I am a women who has looked for love in all the wrong places.
Both in and out of relationships with men. And always outside of myself. I’ve looked for love and approval through my work, through what people thought of me, through alcohol, through how I looked, how smart I was, how successful I was, how good a mother I could be, how busy I could be.
And yes, when it came to men boy did I look for love in all the wrong places there! I hit an absolute rock bottom around this the year my marriage ended and we also found out my Dad had cancer and he died within months. I couldn’t sit with my grief (both the grief of my present and the grief of my past which I had been unconsciously running from all my life) and instead, unconsciously, I found the most dysfunctional relationship I could find.
I put up with outrageously disrespectful behaviour and abandoned myself over and over again. When I think back on it now it still hurts, but now it hurts not because of the way someone else treated me but because of how I allowed myself to be treated. I had so little self-respect, so little self-love.
As this quote says I unquestionably accepted the love I thought I deserved. Because deep down I didn’t believe I deserved to be loved at all. Deep down I didn’t know how to love myself. And I see now, with great self-compassion, that with my history, it could not have been any other way for me.
That was over 10 years ago now. And what a 10 years it has been! I am now a fundamentally different person and live a fundamentally different life. It has been a long and slow process to heal all that needed to be healed within me. And I have learnt to accept, most days, that it will be a life long journey for me.
The MOST important ingredient I have found within all of this is self-compassion. I still struggle with it but I know it is the doorway to self-love.
I am in a relationship now with a man who deeply loves me and respects me and shows me this every day in different little ways. And I still struggle to let his love in. “We accept the love we think we deserve” and I am still learning that, like you, I deserve a good, kind, respectful love.
And it starts with me giving that to myself.
With great warmth