Finding Love Within Yourself is All The Love You Need


Finding Love Within Yourself is All The Love You Need

By: Maya Valentine

Just to set the stage for you, imagine sitting in a restaurant and this happening…

I took another bite of my pasta because having food in my mouth was the only thing preventing me from engaging in an otherwise dull conversation.

“When I get out of college, I already have a job with Amazon,” my date said with an air of arrogance that was diminishing the quality of our evening.

I never like it when men talk about money. It, often, becomes a vain attempt to come off as more attractive, more accomplished, and ultimately more interesting than what they typically are.  

“Oh really?” I said in between chews, the thick cream sauce was a good distraction, so I wasn’t really focused on the conversation - which was one that he dictated. Another turn-off.

“You see, I tricked them into giving me a good salary” he picked up again, not catching on to my boredom.

“At the time, I had another job offer and they wanted to pay me this much.” he took out a pen and stole my napkin. He scratched something down and then showed it to me.

“That’s how much they wanted to offer me.” I didn’t care.

“So, when Amazon called me with an offer, I gave them a bracket salary. I said they could only be between a certain range, with the other offer as the minimum.” I really didn’t care.

 “And they matched it!” He seemed proud. He also seemed like he had told his triumph to many other people.

 I laughed, the only thing I could muster as a response. Even that was difficult.

 “I know, right.” He laughed too. And so, we sat. Laughing.

I Gave up searching for love a long time ago…

As a black woman, it is hard to date. You need to make sure a man doesn’t have a fetish, understands the complexity of being a black woman in America, and, on top of the social dynamic, he has to be a decent person who is, in every possible way, compatible with you.

Unfortunately, even in the age of technology, there is no dating-app algorithm that is smart enough for such a rare find.

As a 20-something, I hate to admit it, but I gave up the search for love long ago.

Love, anyway, as it is in iconic movies like Dirty Dancing and Sleepless in Seattle.

When I first entered college, I thought I would have a stereotypical romantic experience and, instead, I had dead-end dates with men who were about as uninterested in love as I was in their immature egocentrism and pretentiousness.

So what did I learn recently? Well, it’s simple: to love me.

As cliché as it may sound, in recent years, I became closer than I have ever been to finding love within my own body, mind, and soul. I didn’t necessarily lose all hope in amour, but I noticed that when I rerouted the energy I was putting into finding a man, into myself I found something incredibly precious.

So, if you are currently reading this, (perhaps on a dead-end date with a man who is superficially discussing money) then maybe I can offer you a few tips on how to productively re-direct your effort into finding love for someone and finding it for yourself.

Learn a new language

Currently, I’m in France learning (you guessed it) French. I decided to do this because I wanted to challenge myself. It has definitely worked. You can learn so much about yourself and the world in this way. It is a humbling experience indeed.

Prioritize your passions.

Seriously ask yourself what you want to do or be. Transparency with your heart is special. Don’t tell yourself you can’t do something, start today.

Don’t let what others think influence how you think.     

Definitely one of the more difficult things to do. In honesty, it is easy to be influenced by the opinions of others, but they really don’t matter. What matters is how you perceive yourself. Formulate your own world views and personal views. Never doubt yourself.

Tell yourself that you are beautiful every day.

Don’t wait for the person you admire to say this to you. Look in the mirror and say it to yourself. You’ll be surprised how you feel afterward.

So, it’s true. I believe in love again.

All I needed was a bit of time to get to know someone –myself.