Anxiety can take over our lives for several reasons. The constant feeling of nervousness and uneasiness was nothing new to me, especially when it came to dating. After my divorce, I felt uncomfortable meeting others and disclosing my hearing loss. So many insecurities and worries haunted me daily when getting to know someone. Holding very few conversations via phone or constantly making up excuses for why I couldn’t answer my phone became the norm for me. Face to face interactions would always be giggles or jokes from me to avoid any deep conversations. Over time, men picked up on the fact I was hiding something.
Some would ask, why you don’t relax and get to know me? Why can’t I know you on a more serious level? Why when I touch your hair to move back from over your ears you’re so defensive? However, I still lacked the confidence to disclose my loss to anyone. In 2009, I decided I would just give up on dating and begin acting like a woman but think like a man.
As time progressed, it became evident that dating and not catching feelings just wasn’t me. I will never forget my friends asking would I like for them to mention it to the guy for me. I was so scared and worried about the outcome. How could I call myself a woman and ready to be with a man if I couldn’t speak up as a woman about myself? I came to the reality that I was allowing my disability to control every aspect of my life.
This is when I began the journey of self-love. Questioning myself numerous of nights on how I could expect someone to accept me when I truly did not accept myself? What grown woman hides behind her flaws. I needed to love me first before I could allow another human into my world. I had to learn which communication methods worked best for me when dating. Not only that, I had to change the men I was looking to date. I needed someone who was mature, understanding, and welcoming of all of me.
Daily affirmations started to be my daily routine. Waking up each morning standing in my mirror I repeated affirmations such as “I AM ME, AND ONLY ME, WHO CAN NOT ACCEPT ME DOES NOT NEED ME, NOR DO I NEED THEM”, “YOU’RE MORE THAN ENOUGH WOMAN FOR THE RIGHT MAN”, ”THIS HEARING LOSS WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO SETTLE FOR LESS OR DO LESS FOR LOVE”, “I LOVE YOU SHANTAE FOR WHO YOU ARE”. Those words to myself built my confidence, in time I found my purpose, I started moving differently when approached. When I showed the love I had for myself, men were able to see the confidence in me and know if they couldn’t accept me, I was fine with being alone, I had ME.
Love yourself first so others can follow how to do the same. Self-love and self-care made me stronger.