I used to have a thing with men.
I used to use men to fill the void that I was feeling within myself. I used to spend so much energy trying to find a guy to spend the night with. I used to feel incomplete without a guy by my side. I used to dread being alone.
I used to focus all of my attention on how I looked, because men were watching. I used to gossip with my girlfriends about the men in our lives, rolling our eyes at how all men are the same. I used to think that if only I found the perfect man, then everything in my life would be perfect.
I used to let myself be used by men, abused by men, and belittled by men.
I used to be so out of touch with myself, that I would say "yes" to whatever the guy of the moment wanted. I used to not even notice that my body was screaming "No! No! No!" for me in response to what was happening.
And then, slowly, I started to speak up for myself.
I started to let those guys know that no meant no. And then, slowly, life started bringing men into my life who respected me and treated me well.
One guy, knowing my struggles with self-image and self-worth, would whisper in my ear at night while I slept, "You are beautiful." And then, slowly, I started to believe it.
Slowly, one day at a time, one step at a time, I began to take care of myself. I began to listen to my intuition when it told me to stay away, or to walk away. I began to trust my inner wisdom in a way that has led me on a journey of making radical self-love a top priority.
I began to eat well, practice yoga, meditate, journal, dance, spend time in nature, create. I began doing me. Then, slowly, life started to bring me more of what would support my newfound dedication to living in alignment with my highest good.
I began to meet women who no longer tried to tear each other down, but instead made it their mission to inspire other women to succeed. I began to feel pulled towards a career path that had me excited to get out of bed each morning. I met a man who stood by my side for two years through all of my ups, downs, and inside outs as I explored what it means to be "me."
Now, for the first time since I was 12 years old (that's over half my lifetime), of my own free will, I'm completely on my own. I've tried this move before, only to find myself not fully ready to take on the inner work that comes from being consciously single for the first time in my adult life.
It's scary. It's terrifying. I find myself wanting to resort back to old habits. I find myself doubting the choices I made and wondering if what I'm doing is really necessary. I feel lonely at times, and completely lost at others. But, I know deep down that this space is what my soul has been yearning for. The space for me to stand in my power, on my own, and learn the lessons that come with this phase of my journey. Deep down I know that this absolutely necessary if I am to become a more fully integrated human being.
Some of you reading this may be one of the men I was talking about, or maybe you're one of the one's who has watched me from the beginning of this evolution of learning to care for myself without needing a man by my side. Or maybe you're someone whom I crossed paths with later on down the road.
Whoever you are, if you're reading this, I hope that this share inspires you wherever you are on your personal journey to creating healthy boundaries and making self-love and self-care a priority. Know that you too can begin to transform whatever it is that you are facing in your life.
Slowly. One day at a time, one step at a time.