Learning to Love Myself: In a relationship…with myself

This post has been on my heart for a very long time.

Close your eyes and imagine a little redheaded girl whose favorite movie was Sleeping Beauty because they lived happily ever after. She prays every night before she goes to bed “Dear God, please give me blue eyes and blond hair”. She dreams about her prince charming and cannot wait for the day he will walk into her life. His name was Eric when she was a kid (I always find it strange I liked the name Eric when I didn’t even own The Little Mermaid nor watch it all as a kid. What about Phillip?) and as she got older his name changed to James. He would be tall, dashing, British and completely sweep her off her feet.  They would get married and travel with their six children (I since have amended that number) all over the world. They would grow old together and sit in rocking chairs on their wrap around porch while grandchildren played in the yard.

Realistically as a child I probably didn’t think beyond the guy himself, but the dream was always there. It really hadn’t changed throughout the years. His attributes may have changed but not the dream. I’ll wear a giant poofy dress with lace sleeves and my best friend will be my maid of honor. He’ll cry when he sees me walking down the aisle and I’ll be so blissfully happy I will start crying myself and my mascara will run. We’ll have the giant house, kids, pets, and he’ll play with my hair every night to help me fall asleep. It’ll be perfect.

Jump forward to my eighth grade year. I get my first real serious crush (no matter how much I want my love for Johnny Depp to count, it doesn’t) and it turns out to be a disaster. We ended up breaking each other’s hearts. I wasn’t ready for a relationship plus I wasn’t allowed to date so I broke his heart. He moved and then I found out the kind of guy he was so he broke my heart. I’ve never pursued a guy after that- I just crushed on them from afar and wrote pitiful poetry when they got a girlfriend. I always figured I would just meet him eventually. When I moved in high school I thought I would meet him at my new school and yea, no. I then went to camp to work as a counselor and I had a crush on a guy, who probably saw me as a just a friend. I spent most of that summer trying to get to notice me which frustrates me looking back-I’ll explain in a minute. Summer is over and I go to college. Still no boy. Here I am two years into college, two camp summers behind me and still no boy. Where does that leave me the sad hopeless romantic who cries at every chick flick and romance novel?

My brother got married last summer, my best friend got engaged and is getting married in January. I have friends from high school married with kids and everywhere I look I see relationships. I started writing this post a long time ago and it has taken me a long time to write it simply because my heart is fickle. Just recently three people I know ended their relationships, relationships which I thought were going strong. It made me start to doubt once again whether or I wanted to engage myself in the messy world of relationships. A quote about relationships that has always stuck with me is “You are either going to marry the person you are currently dating or break up”. That quote alone makes me nervous about dating.

I have never had a boyfriend.

I hate telling people that because, to me at least, it makes me feel immature and unexperienced. I also hate it because I feel awkward giving relationship advice when I have never been there myself. I have been living with my brother while the both of us are going to college and I set him up at my other brother’s wedding with a friend of my sister-in-law’s. They got pretty serious pretty quick and I had reservations because this girl had just gotten out of a long relationship and I wasn’t sure if she was ready for another serious relationship. I thought they would take it slow and enjoy each other. This is all said with a little bias however because I only get my brother’s side of the conversation and he is pretty serious about her.

Every time my brother talks to me about his relationship I feel the need to comment because if I don’t he will directly ask me for my advice or think I’m “holding back” or something. However when I do give my advice it’s not usually something my brother wants to hear and comes back with the same retort every time “You’ve never been in a relationship so how would you know what it is like?”. True I have never been in a relationship, but I have lived on this Earth for some time and had a lot of friends in relationships. I have seen those relationships rise and sink like the Titanic. They were great on the outside and inside, but something was lurking in the deep that would eventually destroy them. Yes, I have never had a boyfriend but I have set standards and I am not backing down from them. If you ask for my advice about relationships I will give you advice based on those standards because I would expect nothing less.

Where is this going?

