With New Year’s on the foreseeable horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my resolution will be for 2011. In many ways, I feel like this blog is one giant promise to myself to…well, love myself endlessly. If that isn’t a resolution, I’m not quite sure what is.
However, in years past, I’ve resolved to not go on a date for three months (so I stop freaking out about being single), take a cooking class, spend more time in prayer, or of course, the old classic of to lose weight. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a weight-problem, but my figure has definitely changed over the years and for the first time, I can honestly say I’m very happy with how I look.
Part of the reason why picking “dropping 10 pounds by March!” is not only a popular resolution, but also a prescription for failure is due to the fact that dieting isn’t really what makes a person healthy. As the all adage says, you really must change your lifestyle and your eating/exercising habits permanently to see consistent and worthwhile results. You can’t just cut out sweets and carbs until you see a little fat slide away – or you’ll just watch it all sneak back up on you faster than it left.
I think the same goes with my love addiction and journey to self-love. Furthermore – I think it is the hardest part to accept.
I’ve had a few close friends and some readers ask me a few simple questions: “Well, what happens to the 12-steps and to the posts if you do get a boyfriend? What if you meet Mr. Perfect-for-You before you complete everything?”
Well, that’s quite the question, isn’t it?
I can’t technically write a blog about the experience of learning to love being single and love myself sans a man, if I am in fact, falling in love, right? If I become part of a “we” instead of just a “me”. If I am not struggling with wondering if any dude on this planet will ever find me irresistible and irreplaceable because I have someone whispering those anything-but-nothings in my ear every night. If Mr. Unavailable suddenly becomes Mr. Available, or I happen to stumble across or be swept away by Mr. Princey-Poo.
But something I was very specific about when I started this blog and still hold true to three months after writing a daily post is that I’m making no rules for myself. I am not limiting dating, nor am I putting a complete stop to negative thinking. I am not giving myself a deadline for when this blog ends or when I complete all of the steps. I’m not against meeting the right guy or being in a relationship – but my attitude, or should I say, my dating lifestyle – has to shift. Part of the reason I didn’t place restrictions is the result of realizing single isn’t a stage, it isn’t just something we “get through” – but a part of our lives that’s necessary for growth and for strength. Being single doesn’t stop your life, it progresses it. So why put anything else, even love, on pause, or shift your life completely, just because you’re a solo lady? Instead – why not just change yourself?
If I’m going to ween myself off obsessive thinking, worrying about being single for the rest of my Earthly existence, and putting myself down – I have to literally change who I am a bit. These habits have grown into dirty little pests and to rid them of my daily life requires me to resolve to be a new person and be a better woman. The reason I decided to solve these issues is not due to a man telling me I needed to or to beef up my resume or make myself more alluring to the opposite sex.
I simply did it because I had to for my own sanity and to progress myself as an individual. And in many ways, this journey is like losing weight – I have to shed the reoccurring beliefs and languague I was using that caused me pain. And to do this, I can’t just go on a ” dating diet” for a year or six months or four years until I find my husband-to-be. Instead, I have to make trusting positive reinforcements and engaging in an empowering attitude towards embracing myself for everything I am and everything I’m not – a normal routine.
Even when the day comes when I exchange vows with someone, I still want to be in a place of self-security. I still want to have strength and confidence in myself without someone else validating or reassuring me. I still want to speak to myself with words that are loving and promising, instead of self-defeating. I still want to be my greatest fan and my best friend. While the 12-steps will ultimately come to an end, the journey to self-love is a lifelong adventure that I will continue to trek through – even after marriage, babies, menopause, and retirement.
So, what if I do get a boyfriend? Would a boyfriend break my progressing healthy self-image? Would it ruin my self-proscribed: a post-a-day that keeps my love addiction away, medicine? I don’t have a prospect in mind currently, but if he happens to cross my path or lock eyes with me on the train, I won’t look away. I also won’t pursue. Because the focus isn’t on him or getting to a place in loving myself so I can finally meet whoever this dream-man is. He isn’t the prize at the end of the game or the victory to be won through all of this hard work. He isn’t the pot of gold at the edge of the rainbow or the breeze that follows a good thunderstorm.
No, the beauty of the journey isn’t in it one day stopping or meeting my “goal love weight”. It is rather in the fact that it really…never ends. Because love for myself doesn’t cease when I start loving someone else. It actually, just grows more.