Loving myself

Maaike - Brooklyn, New York
Entered on June 22, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe that to love is first of all to accept yourself as you really are.

I found this quote in a beautifully illustrated calendar just at a point when I thought love was out of reach for me. Another relationship had just ended- my third five year relationship in a 20 year span. Five years is not a small amount of time- especially for someone like me who loves deeply and I thought, wisely. At five years in this most recent relationship, I was just settling into the idea that I had a new world around me, a world of friends and family that were as much his as mine. So when our marriage bit the dust, and I had to start over yet again- I dreaded the familiar steps of healing and starting anew.

This time around though, I asked myself some hard questions. Why did I let his needs and interests become more important than my own? For years, I had been running in circles to be the partner who was flexible and relaxed, non-judgemental, open to anything. I could always roll with the punches, no matter how hard they were. I guess you could say I was the most accomodating person on the block. It’s probably no wonder that I attracted men who loved to be the center of attention and who took little interest in who I was as a person.

But after this last one ended, I knew I needed to change. Though it took some effort and tough realizations, I’ve learned to put me me first and not feel selfish about it. I now know that there is a difference between being self-centered and having a centered self. When I feel uncomfortable now or out of my element, I ask myself: Am I being myself? what do I want? What is important to me?

And yes, I admit that I get lonely sometimes and wish for a family that I do not yet have; but I now ask do I love ME enough to be ok with just me? And when the answer is yes, I know I have found the ground beneath my feet. I know this is what will lead me to better relationships in the future-the most essential one being the relationship with myself.