As I was scrolling through Instagram this morning, I came across this quote by Oprah Winfrey, posted by relationship expert, Tracy McMillan.
“You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.” ~ Oprah
“Wow,” I said aloud. And then sat there for a good while, stunned by a phrase that is in no way a new concept to me. It’s divine when one sentence or one thought can resonate so highly in exactly the right moment.
I’ve had three long-term, romantic relationships in my life. One was during the first two years of high school, so it doesn’t count as an adult relationship, but still formative. When I find myself pondering relationships, as I often do when I’m walking my dog, contemplating what I want and don’t want if another relationship were to present itself, I ruminate over these two thoughts.
One of those two men made me feel like I wasn’t lovable and the other made me feel like I wasn’t enough.
I’ve come to realize that what I’ve been longing for is to feel adored and valued. My parents have always adored me; that’s the kind of love I grew up with. I now realize as I type this, that this is also the kind of love I show my son, and, in return, I truly feel adoration from him, which I am immensely grateful for. The only times I’ve felt adored by men in my adult life were 1) when I was pregnant (my ex-husband was attentive during that time), and 2) during the first three months (the honeymoon phase) of the next relationship.
The qualities that are important to me in a relationship are trust, respect, security, communication, acceptance, and laughter. It’s taken me a long time to identify those.
It’s also been a process to recognize these truths that are extremely valuable in relationships and all aspects of life:
1. We cannot control many situations, but we can control our own reactions.
2. Attachment is the source of all suffering.
3. Happiness is an inside job. We are 100 percent responsible for our own happiness.
4. Every experience, good or bad, is an opportunity for growth.
5. We are always enough.
So, getting back to what the quote means to me. I have yet to receive the type of love that I desire in an adult, intimate relationship. The reason for that is because I haven’t adored myself. I haven’t trusted myself. I haven’t valued myself. I’m responsible for all of those things. Those men likely did the best they could at the time with the skills they had available.
The only person I am hurting by continuing to be the victim is me.
Here is something else I know to be true:
These small moments of awareness are great strides in our journey toward acceptance and expansion. So today, I’ll have the courage to be compassionate with myself and to thank myself for having come so far already, for continuing to practice and show up. Because each day I learn to value, trust, and adore myself a little bit more.
And that compassion expands out beyond me to all of my interactions and relationships, to my community and ultimately into the entire universe.