I have been reading The Daily Love (TDL) for inspiration and something that keeps popping up is the importance of self-love before true love. This brought me to the realization that I was a living proof of irony. I would stare at couples, especially old ones, who hold each other’s gaze, talk to each other almost in a whisper and would dismiss their intimacy as just an extract from a movie. After running around ‘boys’ in search of true love and getting my heart broken instead, I could not wrap my head around these movie scenes.
I was at a party a few months ago – a random birthday party. I met this guy Eric*at the party and we struck off into some conversation. He was very open and seemed knowledgeable. I admired that about him – being bold and able to express himself. I mingled with other people but he struck me; he was a memorable part of that party.
As the evening wore on, the party goers decided to play a game of truth or dare. The bottle spun my way and someone asked what I treasured most in a relationship – I was thrown somewhat off balance being the cynic that I was but my answer came out and I said communication. The bottle spun to others, some of whom had daring things they’d rather have done than tell the truth ;).
Later on, Eric found his way to wherever I was. He asked me whether I was currently dating. I said no, not in any romantic relationship whatsoever. I was as single as a thirteen year old. He asked me how long my previous relationship had lasted. I told him three months. We talked a little bit more about relationships, my share of them and then he told me something that would later turn out to be a wake-up call for me. He said I was the one sabotaging my relationships. I inhaled. I was wondering why a perfect stranger would be so quick to judge/conclude.
According to Eric, when a guy meets a pretty girl, this marks the beginning of a period of excitement and confusion; it’s like getting a new toy that he doesn’t know how to play with. He wants to show it to his friends, play with it all night and even carry it to school then one day realizes the boy next door has a better toy and his becomes trash and discards it. This led me to sort of go back in time and dissect my previous relationships. I realized that I was trapped in this cycle. I let things to happen too fast. I made it so hard for a guy to think through his actions and soon he was bored and I was heartbroken.
Eric volunteered his ‘consultant therapy’ services on any future relationship – he would be honest with me. Much later, it turned out that he was writing a book on relationships and I was his guinea pig.
It’s been eight gruesome months – I have been reading TDL, in the pursuit of self-love before true love. I am not there yet but I have come a long way. I have learnt about some stepping stones, some from Eric, and some from TDL. I am not saying that all these will lead you to break any cycle that you might be entangled in, or that they will instantly cure all relationship woos, but it is worth thinking about them.
Clear the clutter: This is a body, mind and soul thing. You have to acknowledge and ‘confess’ all your shortcomings in previous relationships – all that stuff that makes guilt creep up your throat and all over you conscience.
Forgiveness: In the search for self-love, depending on how far the search reaches, you may find that past relationships in your life, some of them familial, have affected you and your romantic relationships. When you realize this, you have to start a process of letting go. You have to forgive all the men (or women) in your life. I mean ALL – whether it was your dad for letting you down, or someone close to you for breaking your trust, etc.
Give notice: If you have contacts on your phone that lure you into temptation that is only fleetingly gratifying but doesn’t bring the cows home, then it is time to put them on instant notice. Or better yet, get rid of them. They are taking up space for your self-love plus it will help you with when the temptation comes to dial that number. If you don’t have it, you can’t dial it.
Take care of that body: drink lots of water, eat right and on time, avoid alcohol (in my case drink less). Exercise daily or as frequently as you can. If it means walking, jumping the rope, stretching when you wake up.
Nurture your spirit: At every point, you need a prayer. Pray, pray, pray. Surround yourself with positive energy. In my case, for about two weeks I switched to Radio 316 for inspiration. I sought after positive mantras – this is a GIGO thing. I had to do away with garbage including radio stations that bash relationships from all angles.
Explore your interests: Reawaken a hobby or find some other interest to explore. I actively started blogging and going to church. I visited galleries, went for poetry recitals and even played the violin.
You will need some form of support from close friends or other people you feel you can depend on. Detoxing is not an easy undertaking and many people get derailed easily even when we are simply talking about food. You’ll need to know who you can depend on and tell them about your journey – they will need to be conscious of this. At some point, you will exhale.
Have your say.
By Cynthia – guest writer (Return of Thought Blog)