- The man I’m with supports me and encourages me to fulfill my dreams.
- The man I’m with believes in mutual and individual growth.
- We can share everything—every thought, every emotion—knowing we are there for each other, to support without judgment.
- We do our best to improve our communication so we can understand each other.
- We always see challenges and difficulties in life as an opportunity for mutual and personal growth.
- We’re open to giving and getting feedback from each other.
- We always find life interesting, both when we’re together and apart.
Satisfied with my finished and complete list, I confirmed my thoughts by reading it out loud to the universe. Then I put my list aside, as my work was done.
I continued my life as a new whole and happy woman. This liberated me from feeling like I was lacking.
It was an amazing freedom! I was more confident. I was less restrained around other people, especially men. I laughed louder, danced more freely, and looked straight into their eyes with no shame and without worrying about how they saw me.
I developed myself as a therapist. I started to sing out loud, a thing I always desired. I felt blessed and in return, bliss.
After a few months, a special man came into my life. And like real life should be, it wasn’t all sparkling and perfect from day one. We worked, invested, and developed our relationship intensively, being 100 percent honest, sharing every emotion and feeling that came up. Working it out together proved worthwhile.
Six months into the relationship I realized that my list was fulfilled. I was an empowered woman with an empowered, loving man by my side.
I never imagined how much a supportive relationship could benefit from my personal growth, my belief in myself, and my ability to become stronger.
This experience has taught me so much about not only myself but also about how to be a good partner in a relationship.
The most important thing that helps our relationship be so successful is that from day one I asked my partner to make the same promise I made to myself—to always be honest and true to yourself, to be whole and complete on your own, without anyone’s approval.
It’s our personal responsibility to take care of ourselves, to feel joy and fulfillment in our life. No other person can make us feel whole in the long run if we don’t feel whole on our own.
Completing ourselves doesn’t guarantee we’ll find the perfect partner, but it does open us up to the possibility of stronger, healthier relationships, based in mutual respect and empowerment.
Couple holding hands image via Shutterstock