I have woken up early this morning, a Friday that feels like a Sunday, pressed half a lemon into a cup of water, and wriggled back under the covers with my laptop, this playlist that I’m loving at the moment, and an inordinate impulse to write to you about relationships.
There’s this romanticism around being in a relationship with someone, even at the expense of losing ourselves in it. Our culture thrusts upon us a sense of urgency around being in relationships, as if potential partners and your ability to show up in a relationship can only happen in a very small and finite gap of time.
The truth is, however that unless you have done and are willing to do the inner work around your relationship with yourself first and foremost, and secondly the expectations you have of others, relationships can actually be really hard, lonely and difficult.
So many people step into relationships with others simply to fill the void: the empty space within you that is desperately seeking love, affection, connection, visibility and validation.
The thing is, the other person will never be able to do you justice and love you the way that you deserve or desire, as long as you give your power away so easily by expecting others to be responsible for those aspects of yourself. You have to give yourself everything you so deeply crave, first. And then allow it to be mirrored to you in your relationships.
This has been such favored topic in my circles lately, that I even wrote an article on it titled You Are Not Unloveable. It is written for my friend who recently threw her hands up in their air of being exasperated by the lack of romantic love in her life. And all the women who feel the same. You can read it here.
I remember thinking in my early 20’s that relationships were the holy grail for happiness. I ended up in relationships easily, one after another, after another. And while the first few months of lustful delusions were heaven, the magic wore off too quickly. I found myself suffocating, losing myself and feeling resentful. Often the loneliness and feelings of not being understood felt worse that the fear of being alone forever.
Then one day, after another exceedingly difficult breakup, I decided I was done. No more. I didn’t need a man. I was going to allow myself fleeting romances, but I didn’t have space or time for any kind of full-time commitment. It was too much.
I dedicated myself to living a life filled with all the things I wanted: love, of all kinds. Adventure and work that satisfied me to the core of my being. Spontaneous creativity and a lifestyle that radiates freedom. A deep satisfaction and delight in my own company. Being in a relationship with myself became my everything. I learned that the leading principle to happiness is to fall in love with being with YOU.
Then one day I wasn’t alone. I stepped into an experience that has been an evolving co-creation of love. I don’t lose myself in it but I find companionship and solidarity in it. It is not a filler to what might be missing in my life but an addition to the many things in my life that bring me joy.
I write this as I sit in bed, after 2 weeks of being alone, while my love is away. I’ve had moments that have frightened me in how much I enjoy my own company, and how easy life is when it’s just me. I don’t feel lonely. I also don’t miss the one I love. I feel complete, and whole and happy within me. There is no void to fill — being in or out of a relationship makes little difference to me — I’ve learned to fill myself up internally.