The first time I fell in love , I didn't like myself at all. Luckily, a 17 year old boy loved me so much that I started to see myself through his eyes; I started believing that I was beautiful, and desirable; I started believing that I was a good person, worthy of love. //  The second boy that loved me , at 20 years old, showed me the kind of man that I want to be with. I learned that I want a man who challenges me, who takes care of me, and who allows me to take care of him. I learned that I want a man who has big ambitions, a big spirit, and an even bigger heart. //  And then, I fell in love for the third time  with a boy who showed me what passion really was. I could stare into his blue eyes for hours and my heart felt like bursting every time I saw him.  Each one of these relationships came to an end for good reason. Each one of them taught me what I did, and didn't, want in love.   I used to want to save the one I was with. I don't anymore. I learned that feeling supported and cared for is very important to me. I realized that I want someone who is both my best friend,  and  my most sought after lover. I want someone who motivates me with their ambition but feels confident despite my own. I want someone who wants to travel the world, eat exotic foods, cleans the dishes after I cook, and always tells me I'm beautiful, even when my hair is wet and I'm not wearing any makeup.    But despite how far I've come, I recently learned that when it comes to loving myself, I still have some work to do.  I learned this after experiencing two (what I perceived as) rejections. In the past few years since my last serious relationship, I made myself vulnerable to boys that could not, or would not, love me. Something I hadn't done since I was 16. I acted out, both times. In moments of anger, I broke it off abruptly, both times. I regretted it, both times. I tried taking it back, both times. I started asking myself questions about my worthiness, both times. I lashed out against one of the guys, multiple times. I turned to other guys that I didn't care about for validation. And  I finally got to a point where I realized that all my feelings of unworthiness, hadn't been dismissed like I thought they had been. They had just been laying dormant.  This was a huge epiphany for me, and came as a  complete  shock.  This may seem like a funny confession from an Empowerment & Confidence Coach, and yet, it's the truth. Most people would describe me as confident, feisty, and outspoken.  Most of the time, I walk with my shoulders back and my chin up, I approach men that I find attractive, I dance like everyone's watching, and I make time to really take care of myself physically and emotionally. And then other times, I feel scared and vulnerable and I find myself wondering why I wasn't enough for either of the men that I cared about.  I start to wonder if I'm enough for anyone to really want me. Or, maybe I'm too much for anyone to really want me. I was told by both of the aforementioned men that I have a "powerful presence". One of them meant it as a compliment, the other one not so much. But ultimately, neither of them wanted to stick around. I found myself wrestling with the questions, "is having a powerful presence undesirable?" or "am I undesirable?"...  The answer is obviously, NO! Having a powerful presence is not undesirable for the right person. And yes, of course I'm enough for someone to truly want me! Deep down, I know that in those vulnerable moments, laden with self-doubt, that I need to remind myself of all of the talents and qualities that I possess that make me the woman that I am. A woman that I'm actually really proud of.   That brings me to my next point. I notice that when I, or my girlfriends start trying to build ourselves up, we remind ourselves of inconsequential things, like all of the men who try to win our affection, or all of the attention we get from prospective lovers, or fantasizing about that "revenge body" we're going to get, etc. Those thoughts are just band-aids and give us temporary satisfaction. They don't, however, actually remedy the fact that in those moments, we don't feel good about ourselves.     But here are the three takeaways from all of this:     Self love isn't something that someone else can give you. Even if someone loves you more than anything in the world, it doesn't matter if you don't love yourself. Their love will make you feel good, but you'll become dependent on it. If, and when, it goes away, a gaping hole will still exist.   Remember that,  while being loved feels amazing and can help you feel good about yourself, you need to find the things that light you up and build your confidence so that you can stand proudly, and whole, on your own two feet.    And most importantly,  the path to self love isn't simple and it isn't easy. It doesn't start and stop in an instant. Loving yourself is a constant effort. Loving yourself takes dedication and consistency. It takes treating yourself well emotionally and physically; and when you don't, it take brushing yourself off and trying again. 

“Self love isn't something that someone else can give you. Even if someone loves you more than anything in the world, it doesn't matter if you don't love yourself. Their love will make you feel good, but you'll become dependent on it. If, and when, it goes away, a gaping hole will still exist.”

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