Photo by: Loe Moshkovska on Pexels

In my previous article, “You Can’t Fill A Bottomless Cup,” I recalled a story involving my cousin and his break-up with his girlfriend. Through our talk, I looked more into the foundation of their relationship and found that it was not defined, in fact, it was built on completely different ideals. I began to dig deeper and asked my cousin why he pursued an emotionally dependent relationship with this particular person. To sum it up, he told me that she was available and she wanted him. What I learned was, he yearned for, craved, sought, desired, NEEDED an intense, filling, emotional connection with someone and she was there, that’s it.

I began to dig even deeper and asked him why he felt he needed an emotional connection so badly and, after a while, he said that he felt empty. He said that his former girlfriend did tell him all of the things he wanted to hear – “you’re handsome, you’re smart, you’re funny,” but he didn’t believe her, or rather, he didn’t accept her words of acclamation regarding his character. He said that, occasionally, she was there for him emotionally, but her cheating on him made all of her actions counterfeit. When I looked at this relationship closely, wasn’t everything counterfeit?

She wanted someone to support her financially first and emotionally secondary. He wanted someone to support him emotionally, period. Yet, neither one of them talked about this as the foundation of their relationship. It seemed like it was a “show up, want me, and be with me physically, and then I will impose my secret will, desire, NEED on you.”

Some people are lucky when they pursue their relationships this way. But for most, this ends in misunderstanding, mistrust within this and every relationship formed, heartbreak and anguish. Why? Why couldn’t he accept her emotional offerings? That’s what he was looking for right? Wrong, he was looking for more.

Let me pose this question to you:

Have you ever been in a relationship and it started out good but after a while, you feel like you want more?

You may begin to feel irritated, your relationship becomes strained, and you get angry with the person you’re with? You feel like they’re not giving you what you need anymore. Why? Have you ever looked internally – what do you really want? If you had to CLEARLY define, describe, articulate to another person EXACTLY what you want and need from them, would you be able and willing to do it? Most people would answer NO! No, because it may come off too demanding, too strong. No, because you may not get everything you want from that person. The most important and relatable no is the, NO, I don’t know exactly what I want and how to relate it to the other person.

This is where filling a bottomless cup comes in – how can anyone fulfill your wants, needs, and desires if you don’t know what they are, how they feel to you, and the depth of their meaning. Do you know how an emotional connection feels? Is it the feeling you get while you’re physically connected? Is it them being your cheerleader, constantly feeding your ego with compliments? What is your definition of an emotional connection and are you picking the right partner to give you what you need? If you don’t have a bottom on your cup, you can’t show or articulate a clear answer. Self-love may be the first step to getting everything you want and need.

When we know ourselves and love ourselves – the good, bad, ugly, and indifferent, we begin to create that foundation for relationships. I’ve found that love isn’t perfect, it’s not always beautiful, sometimes it can be really ugly, but love, self-love, is the most freeing, colossally meaningful relationship in the world.

We talked a little about the steps I took towards loving myself. One of the first, most important steps for me was security. I need to feel secure in myself – I know what I want and I can make better decisions towards my vision.

Photo by: Designecologist on Pexels

When I began my security journey, I looked at myself in the mirror and began to talk about what I like about myself, almost as if I was having a conversation with another person. During the talk, I would not allow myself to dismantle or put down any of my positive traits. When I finished, I promised myself that I wouldn’t allow anyone to diminish or discourage those traits I found so wonderful about myself. I will not give anyone the power to put down my positives, including me. I know this sounds silly but, I gave myself a hug and said, “I love you, you are safe with me, I will protect you.” It’s something that I wish I would’ve had more of growing up.

The next step was the title of this blog, I had to love or accept what I don’t like. I had to ask myself why I found comfort in finding fault with everything ME. When I was affirming my positives, it took everything within me to not say BUT. I’m so smart, but…, I’m very artistic and talented, but…, I think I’m beautiful, but… Why do I find stability or comfort in making myself lesser? Why can’t I accept positivity in fullness and openness? I think it’s because no one can knock you off of your pedestal if you’ve done it already. What I needed to realize is that I BELONG on that pedestal.

“No one can elevate you better than you, but be humble in your place.” Meaning, we don’t want to be so complimentary that we don’t see or accept our faults, turning us into egotistical a**holes. There is a happy medium. We can elevate our positives, but we must acknowledge our negatives, seek understanding, and create change, and that will create acceptance/love for what we don’t like. Vulnerability is the true nature of this story.

I knew I had to look in the mirror and be vulnerable and honest with myself about my negatives – what my family and friends have told me and what I’ve observed about myself. I broke down and cried and wondered why anyone would love me and how I could love these things about me. It wasn’t until I faced my negatives, accepted this was a part of me, and ASKED for help, guidance, and forgiveness, from myself and my loved ones, and committed to change. I couldn’t do all of that without being in a vulnerable, open state, and I couldn’t be that way if I was insecure and did not build a solid foundation from my positives. Once I began to change, my relationships became better, my self-esteem/love grew. What I found in the process of change made me fall in love with myself even more – I now understood vulnerability, I understood why I lessened my positives, I understood the way my family and friends loved and accepted me, I understood my way of thinking and I began to further understand myself. All of this wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t love/accept what I didn’t like about me.

The story of self-love continues to be written until the day you die. If you feel like it’s too late or you don’t know how to change, I encourage you to try. Do what you think will work for you – be vulnerable with yourself and others. Remember that love is always worth the journey.