Last summer I worked at the same summer camp I worked at for the last two summers. Once again I found myself crushing on a guy who saw me as a friend. The crush didn’t last long (that being the same summer my brother was getting married so I think I had wedding fever or something) and once again I found myself frustrated with myself. Why did I keep doing this to myself? Was I really interested in this guy or was I more interested in the idea of a relationship? Did I want to be in a relationship for the actual person or just to be able to say I was in a relationship and I had a boyfriend? After I that summer I came back to college, moved into a house, and got a job as a cashier at Wal-Mart (that is a post for another time). I was suddenly independent for the first time in a long time and honestly I love it. I love only being accountable for me and not having to worry about texting someone all day or having to call/face time at night. I don’t have to worry about seeing them, date nights or whatever else people do in a relationship.

I am learning who I am as a person and it has been the greatest thing I have done for myself. I was so concerned for the longest time about appearances and what I look like to other people that I stopped loving myself. I was creating a persona of myself that I didn’t even recognize any more. I genuinely love spending time by myself and would rather spend the evening home alone, in comfy clothes, eating pizza and watching Netflix, rather than going out with friends. I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR THAT! I love who I am and I love exploring who I am as a person. Two years ago if I had been in a relationship I would have defined myself by that relationship, but that’s not the case anymore. I am learning what I want out of a relationship and I am waiting. My aunt waited until she was in her thirties because she knew what she wanted and she wasn’t going to settle. I don’t want to settle either. Sure I want to do fun couple stuff and have those adventures with my best friend, but not until I am ready and not until he is ready.

I keep a box of letters that I write to my future husband. It’s helped me a lot especially when I am feeling lonely and that old pressure of needing to be married and having kids comes pressing in on me after I have looked at Facebook and see pictures of my friends kids. I call it my alabaster box because there is a story of a woman in the Bible who poured perfume on Jesus’s feet. The perfume was expensive and was most likely her dowry or some kind of saving. Either way this woman gave up her dreams of a future just to wash Jesus’s feet. It has always been a dream of mine to get married but it’s no longer a goal or a priority. It’s a blessing. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul gives some advice on marriage. There is a lot there to process but what I love about that chapter is that Paul advises against marriage. Wait, did I just contradict myself? Paul says it is better to be single than to be married because then your work for the Lord isn’t corrupted by the needs and demands of the marriage. I would advise you to read that passage for yourself because I am doing a terrible job of summarizing it. When you are single you are more free to do the Lord’s work because you don’t have the demands of the family. Of course Paul isn’t saying don’t get married. He is saying if you don’t feel the need to get married then don’t get married; ignore the pressure of the world around and spend your time serving the Lord. No one should have to think they have to get married because that is what everyone else is doing. If you want to get married (like my brother does) then get married, but if you are like me and realize that while marriage is a possibility it’s not a priority then don’t worry about it. It will happen on it’s own time and if it never happens then you will have saved yourself the trouble of constantly wondering why you aren’t married yet.

God is going to bring someone into my life when I am ready and if he never does I don’t think I’m going to look back on my life and cry because I never found “the one”.

-A

 

 

 

 

 

 

My brother is getting married this summer and every one of my close friends is in a relationship. I should probably be feeling sorry for myself right? WRONG!

This post is for you. The girl who thinks she needs a guy to complete her. His love will fill her and she will be happy. WRONG!  This has been something I have been trying to figure out my entire life and it took me until I was a Junior in college to figure it out.

Only God is going to fill that hole in your heart. That spot you reserved for your future husband only God can fill it. Only God will love you unconditionally. Only God will love you at your worst and at your best. Don’t make finding a husband your idol. That’s what I did and it kinda wrecked my relationship with God. I spent two summers at camp worrying about boys and not worrying about my campers. I will admit I got better the second summer but I still had boys on the mind even when I was telling my campers, “We’re not here for boys. We are here to learn about God.” I was a hypocrite for so long. I was lying to myself for so long.

I am not sure the exact year but when I was in high school I think I went with my cousin to a bible study.

Advertisements