What I Wish I Knew About Self Love Sooner

I went to an all-women’s college in North Carolina for my undergraduate years. While it was one the BEST decisions that I ever made in my life, it also brought up a lot of struggles of mine that were to come. One of the biggest struggles that I faced in college was watching many of my classmates date and get engaged and eventually married and start families of their own while in college. I remained single for most of my college years and yearned for a college love story of my own. I dreaded the idea of dating after college and even started to resent those of mine from college who happened to find somebody great for them during their college years. I had dreamed of going off to college, meeting my special someone, and then starting our lives together after we graduated. That is what 18 year old Katie wanted so so so bad. However, that is FAR from what 23 year old Katie got 2 years post-college graduation. However, 23 year old Katie today has learned A LOT about self love when it comes to dating that I truly wish I had learned and listened to others saying to me sooner.

Currently, I am single AND fabulous!!! I am *almost* 24 years old and praying that I do not end up in a quarter century life crisis LOL and striving to be a good friend, coworker, family member, Dog Mom, and much more. That is my ultimate goal at this moment is to better myself for myself and myself only. Now, that does not mean that one day I won’t date or end up married. In fact, I would LOVE to ultimately get married to the love of my life someday, but it is something that I feel takes time and is not something I am rushing or searching for. At the end of the day, I am content on my own and can support myself through thick and thin, whether or not I am in a relationship.

I live in a big metropolitan area – *just* outside of Washington, DC to be exact – and, well, every time I close my front door and head towards the city, I overhear a group of girls my age discussing some sort of dating issue in their lives. Every time. I used to be that girl, too. I wanted a relationship so so so bad. I tried the dating apps, dating friends, and dating classmates from college. However, none of them worked out in me meeting the love of my life. A quest to find love for myself usually ended up in LOTS of heartbreak and sadness in what I had hoped I would have. And I remember getting REALLY irritated during those times of heartbreak when those around me who love me would simply say “focus on yourself”. As annoyed as I was then, focusing on yourself is one of the most important things that you can do for you in the long run.

Seemingly happy couples getting married and having kids and embarking on homeownership and celebrating huge milestones on our social media feeds pretty often, the constant bombarding of ads for dating apps including success stories of couples who met on the app and the apps trying to get you to make an account, dating shows showcasing unconventional ways to date/get married (yes, I am *even* alluding to my favorite The Bachelor in this category), and family and friends getting engaged and married before us makes it SO easy to just want a relationship. The desire for a relationship 10000% makes us lose sight of pretty great things in life, including ourselves and what we want. In recent times, I have been working a lot on myself and trying to work through some things that cause me pain to only make me into a better person. I am also becoming more and more content with who I am as a person. I am falling head over heels in love with myself. And, the more I am loving myself, the less I am worried about dating and relationships.

There are also some people in my life that I know would make great life partners for someone else or have even been interested in me. In the past, I used to want to pursue someone for the sole purpose of them wanting to pursue me. Because, *surprise* I really wanted a relationship. Now, as I work on myself and love myself, the more I want someone else who checks all of the boxes off on my mental list of what I want in a partner. And, when I refer to a mental list of things that I want in a partner, I am NOT talking about stupid things that are nit picky, but rather big things and aspirations in my life that I hope my future spouse is on the same page with, too. And, the more I work on myself, the more I realize that while I may be attracted to someone and vice versa, that does not mean that they are the right person for me in the long term. As one of my coworkers says “the less forced a relationship feels, the more right it will be”. Indeed, that is true the more I work on myself and realize that wanting a relationship REALLY bad with fear of being alone or not being content with yourself or able to be on your own and content with it is a red flag from anybody. It’s one thing to want a relationship but know you can live without it, but it is another to feel like you have to have it and cannot be single and alone. Enjoy time with yourself and be content with yourself. Never lower your standards for someone else either!

The more I work on myself and focus on my own needs and desires, the more I am aligning myself with meeting the right person for me, even if ultimately that person is me. The fear of being alone is a real and scary fear that I have felt, but is the most liberating fear to overcome. Along with working on loving myself and striving to manifest the right person for me eventually, I am also manifesting my own incredible tribe of friends who are also my soulmates in their own unique ways. Dating isn’t everything at the end of the day. Our friends and family will always have our backs in our quests to find love within ourselves and those around us. It’s a gift that I treasure being that relationships take all sorts of beautiful forms.

XOXO – Katie <3

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