They say that 'you'll find love when you're not looking'
So you intentionally try to go about your life, focusing on yourself, your career, discovering new hobbies, spending time with friends and family. But deep down there's a lingering desire of wanting to feel safe, loved, and adored. You dream of leaving your problems behind and finally connecting on a deeper level with someone. This entices you back into the dating apps and you start dating again. Yet it always ends up the same, you meet a "potential match" and at times it makes you feel anxious. Like an imposter you're always second guessing yourself thinking, is this person genuinely interested in me? What if we spend more time together and they discover things about me that they don't like? What if they get bored?
You struggle to put this into words, afraid that expressing how you truly feel will jeopardize the relationship, and so the cycle continues.
I’ve been there: hoping and wishing to find my perfect match so that I could finally feel good in my life. But it didn't come without searching the archives of my own soul and desires first.
I had to become 'the one' first.
After I got out of a 13-year relationship, at the peak of my early 30s, I thought that I would never find love again. As I had tried so hard to make that last relationship work, I felt like a failure, as though all the time I invested was in vain. Knowing that I needed to adjust to the single life but also wanting to feel a connection with someone again, I sought out dating apps as a way of keeping my mind occupied. Perhaps, deep down a part of me also wanted to feel that I was still desirable, that there was hope, and that I wasn't destined to be alone.
In the span of 9 years, and 2 continents, I met and went on dates with men from different cultures and walks of life. I was on a vicious dating cycle that led to a lot of anxiety, miscommunication, ghosting, heartaches, disappointments, and most of all loneliness.
Although I was constantly going on dates and meeting people, every relationship made me feel more lonely and misunderstood. I blamed it on the language barrier and cultural differences. I blamed it on the slight age differences and started to believe that there weren't any good men out there; as cliché as it sounds, that all the good ones were truly taken.
But in most cases, I blamed myself for not being good enough. I blamed myself for not belonging to any specific group or culture, not being young enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, feminine enough, tall enough, communicative enough, or wealthy enough. I even went as far as blaming my childhood and my ex, for the trauma it caused that made me hard to love.
Digging deep into the patterns of my dating history, I realized that the common denominator was always me. Every person I had met up until that moment was a reflection of myself, how I viewed myself, and where I was in my life. I was not happy with my work situation, and I wasn’t sure about what I wanted in my life, where I wanted to live, and what I wanted to do. This led me to meeting men who also didn’t know what they wanted, who weren’t ready to commit, who weren’t very communicative, and who were also confused and unhappy with their life. There is some truth to the saying that misery loves company. Perhaps I was trying to find in them what was missing in me.
On the other hand, I kept telling myself and others that I was ready. At that point I had already dated enough to know what I didn’t want. I also traveled to many parts of the world, met a lot of people, and seen a lot of beauty. I felt that the only thing that was missing was a life partner, especially since I had already spent most of my 30’s “doing me”.
I was 37 going on 38 at that time (nearing the dreaded 40’s), so this led me on the path of doing a lot of soul searching. I started reading a lot of books and watching various YouTube channels on the topic of the Law of Attraction. I tried several manifestation techniques and meditation. Yet, nothing worked, the same people kept showing up in my life. The truth was that I was really scared of being in a relationship again, deep down, I wasn’t prepared to face myself. While I was endlessly seeking the validation of love and acceptance from another person, the one that I really needed to receive that love and acceptance from was myself.
The journey to finding yourself will be the greatest journey you'll ever go on.
Once I looked within, I got clear about what I wanted and what I needed from my relationships and from myself. I am perfectly imperfect , and I knew that the right one will love me just as I am.
In knowing my worth, I stopped settling for everything and sacrificing who I am for the needs of a partner. I learned how to communicate and stopped being afraid.
Letting go of those doubts and fears created the space for my life partner to show up.
People say you’ll find love when you least expect it; but I don’t believe you shouldn’t look for love. I think you should look for yourself first;
To look for self-love, self-compassion, and self-care.
Before you can love someone else, you need to deeply and fully understand and care for yourself first. Your values, beliefs, and dreams matter. Know that you will never have to choose between one thing or another. Learn to love yourself so that the love of your life will know just how to love you.
I finally understand now why I had to go through all the heartaches and experiences that I did. And If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing because it led me to the most amazing person and relationship I could have ever asked for.
If you are standing at the crossroads of your life feeling lost in not knowing which steps or direction to take (personally or professionally), know that every misstep or redirection in life is an opportunity to start over, bringing you closer to the life you desire.
Trust your journey <3
I promise that it will be worth it.