It’s over. You guys broke up. You’re single again, maybe even happy about it. Now what?
In the first part of this write up, I highlighted the importance of thinking – unfortunately often neglected by us women – which is one major reason why we end up with the wrong guys. Thinking can help us make the right choices (or not, depending on how we choose to think). However, there is a considerable threat in the way we often think about our new, hard-earned freedom.
We say we deserve to be loved. We deserve to be appreciated. We deserve to feel like a woman again. And for some reason, we believe that only a man can satisfy that desire. It’s not too big of a surprise though. A little research on the internet shows that singleness basically equals dating. Almost everywhere, women are encouraged to “get out there and have some fun”. So we go and start dating again since we are “back on the market”. After all, we want to “enjoy life on our own terms” and “be happy”.
The need is so strong, it unconsciously even pushes us to manipulate somebody else. All in the name of feeling good and being happy. We develop a self-centeredness that makes us highly sensitive, disabling us from discerning the right from the wrong. Any advice countering our desires, our ideas, our feelings is easily dismissed. We put ourselves on a pedestal, and we think the man who pays attention to that pedestal is paying attention to us. If he doesn’t, we go to the extent of making him pay attention. So we put extra effort into our looks, into being attractive to that man – or men in general – almost at all costs. We rediscover the surprising power of our womanhood, how easily we can seduce and wrap these men around our finger. Due to our recent experience, we now deserve to be at the center of attention, no matter what.
But also, we believe this attention is only received through the admiration from someone other than ourselves – in most cases, from a man. That is what society has told us, what we see, hear, what is common.
So we become needy, clingy but we try to protect ourselves by not attaching any strings while still engaging with men, just to not get hurt (again).
The problem here is that something very important is being covered up: our lack of self-love.
By mistaking egocentrism for self-love, we engage in things that do not only damage us even further, but we also damage people who have absolutely nothing to do with our brokenness. As we are clouded by our feelings, it results into egocentric behaviour. We focus on satisfying our own, selfish desires, derived from a void created by a broken relationship.
This, for example, is what leads women to sleep with men who are already in a relationship. Despite the fact that another person is being hurt sooner or later, they still do what makes them “happy”, regardless of the consequences for others. Right, we may not be “the other woman”. He may be single too. Does that change our motives, though?
I am sure we are all familiar with the following statement: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Everybody knows it. That sentence is a commandment to love – both our neighbours and ourselves. My conclusion to this is twofold:
- Love is a decision, not a feeling.
- Not only is it a decision; what I have seen many people do is focusing on the neighbour piece. But what it says is, you cannot love your neighbour if you do not love yourself. You cannot respect someone else if you do not respect yourself. You cannot honour someone else if you do not honour yourself. You cannot give what you don’t have. Therefore, you cannot receive what you don’t give.
While we are busy pursuing supposed happiness, we never invest time nurturing love within us. We stay clouded by our emotions, reacting to the symptoms of our broken dream.
My dear, here is the truth. You were already a beautiful, powerful and lovable woman before you met these men. And you still are. Use your singleness to cultivate that love for yourself first. Focus on yourself, yes, but not at the cost of others. Indeed, you have just come out of a relationship where you did not receive the kind of love you were seeking, you deserved. What makes you think that the next man is going to give that to you? Is that not what you expected from your last one too? As the saying goes, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.
I like what Ralph Waldo Emerson said about self-love: “We must be our own before we can be another’s.” Be your own love interest. Be your own self. Be whole. Independent. Self-sufficient. Choose to be happy with yourself, be your own admirer! You can be. Happiness comes from within, not from another person. Treat yourself not just outwardly by going to spas, getting, your nails done, a new haircut and pampering yourself. But treat your mind, treat your soul, treat you spirit also. Develop a healthy understanding of love, for yourself and for others. This will help you not end up with the wrong guy and get away from him with a broken heart all over again.
Unquestionably, this is easier said than done. Thus, the third part of this write-up will be dedicated to helping us women take practical steps to developing true, lasting love for ourselves.
With love and gratitude,