This is my personal story about how my relationship with not only myself but with men changed after I overcame my need to be accepted by others. I've had a couple of serious relationships but I'm a different person to who I used to be and therefore I want different things from a relationship and in a man than I used to.
All of my adult-life I've worked with either children or women so the chances of meeting someone at work were slim-to-none! Back in 2007, after a 6 year relationship ended, I tried Internet dating. I met some really lovely people and had two relationships which lasted over 2 years, but I wanted more. I knew I was holding back. I knew that I was after something different. I wasn’t being fully ME. I didn't feel "safe" to be myself.
If you have ever felt like you wear a “mask” then you'll know what I mean. If you've ever suffered with low self-esteem then you will know what I mean.
When I was a little girl my parents used to call me Emma Quite Contrary after the book:
As I got older, instead of just being myself, I tried to fit into what I thought was “normal”. What a dangerous slippery slope that was! I wasn't even doing it consciously: I had (unknowingly) totally lost sight of who I was.
Having done a lot of personal development, I had not only gained the confidence I had always craved but clarity on the type of relationship I wanted. I felt ready.
It was time to embrace my uniqueness. I'm quirky. I'm Emma Quite Contrary. Over these last few years I have not only learned to accept this but to embrace it.
So in August 2014, I decided to go back to online dating.
I want to share one paragraph I wrote on my Match.com profile:
"I don't even believe in star signs, so I hate to admit that I appear to be a true Gemini - the twins! I like creature comforts but loved travelling around Thailand with nothing but a backpack and spare change. I find the glitz of city lights just as appealing as being in my wellies walking through puddles in a forest; nights out drinking cocktails delight me as much as sipping green juice on a mountain top. For me, variety really is the spice of life."
You see, I AM contrary and I need that in my life. It's who I am. I believe many of us are.
Here are some of my contrasting needs:
- I crave parties and solitude
- I'm a wannabe veggie (I rarely eat meat) but my favourite meal is my Dad's Thai Chilli Beef Salad
- I am serious and a big kid
- I need summer and winter
- I love 5* hotels and camping
- I enjoy action-packed thrillers as much as slushy romcoms
- Cars don't interest me yet I bought my dream sports car last year
- I hate being cold, however, I must have an Arctic temperature bedroom at night
I am a mass of contradictions and I wouldn't have it any other way.
And guess what?
That's exactly what my wonderful boyfriend is like too. He totally accepts me for who I am. I have no idea what the future holds for the two of us but I do know that I am not prepared to "dilute" myself like I used to.
Whilst it is, of course, wonderful to have someone who accepts me for all of my quirks, I have learnt that it is far more important to love and accept myself. I feel so much more content.
Give yourself the ultimate gift: gain clarity on who you are then connect with and fully EMBRACE every part.
What part of you have you been covering up? What are your quirks? What makes you unique? Dig deep to find them and then delight in these – they are what makes you YOU!
Until next time, get quirky, get unique!
Photo credit: Pinterest