I’m going to be honest with you.
I was wrong about relationships.
For years, I thought that relationships were nothing more than a distraction from my “real” life.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, relationships have helped me to unearth parts of myself that I never knew existed.
Through my relationships, I have learned to be more patient, more understanding, and more compassionate. I have also learned to laugh at myself and to celebrate my own successes as well as those of my partner.
Here’s how I got there.
I’m 38 now, but when I was younger and single and working hard to build my career, I used to think that relationships were a hindrance. I didn’t want the responsibility of another person, and I convinced myself that all couples were really just two people who needed each other out of insecurity.
I was so wrong.
What I realize now is that relationships do not detract from our lives, but rather they enhance and add to them. Our relationships are a reflection of who we are, and they help us to grow and change in ways that we could never have imagined.
I’m not less of me because I love someone—I’m more of me.
And that’s something that I am truly grateful for.
I don’t always have words for how I feel, but that’s okay. Because now, more than ever, I am learning to listen to my heart. My relationship has given me the space to explore the depths of my character and to learn things about myself I never thought possible.
It hasn’t always been easy, of course. There were growing pains along the way. But ultimately, those trials and tribulations carved out a more beautiful and complex person than I ever could have been on my own.
I think it took truly and absolutely loving another person to be able to reflect on the ways in which I also need to love myself. And maybe that isn’t the path that everyone will need to take to arrive at self-love, but it was the path that I needed.
Opening my heart also opened up so much more of who I am as a human being. Exposing myself to the full range of human emotions—both the good and the bad—has forged a more compassionate and resilient person, one who is still learning but also knows the value of relationships.
Taking on the responsibility of loving and caring for others has made me more accountable in so many ways. And maybe it sounds rigid to call love a responsibility, but I think that’s exactly what it is. It’s a commitment to making someone else feel safe and seen and loved—even when it’s not always easy.
Then, too, being accountable for my own happiness has forced me to confront the ways in which I was unhappy. It’s not always comfortable to look at the parts of ourselves that we don’t like, but it is necessary for growth.
In my relationships, I have found the courage to face my fears and to move through them. I have found strength that I never knew I had while also learning the power of vulnerability. I have learned to love myself and to value my own happiness as much as I value the happiness of those I love.
Never have I ever been so wrong—about anything.
If you had told me years ago that I would be writing this, I never would have believed you. But here I am, grateful for the relationships that have changed my life.
The best part is, I get to continue this journey with the person I love most by my side. And now I know there are no limits to what we can achieve or how much we can grow—together.
That ability to grow me and my relationship are the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for. And the amount of gratitude I feel is immeasurable.
Love has left me wide open. And while, at times, it’s still scary, it’s also the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced. To step back and see that beauty firsthand—in myself, in my partner, and in our relationship—is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything.
I was wrong about relationships. But I’m so grateful that I was. Because if I hadn’t been, I would have missed out on the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
It’s never too late to change your perspective on love and relationships.
And I’m proof of that.
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