I once fell in love with a man that shifted my whole entire world… those are the words spoken by almost every typical love struck woman. And I am no different. There was a time that I was spellbound by this man. At the time, I honestly believed that I would have done anything, for him.
I was so enamored that I sacrificed my profession, my own personal interests, and even my sanity. His interests became my interests, his needs became my priority, and keeping him happy became my focus. I was so hyper-focused that I truly believed that life would be well “once I got everything right within the relationship”.
I continued on this path of self-sacrifice until I arose one day and no longer recognized myself. I had become a shell of the woman that I once was; confused, disappointed, and no longer confident in my own judgments, beliefs, and desires. Eventually I rediscovered by spine and decided to leave that relationship. However, what I didn’t count on was the fact that although the marriage was no longer, I was still the same woman who had morphed herself to fit the man.
There is a quote by author Neil Gaiman that states: “wherever you go, you take yourself with you”. I always found that quote interesting and somewhat curious. Yet I now found it very applicable to my journey of self-growth because I never took the time to examine why was I changing myself to fit another.
So there I sat, finally ready to examine the part of me, that would give her self away for the sake of “love”.
A few years back, I recall reading an interview with Jessica Simpson where she offered the advice that women shouldn’t change who they are for a relationship. She came to that conclusion, after her own experiences of attempting to change to please a man. Although her advice is logical and important, how often do we find ourselves doing the opposite? Wanting to hold true to “keeping the peace” and “making the relationship work”, or needing to be a nurturer and tending to everyone else’s concerns and desires, at the sacrifice of our own feelings, wants, and needs.
Through self-discovery I have come to understand a few things:
- We must first love and know ourselves because it establishes boundaries of how we will engage with others
- To know oneself is a lifelong journey – a process of self-exploration that is eternal
- Love does not require us to diminish who we are for another. In fact, love allows us to expand and be all of who we are with another