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Finding love on the path back to me

Ahhh, love. It’s a basic human need. One Google search about single parents will yield abundant dating sites and advice. We are lookin’ for love!

On top of that, February brings images of roses, chocolates, and romantic candle-lit dinners with magical moments with that special someone.

So, you know the topic of love is heavy on your girl’s mind this month.

In the beginning, I knew that re-entering the dating scene after divorce with children would be challenging, but my inner romantic wanted to find love again. I’m not going to sugar-coat it; it’s been a wild ride. It’s enough to make even the toughest people run for the hills.

While there have been some beautiful moments, there have also been some heart-wrenching experiences. I’ll spare you the war stories or the goopy love moments, but they all led me to choose deliberate singlehood.

Yes, deliberate singlehood.

As cliché as this concept is, I knew I had to love myself wholly and completely before I could open my heart in the way I desired. How could I truly love someone without truly loving myself first?

I’d like to say that I had an “aha” moment where I gracefully accepted this deliberate singlehood lifestyle and every step of that journey was full of self-loving moments full of butterflies and rainbows, but it didn’t. It came in the form of a gut-punch break up that came out of nowhere and had no proper closure.

Yeah, it sucked. But out of the suckiest moments comes the biggest victories. Hear me out.

In those bitter moments, I banished dating because I didn’t want to hurt that deeply again. Over time, that bitter commitment shifted to an intentional inner seeking mission. Think: Eat, Pray, Love-esque without the international travel.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, that break-up was the best thing to ever happen to me.

Because of the space I created, the transformative inner healing that followed was beautiful. It allowed me the space to find the root of the suffering I had experienced and really dig deeper to discover more about the ideals I had surrounding love, and not just the romantic kind. It allowed me to come to the realization that I had been trying to find love from an outside source instead of finding it within.

Simply put: it helped me find the path back to me. Accepting those positive and negative qualities that I have within me allowed me refine what love means to self, friends, family, and towards humanity in general.

Does it mean that I’m unshakable and have no insecurities? Absolutely not. Show me one woman who has birthed children and has no insecurities. Go on. I’ll wait.

We all have insecurities and weaknesses but accepting those parts of self is the key. This is an ever-evolving journey, it won’t come overnight and there will be no final destination. And it isn’t a linear or necessarily pretty one either. The pathway to love is one riddled with emotions, fall down’s, beautiful realizations and a whole lot of ice cream. Like, a LOT of ice cream.

So, with that, here’s my takeaways from this experience so far:

1. Self-acceptance is a must. I know I’m not perfect, and that’s ok. Perfection is too great a burden to bear and my imperfections make me who I am: A fun, awkward, loving woman who pours her heart and soul into making the best out of every situation. It also means that I’m continuing to learn to love myself, so I can quit hurting myself.

2. Connection to self (and others) is important. The really cool part of getting connected to myself is that it has deepened the relationships of those around me. Since I know more about me, I’m able to seek out friendships and bonds that are more meaningful. Love isn’t just about romance, it’s all encompassing and extends to all relationships.

3. Weird meditation practices have the biggest impact. Yes, I’m serious. Try this for 30 days and tell me it doesn’t do something inside: place one hand over your heart and one over your stomach. Take a deep breath and exhale, then say, “I love you. I’m listening.” Do this 3 times and then go about your day. For me, this was truly impactful. Even if it made me feel like a weirdo the first few times.

Ok, ok… I know what you’re probably wondering: Has this single parent found someone special? Well, of course! I think I’m pretty darn amazing. All jokes aside, I can confidently say that finding love is as simple as looking in the mirror or calling a friend or having a candle-lit dinner

with that certain special someone.

Speaking of, I’d love to connect with you! Follow along on www.singleparentsproject.com or find me on the socials.

Until next time, be good to yourself. You deserve it.

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