“We must be our own before we can be another’s.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve always gotten a lot of comfort from quotes. Someone, maybe a long time ago, maybe in a place far away from me and in a social position way different from mine, put pen to paper and summed up thoughts that might have taken me two thousand words to explain in just a few sentences (or shorter.) So I’m going to be working through number twenty-two on my list through quotes, by deconstructing and reinterpreting them in the context of my own life.
You have to love yourself first. I’ve heard that a lot since I was a teenager and my gut reaction was always yeah, I guess I love myself, check that one off the list! This Emerson quote is a more elegant way of saying the same thing: be comfortable in your own skin before you bring someone else into your life. It’s always seemed like a good relationship ‘prerequisite’ to me, but only recently did I realize that it’s essential.
First, realizing that I’m worthy of being loved and am, in fact, completely desirable. My teenage years were awkward; I was used to being considered ‘weird’ and that’s something it took me a long time to grow out of. But finally I woke up and realized that I can shape my life into whatever I want. I can be a vegetarian, can run a few miles every day, bake, dance, read. I can be a person that I would find attractive and worthy. And, in becoming that person, I gained a sense of confidence and independence that made me unwilling to settle for anyone less.
Right now I think my self confidence is at an all-time high. I DO love myself and in turn I’m able to take better care of myself than I have in the past. I’ve shed most destructive behaviors and significantly dialed back the negative voice in my head insisting that I can never change.
I like to think of it in cliche, Oprah-esque terms: I’m dating myself. I love my own company. I love looking good, being in shape, engaging in activities that make me happy. I don’t need to be in a relationship right now. Would it be nice? Yeah, definitely! But I’m content to wait for someone who is my equal, who complements my personality and pushes me to succeed. I know what I want and more importantly, I know that when I meet him I’ll feel like I deserve all the wonderful things to come.