I found love during the lockdown.
How did I manage such a feat during this time of quarantine? Let me explain.
No, I didn’t have to use Tinder, Plenty Of Fish, or any other mobile application or online dating site.
No, I didn’t have to break social distancing rules and go into public situations.
No, I didn’t have to slide into the direct messages of my former lovers.
Instead, what I did have to do was learn a valuable lesson: love myself.
Searching For Love
Pre-COVID, and for as long as I can remember, I have always been searching for love. I consider myself to be a romantic at heart. I long for deep and genuine connections with others, sometimes to a fault. Without these deep connections, I often feel incomplete. I have felt for a long time a longing in my heart — an emptiness. In response to that feeling of emptiness, I have been searching desperately to fill it with love, validation, and praise from others. This longing to fill that emptiness made me only feel valuable based on the love others gave to me.
Although relationships could remediate this feeling of emptiness temporarily, no passing love could ever offer the sustainable feeling of wholeness I needed.
Many of the relationships in my life, romantic, familial, platonic, have suffered because of this longing. I struggled to love others properly because I had too much expectation for them to fill that emptiness for me. I struggled in relationships because I was looking for others to do the work of filling that emptiness for me, rather than doing it myself. I made relationships more about “me” rather than about “us”. I had been focused on filling my own selfish longing for wholeness, rather than building something together with my partner.
In order to find love during the lockdown, this old pattern had to stop.
The Lesson I Had To Learn.
The lesson I had to learn was that I had to fix that feeling of emptiness myself. I had to be alone and learn to love myself. That the only way for me to properly love someone else in the future was to be able to love myself right now.
I always knew deep down that this lesson I would have to learn, yet I actively put off doing so due to fear.
Fear of having to be alone.
Fear of having to be okay with being alone.
I believe in some fundamental universal occurrences that I would define as truths. Two of them that were applicable here to me while learning this lesson were the following:
- Lessons in life will repeatedly present themselves until you finally stop being stubborn and learn them.
- If you don’t make the changes necessary to grow, the changes will happen for you instead.
These two fundamentals occurred for me during this journey of learning to properly love myself.
In accordance with the first fundamental: the life lesson of learning to properly love myself had presented itself in many forms over the past few years. Each time it presented itself, I actively denied learning it. Instead, I distracted myself from the truth by actively seeking new temporary solutions. These solutions often came in the form of new relationships which infatuated me to the point of blindness from reality. Time and time again I would deny this lesson, and time and time again I would end up with my heart broken, the feeling of emptiness still ever-present.
In accordance with the second fundamental: I was unwilling to make the necessary changes in my life to learn the lesson, therefore the changes happened for me. My will over the past years was to actively avoid being alone, that was my choice. By making that choice, I never had to set myself up for the conditions of learning the lesson of properly loving myself.
However, the universe would only let me hide from the truth for so long. It was only a matter of time before the change was made for me. The lockdown forced that change. Like everyone else, I was forced into isolation. Isolating myself individually in a place far away from home with very few accessible relationships to provide a source of love. The lesson has presented itself again, and this time I had no choice but to confront it.
Since I couldn’t rely on external relationships, I had no choice now but to work on properly loving myself, and I did so in the most focused and isolated way possible.
Being in lockdown has given me no choice but to have to find these values; love, validation, and self-worth within myself. It made me focus and take the time to grow as an individual, to recognize my value, and to find comfort with myself. It’s been a rocky process, but I am thrilled I have made headway. It took a lot of work to accomplish it, work that I intend to write about in future posts.
My New Relationship
I’ve done the work and learned the lesson. I can happily say that I have started a new relationship, one filled with the love I was always after.
This new relationship makes me feel whole.
I love their company. They encourage me to my highest and best self.
They make me feel good. I exercise to become my best self for them, nurture my body, and even cook healthy meals for them.
They bring out my creative side. I read for them. I sing for them, sometimes off-key — they don’t even seem to mind. They make me feel giddy and break out into dance all around my apartment in my sweatpants like a goofball.
I feel comfortable with them. I trust them. I am at peace with them.
They fill the emptiness in my heart which I had longed to fill for years.
Who is this person? Well, that person is me.
During Lockdown, I fell in love with myself and am beyond excited to see where this new relationship takes me.
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