Where true love begins.

Sometimes we grapple with something we’re not sure about. For many of us, grappling may very well be a way of life.

It may involve a person, a relationship, a job, a habit or a situation. It eats away at us, consumes us and borders close to obsession.

Making a decision is hard – but owning it after the fact rarely is. We can choose to dwell or move on, even if the path forward isn’t paved and filled with potholes.

Then there are times when we find ourselves faced with a hardship that we didn’t sign- up for.  Truth be told, a majority of us don’t sign-up for misery while others walk straight into it each and every time. They actually like it.

Despite it all, change is hard for most, and easy for few.

I consistently fell into the latter category.

I love change.  I crave new experiences and like to branch out into the unknown.

Yet as of late, I’ve found myself craving consistency, stability and calm. I like the peace and quiet that inevitably accompanies it.

Risk taking was once comfortable. It was where I felt most at home.

A non-stop lifestyle was the norm. In the craziness of 24 hours is where I found my tranquility.

Moving on from a relationship meant a new chapter, exciting opportunities ahead. It was when I accomplished the most, thriving in each moment of the day as well as the future to come.

I was the girl who celebrated people’s divorces, the one they would call when they needed a shot of optimism and hope. My perspective that it was a glorious chance for a fresh start filled with adventures. A new chapter had begun and the journey was theirs, and theirs alone to make.

I was the girl who celebrated lay-offs and firings, again the one they would call for that dose of positivity and inspiration. The one who told them things aren’t that bad if they could only seek out the silver lining. It was a chance to find what was best suited for them. A chance to bring their dreams to life.

Yet as I sit here today, completely human and honest with myself about the compilation of shortcomings and flaws within my very being, I have come to realize that I never allowed for pain or grieving.

For others – or myself.

I was always ready to fix things. To solve the problems. To find a different or new way.

Life was filled with complex projects that needed triage, fixing and completion.

I wanted to make magic out of every pile of manure. Sprinkle some optimism on that shit and you’d be good to go. 

Today may not have been good, but tomorrow may be great.  

You may have lost a love, but you were blessed in getting a chance to love. 

Excitement, for me, was discovering who you were as an individual. What makes you tick?  What are your dreams?

Who are you today and who do you want to be tomorrow?

For me, those are – and remain – the most important questions of all. Especially ….

Who are you?

The relationship with yourself is – and will always be – the most important relationship of all.

The relationship that will nurture, complete and sustain you.

The relationship that will require commitment, loyalty and trust.

The relationship that evolves, changing and growing every day.

The relationship that teaches, as you learn, from mistakes, suffers when you betray it and thrives when you tend to it.

For those of you afraid to let go. Afraid to live, love and lose.  Do it. Because the irony is that we often don’t find ourselves until we’ve lived and loved fully.

How can we discover who we are if we are sitting in the sidelines of life?

Heck, no.

We need to plunge into its depth, immerse ourselves. Only then can we determine if we will sink or swim.

I was underwater so often that I thought I’d never see the surface again. I found myself drowning, every attempt to pull myself up dragging me further down. Flailing, floundering, hopeless …

Then, as if by some small miracle, I’d find myself rising up, gasping for the air I had once longed for, slowly but surely swimming toward shore.

Frightening – yes, but what I gained each and every time was a bit more self-knowledge and even more importantly, strength.

Each struggle led to success, which resulted in strength. That strength meant I learned to trust myself a little bit more.

Maybe it wasn’t so bad. Maybe I’m not so bad. Maybe it will all be ok.

This is a process. It’s a journey and not one that should ever be discounted or given up on.

Heck, I just described one day in my life – not the endless days that have added up to my 52 plus years of starts and stops, successes and failures, hope and despair, dreams and nightmares.

But here I am and each day is a gift.

The relationship I have built with myself is solid. It’s human, allowing for mistakes, grieving and full candor. Not only with myself, but others, too.

It’s making me realize that I can’t always make others understand things – nor is it my job to.

It’s making me realize that some things aren’t meant to be – nor were they meant to.

It’s making me realize that the most important relationship any of us can have in life is with ourselves.

Because it is from there that other forms of healthy love and relationships develop.

It’s from there that we can fully give of ourselves – without losing ourselves.

It’s from there that we can fail – yet have the confidence in trusting and believing that we will succeed again.

Sometimes we need to sit with our feelings, allow the pain to flow through us, grieve for what was then accept what is – while preparing for what will be.

Believe me – I’m still that girl.

If you’re struggling with anything, just call.

I’ll give you that shot of optimism and positivity.

I’ll let you know that it’s ok to make mistakes and be imperfect, like the rest of us.

And rest assured – I’m learning to temper my need to fix.

It will never be gone, but it can allow others – including myself – the time to regroup and change direction in due time.

We can’t fix things without doing the necessary repairs. There’s internal work to be done before solving any problem. And the most important job of all is loving yourself. It is from there, that life will be fruitful.

I continue to embrace change, have crazy days and believe in finding solutions to everything – but that looks different now.

It’s filled with acknowledgement, respect, gratitude, acceptance and calm. In that order.

The reality is there are and will be problems that can’t be fixed – but those can be accepted and if we are so willing, teach us lessons that we will carry with us into whatever future will be.

It all starts with the relationship you build with yourself.

That’s your true love.

That’s where you’ll find friendship, companionship, solace and a future.

It all begins with you.

The song says if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.

Be the one you’re with.

Author: E.M. Murphy

A voracious writer, lifetime learner and eternal seeker who aims to open minds and hearts. Armed with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a NASM Certified Behavior Change Specialist, humanity and humor is at the heart of my writing, reminding us that the key to success will always start with a genuine concern for others while making sure to be true to our authentic selves.

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