It's been a while since I shared a blog post, and the time I spent away from the keyboard I spent further reaching into my mission and personal pain. Opening myself vulnerably to sharing my stories has been challenging; I‘ve felt myself pulling away from my mission because of it. Of course, I will always want to share tips on building careers or better health, but ultimately, I have known my mission deep inside since the day I started this blog. It's to help women heal from pain that I am all too familiar with, and it's become sort of a mantra. Now that I am drawn back to the keyboard, I keep repeating it to myself, heal her. I have had a long and painful road to self-love, acceptance, healing, and finally finding the relationship I craved for decades, and it's my mission to help others do the same. I know how lonely and frustrating it can be on your path for love and continually feeling unworthy or confused by the outcome. At different stages of my life, my trauma brought me new challenges, but my intrinsic motivation was the same. All I ever wanted was to be loved and accepted, and it took me nearly thirty-five years to figure out that all started within me.
"All I ever wanted was to be loved and accepted, and it took me nearly thirty-five years to figure out that all started within me."
Life these days is messy. It's digital, convoluted, and I watch on tik-tok as more and more people feel disconnected from love and each other. I often feel thankful that I wasn't thrust into social media as young as people are now. Still, I can't help but notice that people face the same challenges when searching for a healthy relationship no matter their age. It goes to show that no matter the era, people want the same thing. IRL connection, love, and acceptance. I never realized so many people felt the way I did, and it's only caused me to feel a responsibility as I see my subscribers grow. Maybe that pressure is what kept me away so long, but ultimately it's made me realize that deep down, everyone wants the same thing. Also, everyone has their own pain. Each and every one of us has personal struggles and healing that needs to be done whether we are fully aware of it or not. Recently I was at a dinner sitting with some of my best friends and their husbands. It was a bit surreal because I have known these women since we were 19, getting blackout drunk at frat parties, and here we were fifteen years later, all grown up. I moved to NYC almost a decade ago, so these moments are few and far between, and often I miss out on these friendships, but when we do get together, it's always a good time.
At dinner, I looked around at these amazing friends, and for the first time, I recognized the pain each of us had faced. When you're young, it's easy to get lost in your own story and look at other people and think their life is perfect or easy in some way, but that couldn't be further from reality. These women had faced death, divorce, kids, illness, and so much more, yet while we were all growing up together, I thought I was the only damaged one. I saw myself as the black sheep and thought my pain was worse or more damaging. I couldn't have been more wrong because there is no hierarchy of pain. Pain is pain, and we often dismiss it because it's not as bad as someone else's. We minimize pain thinking it could be worse, so we push it down, thinking we should be grateful for what we have. I wonder if that's why it takes some people so long to address their pain? I know that is true for me; it took me over a decade to even recognize the trauma I had suffered because I didn't think I deserved to feel bad for myself. In this period away from writing, my biggest revelation is that you are entitled to your pain no matter who you are. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that when I committed to therapy, my entire life changed. I finally allowed myself to work through the pain and trauma that had been festering for decades, and that gave me the courage to show up here.
"We minimize pain thinking it could be worse, so we push it down, thinking we should be grateful for what we have."
What I learned in therapy was more than I could ever share, but it allowed me to lift the limiting beliefs keeping me from healing and finding love. I never realized that I was the one holding myself back through my behavior, beliefs, and the digital world only made it that much harder. I believe that so many of you are on that same journey, so today, I wanted to share a few essential tips that helped me on my healing journey. I never realized that healing was such a crucial part of finding love, but I believe to my core that it changed everything.
No Matter What, You Deserve Love
There is such a misconception that you need to be fixed to be loved. I hear from people on social media saying things like if I were pretty, thinner, younger, I could find love, and that's not true. You are a beautiful, imperfect, human and we all deserve love. No matter what. What I hear in these comments is a lack of empathy and love for yourself. If you don't believe you are loveable, you won't be. You are closing off the opportunity by deciding for others through that limiting belief. I share some of these sentiments in my e-book It All Starts with Self Love, and it really does. Like I've said, we all have pain. But pain doesn't make you unlovable. If your pain makes you feel unlovable, then it's up to you to begin to heal that pain and free yourself from that burden. I know I felt this way for a very long time after experiencing rape and emotional abuse. Instead of processing my pain, I continued down a path of destruction that gave me a false sense of connection and relief, which only contributed to more pain. Once I understood my pain and started to heal instead of masking, I built the self-love I needed. You are worthy of love no matter what, but how you show up to love changes everything.
There's No Such Thing as Perfect
Happiness trumps perfection every time; however, it can be hard to see that with images of perfection being thrown at us everywhere we look. The standards through the lens of social media are so unattainable even the people setting them can't reach them. I spent so long sitting on the sidelines, paralyzed by perfectionism, thinking I could never compete with what I saw. I looked for perfection in myself, making it impossible to love myself or let anyone else. I also looked for perfection in a partner, which left me in a rat race of dating, trying to find someone who met all the unattainable standards I had set. There is an overload of options in a big city, and you can keep swiping to find someone better, but in reality, it's just creating more of a rift from finding a real connection. My perfectionism left me stuck not pursuing my dreams and not allowing anyone in, the farthest from happy I could ever be. At my breaking point, I realized that I would never be satisfied unless I learned to give myself and others some grace. If I didn't start focusing on the positive and the good, I'd always be disappointed with the less than perfect. The reality is, all of life's real beauty is in the messy, imperfect, funny shit you couldn't have prepared for.
Vulnerability is Hard But Necessary
One side effect of experiencing pain is it hardens our emotions as a protective measure. We don't want to experience that pain again, so unconsciously and consciously, we change our behavior so that we don’t. We become tough on the outside like turtles living in their protective shells. I like to say tough girls became tough for a reason, and that goes for anyone, not just women. My own toughness came on young, and I wore it as a shield for so long, I never got to know what was beneath. I think a lot of us avoid our pain because facing it feels too hard. It can feel like if you open the floodgates, you'll never be able to close them, so we keep them tightly shut until we get drunk and messy cry or we fly off the handle with misdirected anger towards someone wondering where all that emotion came from. It's hiding right under the surface, and the one thing I learned in therapy was facing it head-on was going to be challenging, but it wasn't going to kill me. By letting the scary, ugly, messy pain out, it allowed me to find my humanity. It allowed me to crack that outer shell to not only meet my true self but allow others to meet her for the first time as well. I spent so much time keeping my authentic self bottled up; I didn't know who she was. It wasn't until I learned to become vulnerable that I let go of control and fell in love with myself. That allowed me to be open to falling in love with someone else. I never realized that I was unavailable to be a partner to someone else by being emotionally unavailable. Vulnerability can feel like cutting yourself open only to bleed out on the operating table, but instead, it's what will bring you back to life.
"Vulnerability can feel like cutting yourself open only to bleed out on the operating table, but instead, it's what will bring you back to life."
No matter your pain, take this as a sign to heal. We all have it no matter what you've experienced in your life. It also makes it easier to have empathy for others when you realize it. You are entitled to your pain, but it's your responsibility to process it. No one else can do it for you; I can only share how healing my pain changed everything for me. I believe it can do the same for you.