I used to think it was arrogant to love yourself. Not anymore.
I'm in a steady, long-term relationship with myself.
I'm self-sustaining; I no longer need the validation of a relationship, and I'm content and at peace in my own company. The love that sits in my heart nourishes me and is recycled back into the world.
But it hasn't always been this way.
I've traveled down a long and winding road to reach this place. I've fallen down and lost my way more times than I can remember. There was a time when I wasn't even sure I knew of my own existence.
I was a stranger to myself, disconnected. I was unaware of my own presence; I lived behind a smoke screen. I never honored my unique qualities and I was never prepared to hold space for myself, the way I so desperately wanted others to do for me.
I was always trying to escape my truth by filling the questions of my heart with empty answers.
I never let myself be loved fully; I didn't know the meaning of self-love.
I thought it was arrogant and conceited to love yourself; I chose to hide behind my self-depreciation like a shield. But it was a barrier I constructed between me and my own heart.
I filled the gaps with sex and external love, always distracted with someone else, something new and exciting to fill the void. Inevitably these affections never lasted long and there I was, back in my own company picking up the pieces of my broken heart.
Perhaps I took myself for granted in those times of need following the break-ups. I was there to lend a shoulder, to mop up my tears, to run a bath with incense and candles and my favorite book.
I'd treat myself so tenderly for that short time, but I was always looking for the next romance. And the ways in which I honored myself faded. I never gave myself a chance to let the love I had for myself blossom and grow.
Over the last few years, since embarking on a voyage across the world (and of self-discovery), I began to see myself in a new light. As I continued to spend more time alone, I was able to tend to the garden of my heart and let the flowers of my own love grow, fertilized by radical self-care and the sweet nourishment of mother nature.
I began to value my time alone more and more. I began to see in myself something new and it didn't scare me anymore. I saw in myself a tenderness, a goodness, a realness. I was slowly revealing my own soul to my cautious eyes.
I was falling in love with myself.
I've learned to open up my heart to myself in a more authentic and honest way. I'm not distracted with frivolous flings, meaningless connections, or validation from others. I'm committed to my own heart; I'm ready for the love I can give myself.
I discovered that within my heart is an ocean of love, just waiting for me to find it. It's always been there, but I was so busy looking for it elsewhere that I never bothered to look for it right inside my own chest.
The love I feel now, for me, is breathtaking in its power and force. It's unlike anything I've ever experienced.
I didn't think this kind of love existed for real; I thought it was only found in fairytales and movies. But here I am, feeling it for real and receiving it for real.
This love for me knows no bounds; it's limitless, formless, nameless. It never hurts; it always gives. I can never get or give too much of it, and I could never grow bored of it.
When I'm feeling down, I sit with myself for a little while and just be. No need for words, just to be in my love; let it soak into every pore, from my heart.
I connect to my core and I know I'll love and be loved in this way until the end of time, because it all exists within me.
When the love we seek comes from other people, it's not ours to keep. When the love we seek is found within our own hearts, it's eternal.
I'm everything I ever needed. And most importantly, I'm open, honest, and true to myself always. I'm not afraid anymore of who I am and what that means.
I'm perfectly imperfect.