“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
I began this New Year as a single woman, something I had not experienced for the past five.
Last June my boyfriend of nearly three years dropped this bomb on my world:
“Carmen, I know you want to spend the rest of your life with me, but I can’t give that to you, because I’m gay.”
The future I’d created for us in my mind disappeared all at once.
I was sure I was getting an engagement ring last year and we’d be having our wedding sometime around now. As the revelation sank in, a dark cloud formed over my heart as I realized I was back to square one.
All the things that were so easy and comfortable in this relationship had gone down the drain. I never imagined I’d have to go through another awkward first date or kiss. I was starting over.
As per usual, it took only a week for me to move back home to North Carolina and meet someone new. I thought, “This is the reason he broke up with you. Here is the one you are supposed to be with.”
I fell hard and fast, and even though this boy treated me like a mere option, he was my priority. I gave and gave until he dumped me in a text message on Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, I was also falling for my best friend, who couldn’t have been less interested in a romantic relationship with me.
I give all this background information to show you that my heart was pulled in many directions. I gave pieces of myself to different men, and there was hardly anything left of me for me.
Over the past few months, each time I was rejected, I thought, “You’re unlovable.” However, this could not be further from the truth.
For the first time in five years, right now, I am completely content being single.
As much as I pride myself on being assertive and independent, self-introspection has proven otherwise. However, this soul-searching has also been the catalyst to my new feelings of self-worth, and I’d like to share with everyone some insight I’ve gained through this process.
1. No one validates who you are but you.
Affirm yourself daily with positive thoughts. Remember that your happiness comes from you and you alone, and know that you don't anyone else's approval to feel good about yourself.
There comes a point when you realize that some of the things people may not like about you are not necessarily bad, or things you should change. If someone thinks you’re too loud-mouthed and opinionated, for example, this doesn't mean you should stay quiet and passive. Find someone who appreciates you for who you really are.
2. You are beautiful.
Spend some time alone and reflect on all the things that make you desirable. Anyone would be lucky to have you in their life.
No one ever notices most of the negative things you see when you look in the mirror. It’s not that you’re not important or they’re not paying attention, but perhaps those things really don’t matter. The guy in line behind you at the store is not staring at the zit on your forehead, I promise.
3. You are worthy of love.
Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, you will never experience true love until you allow yourself to be loved. This means not second-guessing why your significant other bought you a bouquet of flowers off the cuff, or why your friends are kind to you every day. It’s because you deserve it.
You are not unlovable. Take a minute to let that sink in to the core of your being. If you’re having thoughts like I was, it could be detrimental to yourself and your relationships with everyone else.
4. The universe is on your side.
Commune with your soul and spend some time in the natural world. Nothing can be more healing and fulfilling than seeing the beauty around you.
When it’s right, it’s right, and you will know it. Everything will make sense. So trust, let go, and let yourself enjoy the moment, without stressing about your relationship status.
I’m no life-coach, blogger, or self-proclaimed guru. I’m a twenty-three-year-old girl learning what it means to be me. And I hope that maybe what I’ve shared can inspire and encourage you.
Sending you love and light.
Photo by Justin Orneillas