When I was a teenager, I’d spend many hours in romantic fantasies about my future husband. What would he look like? What would his name be? I thought somewhere in my twenties, I would slide into marriage smoothly, naturally, like milk in tea.
It didn’t happen that way.
The more boys I met, the more I was aware of something missing. The more they were interested, the more I was not. Things just didn’t seem right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Years passed. I moved to the States and got a great job with an ad agency. For the first time in my life, I got my own place and started living on my own. I experienced true independence. But I was still single, and still couldn’t understand why.
Then one night, in my late twenties, with another relationship biting the dust, I had an epiphany. And this realization came over me as naturally as a breath: instead of waiting for someone else to love me, I needed to love myself first.
That was how, finally, I fell in love.
Up until then I hadn’t realized how much time I’d spent rejecting myself. Loving myself unconditionally was the most wondrous, healing thing I can ever imagine. It was as if someone had given me a spiritual massage; as if I’d just woken up from a long sleep. I started treating myself with the same regard that I would a best friend. I was forgiving and tolerant of my flaws. I accepted my body. I would look at my nails, which I’d always hated, and loved them because they were mine. I smiled at my nose. I smiled for no reason. For the first time in my life, I felt whole.
Now I know that the thing I’d been missing most in my twenties was a great relationship with myself.
A short time after that mystical night of illumination, I met my husband. We fell in love and now have 2 beautiful children.
Today the lonely times of my twenties seem far away; today I revel in the pure love my children have for me. But sometimes I hear echoes from the past, and they remind me of the other pure love that got me here. Like marriage, this relationship with myself is something I have to work on constantly.