It’s been 17 years since I’ve come out of the closet. For most of my adult life, most of my attention had always been centered on love. I wanted to fall in love, be in love, have someone love me, and of course, love happily ever after. I wanted a fairy tale.
More than once I got my heart broken and also hurt a few women (and a few men) along the way. The harsh reality is that my fairy tale could never exist because I didn’t really know what true love meant. It’s only been the past two years where I’ve understood that in order for me to love someone in a healthy respectful manner, I have to love myself in the same way.
So what does this mean exactly? How does one go about loving and being loved in a healthy way? I don’t think this question has one answer. I also think this will be a life-long quest to search for these answers…but I’ll share with you what I’ve figured out so far.
Healthy love = commitment
For me to love myself and others in a healthy way, I have to be 100% committed to these things:
- Be honest with myself and with others…this means telling myself the hard truths, especially when I don’t want to admit them.
- Allow myself to be emotionally vulnerable…which means telling my partner the hard truths.
- Accept responsibility for my actions.
- Realize I can’t fix everything.
- Listen with my heart.
- Constructively communicate.
- Judge myself and others with compassion.
- Be healthy not just emotionally, but physically and spiritually as well.
- Strive to do my best, not try to be perfect.
- Put aside my ego, while still making sure to respect myself.
These 10 things take commitment, 100% commitment, all the time. And on the days where I don’t commit to these things with my whole heart, it means there’s a problem, with me, and with my relationship.
All of us deserve to love and be loved. But we can’t do this with a healthy heart, mind, and soul if we aren’t committed. I’m not going to lie. It takes hard work. A lot of hard work. There are days where I want to throw in the towel and not have to do any work at all. But I can guarantee you that on those days, that’s when my relationship isn’t what my Sunshine and I know it can be.
Not perfect but just right.