Happy Self Love Day

It doesn't take Valentine's Day for me to appreciate how lucky I am to to live such a happy life with a wonderful man, who loves me in a way I have never experienced before. In truth, the relationship Max and I share seems more a like a miracle because most of my adult life I didn't know love even though I had been married to another at a very young age.

I could write all about the horrible details of my first marriage to John--his jealous rages, intimidation tactics, emotional and physical abuse, even the murder of my dog. I might even be justified in using these words to blame him for the desperation and lonliness I felt those five long years we were together. But while it is true that I didn't do anything to John to justify his abusive treatment, I did share blame for marrying him in the first place.

How could I--the good-natured, golden girl who seemed to have it all-- end up with a loser like John? Why would I stay with a man who hurt me?

I spent years in therapy trying to figure out that one. But after much soul searching, I have come to a simple conclusion: I didn't love myself.

Don't get me wrong. Never a pessimist, I've always had a reasonably good feeling about who I was and what my future could hold. However, as a young woman, I always felt I needed to have a guy in my life to be truly happy. I wasn't enough for myself. I didn't feel I could create my own happinesses. And when my knight in shining armor didn't show up at first light to whisk me away to the land of happily ever after, I jumped at the first guy who came along.

Harsh, but true.

Sure, there were symptoms and signs of trouble early in the courtship, but I rationalized them out of my mind, unaware of how things would escalate as the years went on. Even though he wasn't "everything I ever wanted for myself," I compromised my standards because I didn't think I would ever do better and didn't give myself the time and space to find out.

And so, instead of love, I discovered the deepest sense of lonliness that comes when you are coupled with the wrong person.

For. Five. Years.

Yeah, I know.

So you might better understand why I feel as though I experienced a miracle in my life. It wasn't that I finally met a good man, who carried me off to a glamous life abroad. No. My miracle was learning to love myself, taking ownership of my own happiness, realizing I deserved everything I ever wanted, and, ultimately, not settling for anything less than a prince even if it took a really long time.

Why am I sharing this personal account of very painful memories? Because I have known friends and acquaintences who have settled for Mr. Right Now because they were tired of waiting for Mr. Right. I read blogs of many single women, who lament aspects of their relationshps, and I want to shake them. Why settle for anything less than what makes you completely happy? It doesn't matter if their stories don't turn out as extreme as mine was. When a person settles for less, he or she is showing a lack of self love.

Don't do it.

Happy Self Love Day to each and everyone. You deserve it!

Here are the rules is you want to participate.

Feb. 13th & 14th, 2009
Here’s how the whole thing works:
1.) You’re gonna grab yourself a banner at Hilly's site.
2.) Post banner and then tell us all something that you really like love about yourself (thus, the “self-love” portion of our program).
3.) Ask or beg your readers to post one thing that they too love about you!!!  If your blog friends are nice, you shouldn’t have to beg…much.
4.)  Enjoy yourself and spread the love by doing this on your blog!  If you want to, drop me a line or a trackback so that I know you participated too!


SM said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I realized as I read it that what you experienced could have very easily been me if I hadn't ended things with my first boyfriend.

I do agree with you, though - when you settle for something even though it doesn't feel right, you aren't being true to yourself.

Sizzle said...

I'm so glad you learned to love yourself and found someone who mirrors back you wonderfulness.

Connie said...

I love your positive attitude. I too had a Mr. Wrong before my Mr. Right. After getting rid of wrong, I decided I'd figure out how to be happy on my own. I did. Then along came this guy who made me voluntarily willing to not be happy on my own... he did it without trying and against my plans. I guess that's how I knew it was meant to be :-)

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I'm very glad you found the way to love yourself and move on to a great guy.
I'm very happy you blog because I find you funny and very personable.

Happy Self Love Day!

Carolina Girl said...

*Sigh* I needed to hear this! I can't believe what you went through. You are such a strong lady, and I admire you!

oreneta said...

From what I've read on your blog...positive attitude, flexibility, determination, strength and adventurousness.

Happy self-love day.

G in Berlin said...

I love your sunny happiness. I always feel better when I talk to you.

Outnumbered2to1 said...

Wow. You have come such a long way. This was so well written. I know your story is going to touch alot of people in the same situation.

Anonymous said...

What I love about you is the same thing I love about myself...haha. Seriously though, when life knocks you down, you seem to stand up and brush it off and keep on going. I know it's never that simple but you know what I mean. You are strong!

Xavierism said...

Good post. Through all of this, it seems that we always forget a major rule and constant comment that Judge Judy always says, "You picked him!"

It's so true. We pick those bad relationships. Endure them even when all the signs are pointing to the main exit sign and still feel as though there's hope.

Everyone has their own story. It's up to us as to how the story ends.

Glad that many of us are finally on a road of true Love. It's not easy...but so worth making it a constant source once we find it.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Me said...

You are gorgeous and fabulous and have a great spirit of adventure in you, which I admire very much. :)

Cheryl said...

Diane, I love your attitude and outlook on things. You seem to look at the world in just the right way, I wish I could do the same.

patches said...

It can be difficult to love oneself. It's easier to blame the symptoms, than treat the cause. Thank you for sharing this.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

It's amazing what loving yourself can bring about...and what not loving yourself can do....hurray for you!

Anonymous said...

Can I ask how old you were when you settled for John and married him? I'm sometimes amazed at how early people will decide they're getting too old and should take whatever they can. But that's not to say people who are older can't be just as desperate. I was just curious. Congrats on learning to love yourself and thereby becoming a loving spouse to a loving man!