By: Shea Harris
For some reason, I thought I had to be perfect in relationships. The fear of failing at them scared me. I didn’t want to be the angry black woman or the successful black woman that couldn’t keep a man. I figured if I sacrificed enough, I could be the perfect mate. Attempting to be the perfect mate resulted in me losing myself.
I’m not sure about you, but once a relationship ends I wonder what I could have done differently. I used to think I had to give all of me to every single guy I dated. Well obviously I was wrong about that. Not every one you cross paths with deserve the raw emotions you have to offer. As a single black woman I now know where I went wrong: lack of self love.
As I look back on relationships, I realize I invested too much of my time and energy into them and not enough in myself. I was so focused on making sure I was doing everything possible for a guy to love me that I forgot to love myself. I forgot how to be real with myself. I forgot to be okay with my flaws. I forgot to be me.
Every where I looked I saw love and happiness, but I forgot to see it in myself. To be clear, I have always loved myself but not fully. I didn’t truly know what it meant to love myself unconditionally until recently.
As a black woman, I was taught about the importance of taking care of your man. I made sure the person I was involved with had everything he needed. When he fell short, I made sure I was there to pick up the slack. When he needed help, I was there to assist. These were all good traits to be passed on to me, but I shouldn’t have been doing this for a boyfriend who was not worthy of such attention.
I only needed to take care of my man when he proved to be worthy of my unconditional love, when this man became my husband. I was so caught up in having a boyfriend and being in love that I didn’t think of the possibility of us not having a “happily ever after”.
When “happily ever after” didn’t occur I became lost. I began to blame myself for the failed relationship. Every good thing I contributed to the relationship was voided immediately. I was so tough on myself I believed I wasn’t compatible with anyone. I’m not the easiest person to get along with in a relationship, but I make one hell of a mate. I am a chameleon: I adapt to the conditions of the relationship. I push aside my likes and dislikes to ensure my mate is happy. I’m not picky when it comes to going on adventures, stepping outside of my element, trying food, etc. I can adjust to different. It was okay to try different things until I couldn’t remember the last time I didn’t make a sacrifice.
In order for me to realize who and what I needed in my life, I had to be single. During this time, I have been stripping myself of the hurt and pain I’ve endured. I’m so used to giving and making sure I’m displaying selfless acts, but I had to shake things up. I am now my own priority.
I make sure I have selfish moments so I wont get lost again. When I look in the mirror I remind myself how much I love me! I stand in the mirror and acknowledge how beautiful I am. Don’t confuse this with being conceited though, this is merely what a lot of us do not do. Take time out to appreciate yourself and note how amazing you are as a woman.
Don’t settle for every relationship you encounter. Everyone is not worth your time and energy. As cliché as it may sound, people are really in your life for a reason and a season. It’s up to the involved parties to determine how long the season is. When the season comes to an end, hopefully those involved will understand the reason the universe brought them together.
My most recent relationship taught me more than I could imagine. The season was pretty long and as you can imagine there were obstacles. As far as the reason, it taught me how to love myself unconditionally and not to lose myself. I will forever be grateful for that relationship and for those lessons.
Remember to stay true and love yourself unconditionally before you decide to share that black woman magic with someone else.