One of my favorite things about this Guest Blogger Series, is learning how LOVE manifests itself in everyone’s lives. Since we are all so unique, it makes sense that our experiences would be as well. However, in reading the stories, I also like to find what elements I relate to and what the commonalities are. I am not surprised that today’s LOVE Story touches my heart because the amazing Amy is one of my favorite people in the world. We met through Snapchat and while Amy participates in my #tellthetruththursday and I join in on her #whatsgoodwednesday hashtag days, it is our own personal conversations that we cherish most. And when you read her story you will see why I think her positivity is infectious!
When Karen suggested I submit an article for her blog with the theme of love, I immediately thought, with gratitude, of those loved ones I hold dearest: my husband, my children, by fur baby, my family of origin, my closest friends. I thought of the peace and contentment I have in my life because of those who love me and the security to which I have their love. As I digested the concept, however, I knew that while that love is treasured, it isn’t the base of my peace, my contentment, my joy.
As a mental health therapist, I experienced a great deal of self-analysis while receiving my master’s degree. Initially, I assumed all of my “issues” of insecurity and low self-worth were the result of my biological father wanting no part of my life. As much as you “learn” and cognitively “know” your abandonment wasn’t personal, it’s often hard to negate those subconscious beliefs. I then started to “blame” other factors in my life: I didn’t feel loved by my step-father, I felt hurt when my mother had children with my step-father and I felt pushed aside, I perceived that my new step-family didn’t accept me, and I was raised to believe that God’s love was, essentially, conditional. Enter the belief that I didn’t fit in at school, the romantic heartbreaks, the rejection that is simply a part of life, and by the time I reached my teens and even early 20’s, I was NOT feeling very loveable!
I eventually married a man that was solid, providing, agreeable, helpful, and who put a priority on his family. I had three beautiful children and thought, for the first time, “Wow; as a mother, I truly feel unconditionally loved!” Truth be told, I remember coming home from a business trip and after the boys quickly greeted me and then returned to their activities, while my golden retriever refused to leave my side, I thought, “Wow; now THIS is unconditional love!” As our children get older, and as our romantic relationships also age, again, we know we have unconditional love, but we don’t always “feel” that love.
At one point in my marriage, I realized that I wanted more. I didn’t know the words for it at the time, but what I was craving was emotional intimacy with my husband. I truly believe I tried to express and achieve that within our relationship, but my efforts failed. Finally, when we were at the point of essentially being roommates, I told my husband we needed outside help. I had realized life was too short to not be loved and fulfilled. He refused to get help, and (long story short) we divorced.
Following my divorce, I was rejected by people I thought were friends. I dated and found people who loved me, and tried to find someone with which to experience true love with real intimacy. My heart was hurt, and I often felt worse about myself than ever.
What transpired during this time, however, was something incredible. Through self-introspection, exploration of my identity, increased self-awareness and knowledge, I began to find a new kind of love. I began to focus on my core characteristics and see myself for who I am at my core. I began to realize that perfection isn’t only impossible, it’s unnecessary. I realized I am a loveable person just as I am: imperfections, mistakes, weaknesses, and all. I finally began to experience unconditional self-love. I’m still very humble and I know I’m not for everyone, but I know I’m incredibly valuable and loveable, and wow, this kind of unconditional love has been life-changing.
I had wondered if I would ever find that proverbial “true love,” but since my own self-discovery, I have found my soulmate. I can’t express how grateful I am to have found a man who, like no other, truly makes me FEEL unconditionally loved and who is so willing to be emotionally intimate.
I now focus my efforts on relationships that are truly meaningful. I have been blessed to see good hearts in all three of my boys and that makes me so very proud. I cultivate friendships with those I can trust to love and support me as I am, and who will nurture our relationship as I do. I have been blessed to have connected with like souls around the world through social media who have shown me so much love and kindness.
I am so blessed to have the privilege of finding work through which I can guide others to their own self-awareness and self-acceptance. I have made that my mission: to share with others how they can achieve what I have. It truly has led me to a place of true joy, peace, and great love.
Thank you Amy for opening your heart and sharing that honest and beautiful LOVE story! You are a wonderful example of living a purpose filled life. I appreciate all the joy you have brought to my days as I am sure you have to so many others!