Today I feel better than I ever have. My life is simple. My friends are kind. My lovers are delicious. My child is happy. And, most importantly, I feel good about myself and about what I’ve created with my efforts and gifts.
Why? Because I finally love what I’ve got.
I turned 48 this year, and I feel amazing. When I look in the mirror, I see a body that I love. I feel sexy in ways I never thought possible. When I look around me, I see friends who share many of my values and encourage me to think and act beyond previous limitations.
That I could feel this good at this age came as a shock. It seems like every television commercial, every social post, every magazine article, every historical reference says that women over 40 are pretty much washed up. But I’m eight years past that threshold, and I’ve stumbled upon a weird sort of peace. It’s a feeling I struggled to find for years, believing that financial security and the perfect romantic relationship were the keys. Yet I’ve finally got what I wanted without having either of those things.
I finally love what I’ve got.
When I got divorced several years ago, I decided to start living my life according to my own rules. I inventoried the beliefs and practices I had collected over the years and started cleaning house. Anything that made me feel bad about myself — religion, to be specific — had to go.
How, I asked myself, was a belief that sex without marriage made me a slut serving me as a single adult woman? I gave myself permission to reconsider the religious notions of my childhood and even replace them with new ideas that felt truer to my desire for divine connection. It might seem odd to some that a grown woman would still carry ideas spouted by some long-ago clergy and teenaged mean girls, but the truth is, I felt duplicitous and guilty as a sexual, sensual woman.
Living life on my own terms was the path to feeling great, but it hasn’t been easy. I’ve never met the standards of cultural norms or the milestones that purportedly informed success or failure. I was 38 when I discovered my love for writing, storytelling, and coaching. I was 39 when I had my first child.
Self-love is the act of accepting your life and yourself as they are, while taking the actions to create more of what you desire.
I spent my twenties comparing myself to people I perceived as prettier, wealthier, and smarter. I pursued marriage with the desperation and fever of a woman who thought her life depended on it. When my mother died from a heart attack, I was 29. Suicide was a frequent thought by the time my manager at work suggested I consider therapy. It turned out to be the help that I needed.
I spent the next five years reconciling childhood traumas, parental addictions, and abandonment issues. There were days I thought I’d never feel any sense of joy. When my older brother got divorced, I moved from Los Angeles to New York to be near him, and we nursed one another back to life. When I returned to L.A., I began to study spiritual psychology, learning to help myself and others heal childhood trauma and find passion as adults.
And now, at 48, I really and truly love myself. It was when I stopped trying to please other people and stopped beating myself up for being “late” at nearly everything, that I found real happiness.
Self-love is the act of accepting your life and yourself as they are, while taking the actions to create more of what you desire. It took me several decades to love myself. But I am here! And I feel fantastic!
Read more from Ruffin at moniqueruffin.wordpress.com.