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December 16, 2016

I’ll Buy My Own Flowers: 6 Ways to Get Vulnerable & Grow.

Vero Photoart / Unsplash https://unsplash.com/search/friends?photo=IlmkIB-7qoU

I turned 35 this year.

It was Easter Sunday, and I refused to see anyone. I wasn’t where I wanted to be in life and I was extremely hard on myself about it.

Weeks later, I went home, and my family celebrated with cake and candles. I wasn’t sure what was going on or who it was for. Neither did my grandmother who said, “What’s going on? Did you finally find yourself a boyfriend?”

Ouch.

Yes, I’ve been single for a long time. My high school boyfriend wasn’t very nice to me, and I walked away knowing I deserved better. I haven’t been in a relationship since.

I’ve gotten a lot of odd comments and questions over the years and always taken them so personally.

A few days ago when I was dropping my other grandmother off, the same old conversation started again. Her first question:

“Have you found someone yet?”

When we got to her place, she asked me to park the car and come in. She wanted to give me something. I almost refused; receiving has always been much harder than giving for me. I went in, and she handed me an antique vase. It had been in her family a long time, she told me.

We chatted and I shared some of the pieces I’ve written lately. When I got up to leave, she said,

“I hope you find a man to fill that vase for you one day.”

Normally, this kind of comment would completely deflate me but something has shifted lately. I gave her a cheeky little smile and said,

I’ll fill the vase myself. I’ll buy my own flowers. I’m worth it.”

I knew I really meant it because she chuckled, looked me straight in the eye and said,

“Yes, you are.”

So, I did. I bought myself a dozen red roses.

I don’t have a clear outline or a 10-step process for how I got here, and I know there isn’t anything “permanent.”

Life is messy and it’s a process. It’s not perfect, and neither am I.

I do know that it took a serious amount of awareness, vulnerability and growth along the way. Here are some of things that worked for me:

>> Find a Mentor/Coach/Psychologist. 

We can’t do it alone, nor should we. Once the pain was bad enough and I was really ready to change, I was lucky enough to meet some incredible people along the way. They started out as mentors and have since become true friends.

Find someone who will not only support you but challenge you.

>> Get out of the comfort zone.

I signed up for some experiences, two in particular, that took me so far out of my comfort zone that I had no choice but to either shut down completely or grow. I chose growth.

Do something that scares you, and do that often enough to keep growing.

>> Get some hobbies. 

I realized that I was all work, so I took classes and tried new things to see what I liked. I compared it to throwing darts at a wall and seeing what stuck. Some things I loved, and some I won’t ever try again.

You’ll figure out what lights you up. People want to be around people who love what they are doing (and that doesn’t just apply to your career).

>> Address what’s not working. 

I started turning over every stone in my life and seeing if it was a true fit. From work, to relationships with others and with yourself, if it’s not working, the first step is admitting it.

>> Summon up some courage. 

I finally had the conversations that I had been avoiding for too long. It required an amazing amount of courage. The toughest one of all was with myself. It’s one that I have to keep having—every day.

>> Be patient. 

This one continues to be my biggest struggle. It doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with this process and with yourself.

Today, my life is completely different, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Yes, I’m still single—and for the first time ever, I’m embracing it.

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Author: Elaine Turcotte

Image: Vero Photoart/Unsplash

Apprentice Editor: Cori Carlo; Editor: Toby Israel

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