I used to be that girl. You know the one…
Sweet and emotional, always wearing her heart on her sleeve. Never shy about showing vulnerability (way before Brené Brown made it cool) or opening up my heart to anyone who talked a good game and told me what I wanted to hear.
I had to learn the hard way that my natural inclination toward being loving, trusting, and overly giving with my heart before I really knew what someone’s intentions were, was a recipe for disaster.
The disaster usually ended with me doing the ugly cry on my commute to work while listening to some sappy Sam Smith ballad cranked up on the radio and dramatically swearing off dating until I had grandkids.
My kids are at least 20 years away from making me a grandmother, so I realize I may be being a little bit overly dramatic. But I have deliberately chosen to spend the past two years celibate in an attempt to protect my heart from further wreckage.
“Uh…you what?” A friend of mine scoffed at me in horror over a year ago. “You haven’t had sex in over a year? Why would you do that to yourself?”
“I’ve never been happier. No drama in my life,” I said with a grin and a gloat.
And it was true. There were no unproductive days at work because I was obsessively checking my phone for someone’s text message. No hour-long conversations with friends dissecting the behavior of some poor guy who failed to call me in the expected lot of time after I had slept with him. No keeping my free nights open until the last minute on the off chance said guy would want to see me.
Uh uh. Hell no, girl. I was done and I’m never going back to that. I wish more women would love themselves enough to do the same.
We give our hearts away far too easily. In our quest to find that perfect love or fulfill the unrealistic fantasy we have in our heads of what the perfect relationship is, we can sometimes jump into things far too quickly.
In our desire to create intimacy, we may find ourselves falling in love with the idea of someone, instead of who they actually are. We put up with far too much bullsh*t that doesn’t even remotely work for us because we’re too damn scared to be alone.
We settle for the breadcrumbs someone throws our way, convincing ourselves we don’t need the whole loaf of bread. Or we tell ourselves the crumbs will do for now and if we’re just a little more patient, eventually they’ll give us the whole damn loaf, won’t they?
I don’t do that, fool myself, anymore. Nor should you.
I love myself far more than I love the idea of being with another person.
I have become a master at discernment. If I go out on a date with someone, it’s because I’ve taken the time to get to know them as a friend first. I’m brutally honest about what I’m not looking for. I make sure I allow ample time to get a sense of their character, their past, and their willingness to truly show up for me.
For the love of God guys, listen to your damn gut. It is always, and I mean always, right.
If you think she’s not being honest with you. She isn’t. Don’t wait around for the proof.
If you see red flags in the beginning, don’t tell yourself you’re being paranoid or picky or not giving them a chance. Heed the red flags. They are always the very things that you end up saying after your heart has been smashed into a million little pieces on the floor, “I knew in the beginning but I didn’t listen.”
You want to protect your heart? Don’t take the breadcrumbs. Don’t give yourself away so readily until that person has proven themselves worthy of your love.
Don’t blindly trust someone when you haven’t really gotten to know them. Don’t sleep with them if you aren’t 100 percent sure you know where the two of you stand and you’re okay with where that is.
I get two years is a long time to hold such careful guard over my heart, but I’m telling you it’s been worth it. The energetic vibration I’ve created just by holding such strong and intentional boundaries around what I want is finally attracting in more of what I’ve been longing for: honesty, integrity, and more meaningful and intimate connections.
And isn’t that what all of us deserve too?