AND!!! My relationship with my kids has deepened and grown stronger because I set out to find happiness, contentment and, most importantly, validation within myself. I pride myself on not needing the presence of a man to make me feel better about myself. Don't get me wrong, I have hit the love-lottery when it comes to the hot boyfriend. His touch electrifies me. His whisper melts my heart. His silent presence comforts me. But never, ever, will I find my validation in him or my relationship with him.
He is the reason I am not where I thought I would be. When we started seeing each other, I was dead set on being single for the long haul and never, ever, ever getting married. I'm still not convinced I want to be married, but I am convinced that I want this man in my life for as long as God allows me to have him. He has made me a better version of myself, but not a complete version of myself. He has made me smile and laugh more than anyone in my life has, but he is not the source of my inner-joy...I am. He has validated my ideas, my thoughts, my fears, my joys; but the validation of my identity, my hope, and my self image comes from inside of me.
I can't help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, that's what he finds attractive in me. Who knows, ladies. Maybe the "good ones" are more concerned with inner peace, confidence, and determination than we give them credit for.
All I know is, I'm living my own little version of a Christmas miracle. I gave up on love, but I am living proof that it's okay to believe in love again. It doesn't always hurt. Just as the cells in our bodies regenerate and have the ability to heal, the cells in my heart and my mind have found the healing and wholeness I have longed for all my life.
I am me. Finally.
I hope this Christmas, you too will find the peace and contentment your mind and heart crave. But hear me on this, you won't find it under the Christmas tree or in the arms of another. Those two gifts, although incredibly important, are an empty void if you don't start loving and appreciating yourself. Do it for your kids. Do it for your partner. They deserve the version of yourself. YOU deserve the best version of yourself.