There comes a point in every woman's life when she finds her own enough-ness — when she realizes she doesn't need validation from a relationship, or anywhere for that matter. It's the watershed moment when she falls in love, not with someone else or with the idea of someone, but with herself.
If you're not there yet, don't worry... you'll get there. We each come to that place in our own special time and, well, it's always worth the wait. In the meantime, you can glean inspiration from the following real women who shared that turning point in their lives.
"For me, the turning point came when I hit the age of 30. I left all problems from my 20s with my 20s. I felt lighter, happier — just all-around good. From where I was then to where I am now, words can't describe the change in the way I feel about myself. I don't care what people think now... I'm always gonna do me and be me." — Quista D.
"For me, self-love is an ongoing process. At work and school, I am known as the 'girl who never stops smiling,' even in pain and heartache. Laughter is the only way I feel like I can breathe sometimes. But there are two quotes that have really helped me grow in my own sense of self-worth. 'Sometimes you've got to be able to listen to yourself and be OK with no one else understanding,' and 'When I look back on my life, I see pain, mistakes, and heartache. When I look in the mirror, I see strength, learned lessons, and pride in myself.' Those have become my mantras of self-love." — Susan P.
"I think a watershed moment for me was after a home run derby in a softball tournament when I was in high school. I had always excelled at sports but never realized the impact my game had on those around me, until that day. After the derby, a group of young tee ball players (girls and boys) came up to me and asked for my autograph. I had never once thought about the eyes watching me or the difference I could make until then. It was from that moment on that I made sure I was a positive role model for young female athletes. Knowing you have the power to influence the trajectory of someone else's life by leading by example is extremely powerful for your own psyche. It makes you walk a little taller and love yourself even more than you might have before. I might not be famous today with people asking for my autograph, but I use every chance I get to try to build up female athletes at all levels." — Katie P.
"I fell in love with me when I stopped loving him." — Resa C.
"Mine was sitting on a beach on summer vacation with my kids. I wasn't anywhere near where I wanted to be with my body, and I was staring out in the ocean and I thought, 'Who cares!?' I thought about how little time we all have and how precious life is, and I decided I was sick and tired of living for other people — afraid of what they would think or say. I decided I was not going to wait for another 10, 30, 50 pounds to love myself; I was just going to start doing it because I was a person with a heart and experiences and a valued life outlook. I used to hear people talk about a 'moment' when they just woke up and it all became clear, and I used to think that was garbage... but I had that moment. There was no trauma or real reason for it, it's just like something clicked. It's not been all perfect since then, but I feel more myself than I ever have before because I made a decision to be OK with being me." — Esther H.
"When I finished my first marathon, I knew I could do anything I put my mind to. When I finished my first Olympic-distance triathlon, I started treating my body like the strong, beautiful machine that it is. When I had little dude, I realized that I deserve to treat myself as well as I treat him." — Amber W.
"After I finished chemo, I realized what I was capable of. Maybe not exactly love myself, but strong respect." — Rachel S.
"The turning point for me was a few months after my separation. I had gone through months of sleepless nights and going through life numb. One morning I was on my run and the sun was slowly coming up. I noticed life waking up that day as the sun started shining on the fields. It was literally like I started seeing the world in color again. I remember that was the first time I allowed myself to be happy. I decided to fight for myself and love myself even though he stopped loving me. I mattered." — Yadi B.
“I fell in love with myself, oddly enough, when it felt like everyone else had fallen out of love with me. My ex-husband and I had separated, and in that process I had to deal with the loss of not only my marriage, but several friendships as well. I felt more alone than I ever had, and at first that was really hard, but then I started to rediscover myself and relearn what I wanted and needed. I hadn’t realized until then that the biggest reason I had been so unhappy was because of the amount of myself that I’d given up for my ex, for certain friends. I had eroded myself so that I could fit better with them. My life, my heart and what felt like my entire self had been broken apart into small pieces, and it was when I accepted that I needed to move on and that I had to love myself enough to not only put myself back together, but to build myself up even stronger than before. Through this I’ve learned that I’m more brave and resilient than I ever thought I could be, that I’m proud of myself, that I’m someone I genuinely like, someone I could be friends with. I think really I fell in love with myself when I was able to see my own worth, my own value, and realize that I was strong enough to refuse to compromise my own needs and happiness to be what others wanted me to be.” — Cheyenne S.
“I hate to make losing weight a big deal, but for me that was my turning point. I had zero self-confidence and I was in pain quite often from having too much weight on me. I was single and trying to date and had a guy tell me I needed to learn what a treadmill was. (Mean!) While I went on my weight-loss journey for myself, his comment was my fuel. Once I started to lose weight, my confidence started to rise and I never looked back. I knew I could do anything I put my mind to and realized I deserved the best in every aspect of life. For example, I knew I deserved a better job, so I went for it and here I am now in a much better position. If I had not found this confidence that we all have deep down inside, I wouldn't be where I am today.” — Sara G.
More: At my loneliest I remember that my true love hasn't found me either
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