Behind closed doors, I’m a different person. I discovered this within the past two years when I realized my home was the one place I could remove the mask I put on for the world. I’ve spent the majority of my life playing roles. In every situation I had an idea of who I should be and conformed to the part. From the outside, I looked like the perfect Christian, teacher, daughter, or girlfriend, but I wasn’t being the best Jasmine because I wasn’t being true to myself.
If the past four years of being single taught me anything, it’s that your relationship with yourself shapes your connection and attraction to the world around you. I see this most clearly in my romantic relationships. I was shrinking myself into the world’s expectation of me instead of being who I was, and as a result, I attracted men who were never really what they seemed because they too were living facades.
When I think of what it takes to fully love someone, I think about God’s unconditional love. It can’t be earned; He loves us as we are because He can use us in our flawed and broken state. The problem is, we’ve let societies unrealistic standards cause us to believe that our natural states are not good enough and are therefore unlovable. Believing this, it’s been easier to hide my flaws and vulnerable parts rather than accept them. However, if we truly want to feel real love, we have to be comfortable with the rawness of who we are.
Walking in this truth is a new space for me, but there are three quotes that I’ve come across over the past week that help me process this new level of awareness.
"If you don’t define yourself for yourself, you will be crunched into other people’s fantasies and eaten alive. -
This was step one toward my journey of self-love and acceptance. When we are young, we are taught what is right, wrong, and appropriate, but at some point, it’s up to us to tap into our own moral compass and view of self. My therapist tells me I’m a late bloomer in this regard, but my two years of building meaningful connections with friends and getting a better understanding of self, have pushed me to find and accept the person I was created to be.
People can only meet you as deeply as they have met themselves.
We can’t grow with people who haven’t done the work. Once I started unpacking my baggage and uncovering who I was, I saw that it brought me closer to some people and created rifts in other relationships. These are signs. They tell you whether or not someone is able to go with you to that next level. Early on, I expended energy seeking outside confirmation because I needed someone to affirm my feelings and visions since I didn’t fully believe in myself. When we get clear about who we are, we become less concerned about approval and attract people who can meet us and accept us where we are.
Potential not perfection.
This isn’t a common quote but it was said to me at church yesterday. God doesn’t need us to be perfect, He needs us to tap into our potential. Our relationships with partners are no different. We shouldn’t have to live up to an ideal when what has been placed inside us is enough. Too often I used to shrink myself out of fear of seeming too interested or too sentimental, but the truth is if we are too much for someone, they are not the one and it’s best to know that sooner than later.
Love isn’t picture perfect. It’s about navigating the mess to find the beauty that works for you. Every relationship is different, but the common thread amongst the lasting ones is two authentic people coming together to create what works for them. Work on being the real you.