I’ve got the biggest bleeding heart. Seriously, it’s nauseating how much I believe in romantic love. Ask anyone.
I’ve written books about my dalliances in the unrequited camp. I stay stuck on boys with dimples and freckles far past a point that I should. Call me love’s biggest champion, shouting from the rooftops that we should give it a chance. I’ve always thought we should fall deeply, fall quickly, fall without fear of what could happen when we land.
And I still believe that. Really, I do. But there’s something I failed to consider.
What if this whole time the best person you could ever fall in love with is yourself?
I preach self-love like it’s my birthright. And not because it’s trendy or millennial narcissism. People who cast it aside as another buzzword are missing something crucial.
Self-love is necessary because it gives you the tools to survive in this lifetime. And it’s something you can do on your own. You don’t need to depend on anyone else to give you your worth or value. You hold all the power, and in a world that you can’t control, that’s an empowering feeling.
Of course, it’s always easier said than done. Choosing yourself isn’t something that naturally comes easily. It’s a beautiful thing to want to do things for others, to choose them. Selflessness has its place, absolutely. And ideally, you’d learn to strike a good balance. Sometimes, you choose others. Sometimes, you choose yourself.
But if someone puts you in a position where you are constantly doing everything for them and it’s barely reciprocated? That’s not love. That’s not healthy or a recipe for happiness. All that does is build up resentment and a false idea that you’re not good enough.
I spent so much wasted time trying to convince people I was worth it.
I broke my back bending for people who would never be flexible for me. I cried so hard, I was sure my self-loathing, my sabotage, and my belief that I was always the one waiting would eventually drown me. And maybe if I kept going with that mentality, it would have.
I had to bury this storyline that I’m just supposed to be the one with my arms outreached, ready to catch whoever needs a soft landing. That’s not the life I’m looking to create. That’s not the outlook I want.
I choose myself. I choose myself because I’m the only guaranteed one to do the job correctly. I choose myself for all the times someone made me merely an option, not a priority. I choose myself so that when someone wonderful comes along, I’ve done the proper work to be loving to both of us. Relationships require give and take. It’s okay to recognize when you deserve a little take.
If someone bruises your heart, don’t give up on love. Don’t close yourself off from future opportunity. But choose yourself. Learn how all these things can coexist. You can be an ooey-gooey romantic and still make sure your feelings are considered important. Because you matter. Even if you’ve momentarily forgotten. Even if someone has you tricked into thinking otherwise. You matter. I promise.