I saw a quote from the Dali Lama the other day that inspired me to finally sit down and write my story. He said, “If you don’t love yourself, you cannot love others.”
I always wondered if true love existed. And, if it did . . . Where on earth was it hiding?!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of relationships. But, looking back, I’m not quite sure if “love” was ever involved. Maybe lust, or even a strong like . . . But, I always wanted to believe that real love wouldn’t be able to dissolve as these relationships always tended to do.
I was married for 5 years, which was a good run when marrying a guy that I only knew for 6 months at the ripe old age of 21. I often wondered why he was in such a rush to get married, and at the time, I was naive enough to think it was because he “loved me so much”.
The real reason behind his swift approach to marriage couldn’t hide forever. I was not-so-shocked to learn that my new husband was a recovering alcoholic, and fell off the wagon shortly after our third anniversary. It felt like I was living with a stranger. Someone so full of shame and disappointment in himself, he couldn’t stand even looking at me.
I stuck it out for another few years, but the relationship was entering dangerously low altitude, so I decided to jump with nothing but a parachute of “hope” tied to my back.
Some time after that, I found myself in another relationship with Dr. Jekyll . . . or was it Mr. Hyde? A closet bi-polar in denial of his ever-swinging pendulum of moods was my latest catch. In the beginning, it seemed like the most amazing relationship. But, it wasn’t too long into our relationship that the not-so-welcome Mr. Hyde began rearing his ugly head. Emotionally abused, I felt that I had to walk on eggshells every moment of the day so as to not “wake the beast”.
After I finally got my wits about me, I brushed myself off, packed my bags, and left him. And, what followed was what some people call hysterically funny. Others might call it just sad. I started dating. And, fearing that I had to find “the one” before time ran out, I dated . . . And, dated. And, dated.
I started a profile on Match.com, Chemistry.com, Eharmony, OkCupid, Tinder, and just about any other dating website that I could find. Some, I tried out for a week, others for a month or two, and one of them for only 5 minutes. I read books, and attended seminars, all with the same type of information; the suggestions ranged from having more eye contact with a guy at a bar to dropping a tube of lip gloss in front of him so he could be chivalrous and pick it up for me.
As independent and successful as I was, I was told to concede and let the boy feel like a man by playing a “damsel in distress”, even if it was just for a tube of fuchsia lip gloss.
After about 60 first dates, I was beginning to believe that it had something to do with me. I was doing everything that I was “supposed to be doing”. I was a distressed damsel. I played down my successful career and independence, and played up my beauty. I wore clothes that I felt were too tight, too short, and too loud in color. I got extensions, and never went out without make-up. Because, according to the “experts”, I never knew when I was going to run in to him.
There was only one problem with this. I didn’t feel like myself. The fun-loving, independent, successful, woman that on any given day dons yoga pants and chapstick was hidden behind a façade of weak beauty. If this guy that I was trying to meet was going to fall for me, he was going to fall for a faux version of myself.
After two years of my dating shenanigans, my mom suggested that I should hire a life coach named Tim Hastings. I didn’t really know what a life coach was, but my biological clock was ticking so loud, I could barely hear myself think! So, I called and made my first appointment.
Tim began me on a self-love program. This was so completely different from all of the other models I was using to find love. Instead of focusing on what I could do for other people, or my looks, Tim had me begin to focus on myself, and my strengths.
I was given new exercises every week, and I was adamant about doing everything I could to help the chances of me finding the perfect guy. And, I found that I really loved the exercises, jumping at the chance to journal, meditate, and visualize the best life that I could imagine.
Through a few months of guided sessions, I began to feel different. It felt as though I was “meeting” myself for the first time.
“Hello, I’m Lindsay . . . Nice to meet you.”
“You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to hear you say that.” Was what I heard back.
So, I started this beautiful journey inside my heart, inside my soul. Through all the good, the bad, the ugly, and many tears, I began to love myself.
It was about this time that Tim invited me to one of his Self Love trainings, and in addition to the exercises that we worked on privately, he shared deeper techniques for loving and forgiving others and ourselves. We also used a Self Love visualization that he developed to accelerate our personal and collective experience of self love.
It was deeply heart opening to participate in a group visualization and hear people moved to tears at the end. I would not have thought it was possible from a simple phone training.
It helped us finally release the negative self-talk we had. All of the “I’m too fat”, “I’m not pretty enough”, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not . . .” statements began to just fall away. It was amazing to experience personally, and hear others share their powerful success stories. From overcoming depression to more financial abundance, it was potent!
By the time I had begun the training, I had already let go of finding the one. I was too focused on my own growth and healing to worry about guys and why they weren’t calling me back . . . It was a breath of fresh air and so heart opening to no longer feel this internal pressure I had created for myself. And, wouldn’t you know it . . . It was only a couple weeks into the training that the one found me!
A handsome Air Force pilot that I’ve known since I was a teenager waltzed into my life last Thanksgiving. He loves me for all of my quirks, my short hair (I couldn’t handle the pain of the extensions), my yoga pants, and thinks I look hotter when I first wake up in the morning than when I get all dolled up for a party.
He’s different from my other relationships because he doesn’t want me to be someone other than who I really am. He encourages the real me to shine through. He’s everything I was always looking for, and I don’t think he would have come into my life if I hadn’t started the process of self-love.
It was an incredibly transformative process, this whole self-love thing. I should actually say it “is” a transformative process, because it is on going, and will be for the rest of my life. I get to remind myself to listen to my inner voice, encourage my growth, and love myself like no one else. The big difference now is that many of the loud, self-deprecating stories that had been silencing my inner voice, have fallen away.
Once I had the best guidance and tools I needed to truly love and accept myself, the rest of the world began to love me right back.
And . . . He PROPOSED!! His proposal video below is the stuff that dreams are made of- get your Kleenex out . . .