On this, my 9th Valentine’s Day as a single woman, I am more in love than I was when I was married or in my post-divorce, long term love affair with the man I was sure I was gonna spend the rest of my life with. And I didn’t have to go very far to find it.
This year, as I slide gracefully into 57, for the very first time, I have stopped looking out and started looking in. Taking time to count my blessings, stepping back to observe my life at drone’s length. Ever done that? It’s a very cool way to capture the greatest love of all.
Here’s the thing. If you’re not someone YOU would want to date, there’s a reason you’re not dating.
Learning to love yourself starts with accepting what is and see where that takes you. Got a nephew or a kid or a dog or a cat that thinks you’re the bee’s knees? Channel their love and let it fuel you. I’m not sure what I did in a previous life to be granted the pleasure of raising two tremendously loving, talented, passionate/compassionate, hard working, highly evolved daughters who really do think they can change the world. I have never known love like this before, and my most joyful moments this week hit me while shopping for their Valentine’s gifts. The gratitude exuding from each of them was so real and heartfelt, it opened me up to all the love that surrounds me every single day. Sometimes, we forget that love is love, no matter where it comes from. And it can fill us up, if we let it.
When it comes to partner love, for better or worse, we learned what we lived, whether our parents were great love role models, or despised each other. We get to make our own call when choosing a soulmate, and either mimic what we witnessed, or do a complete 180. That’s the power of love.
My parents have been married for 58 years (I’d have to live to 114 and get hitched next week to hit that milestone), and they have shown my sisters and me their own version of what true love looks like . For decades, they funneled their deep love for each other into each of us, and I recently tapped into my portion, using it to re-ignite a love affair with myself, 30 years past my “prime”.
Though it’s not always easy to love yourself when you see your grandma’s face staring back at you in the mirror, it helps if you can find a way to embrace your wrinkles and your ripples. Look at every one as a battle scar, from birthin’ babies to living loud, and praise that awesome body of yours, for protecting you from illness and pain. For allowing you to push it hard, even when it sent signals that it had enough. I chased perfection for way too long and though it took decades, I have finally surrendered. I am now, really truly grateful for, (and in love with) this strong body I’ve built, even if it’s not looking quite like I thought it would at this point in my life. ☺
The only real way to find true love by Valentine’s Day (that’s tomorrow) is to find your way back to your own heart. You don’t need any ruby slippers (tho they are pretty cute on VDay)… you just gotta embrace your own imperfection and give yourself some credit. For all the good stuff you’re doing and for being good to people. If you can do that, you’ll fall back in love with yourself. That’s step one, but an important prereq to finding that other love of your life. Cuz that person’s not coming for you til you do.