Life’s most worthwhile lesson: learning to love and most importantly, learning how to be loved.
Like most 20-somethings, I’ve had my fair share of failed relationships and “situationships.” You know, those soul sucking kinships that aren’t really what you need or want, but offer companionship and a good time. But, after my last relationship left me almost broken to my core, I couldn’t seem to face the possibility of loving another.
Being so vulnerable, being so awesomely consumed by a love for a man, who in the end told me I wasn’t “the one” and to do that all over again? Nah. I’m good. But, it’s funny how life works.
First Comes Love, Then Comes Travel
7 months after that breakup, I finished my MBA, packed up my apartment, quit my job and left for Europe. If I could’ve left earlier, I probably would have, but you know…. Grad School. I had no plan, all I knew is that I wanted to get away from Atlanta because I refused to be just another single, overly educated, 20-something black woman in Atlanta brunching on Sundays. I figured I could at least be a single, overly educated, 20-something black woman brunching in London!
Was I running? Yes. But, not running from just the memories of a failed relationship, but running from mediocrity and comfort. Everything I knew was back in Atlanta, my friends, a job I
loved liked, some family, and my esteemed social circles of young, bougie, black professionals. And if I ever planned to grow and progress to live the life I had imagined, I would have to leave what was comfortable and known all behind.
After my travels, I really learned to love myself and find comfort in my own company (I mean honestly, you really have no choice traveling solo for 2 months). But, it taught me great life lessons about self-affirmations. Once you understand that you are deserving of everything you ever wished for, whether it be a loving partner, a CEO position, a fancy sports car, or a penthouse condo, you can make moves to have those things manifest. Speak it out to the universe, pray on it, and make the choice that you will work towards it.
New Love, Who Dis?
So if you’re familiar with the rest of my story, you know that I ended up moving to Dubai, which presented it’s own new set of dating challenges and setbacks. But after 18 months, I met an amazing man from Holland, who taught me how to love again and made me open to being loved. I’ve slowly let down those walls that were built up and let love reign in my heart. I know that this man loves me to “the moon & back” and I’m okay with that because I’ve learned to love him with the same passion. Of course, he shares my love of travel and we’ve had several adventures together already in: the Maldives, Zurich, Amsterdam and Dubai. And planning a few more to the U.S, South Africa, Rwanda, and Italy this year. It almost sounds like a fairy tale, right? It kinda feels surreal sometimes, but I made conscious and intentional decisions to invite love back into my life.
So here’s my 4 tips for letting love reign:
- Love yourself. Like all the experts say, it first starts at home. You can never truly love someone else if you don’t know what it takes. By spending time alone, meditating, reading, taking yourself on dates (and trips), and pampering yourself; you begin to understand the things that make you happy and make life more enjoyable for YOU. The things that fill you with joy, make you smile and you can’t wait to experience. Having a partner should make you feel the same way. So be strong enough to let go, and wise enough to wait for what your deserve.
- Let love in and don’t block it. The toughest lesson I had to learn was being vulnerable again. That breakup really hurt me. I had tried dating shortly after in an attempt to move on, but it didn’t help. I wasn’t open to loving someone again. I needed time to heal. It took over a year and half, but I began to live in the light and let love in. When it happened I didn’t block it, I let it in. I won’t all happen And if somehow it doesn’t work out in the end, you lived, you loved, you learned.
- Stop fearing loss. When we lose people, it’s a natural reaction to fear losing others.
But you can’t let that fear into your your dating process or new relationship. If they want to leave, there’s nothing you can do to stop them. Yeah, it sucks. But like my mama says “don’t hold on to wet newspapers. There’s something better in tomorrow’s edition.”
- Trust people when they they love you. After a painful breakup, it can make you doubt that you are worthy of someone’s love again. Doubt is poison. So when someone tells you that they love you, believe them and have faith that they mean it. It’s no fun, worrying whether they do or don’t. Their actions will reveal everything you need to know in the end. A quote from Gautama Buddha says:
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
Hopefully this helps someone, and even if it doesn’t it helped me to share it. Just remember: All’s fare in love & travel. Get it? Ha! If you’re in need of more advice on how traveling can save your sanity during a breakup, check this out.