For years, I had taken someone else's belief about love as my own truth. "Love is when you care about someone so much that you would sacrifice anything for them." Sounds poetic. But upon further investigation, I realized something deeply disturbing about this belief. It's incredibly exclusive. With this belief, I couldn't love very many people. There were few people that I was willing to sacrifice anything for. It exposed me to manipulation. It became a game and a power trip. He used this definition of love to boast about how much he had sacrificed for me as a way of showing me how much he loved me. If I wasn't sacrificing enough, then I wasn't really proving that I loved him enough. "If you loved me, you would..." I did everything he wanted in order to try and prove my love. In the end, it wasn't enough. It was never enough and it would never be enough. 

How is it possible to love yourself with this belief?

I was so desperate and hungry for love I that took anything that sounded romantic and ran with it. 

I've spent the past few years learning how to love myself, becoming comfortable with telling my best friends that I love them, becoming comfortable with being more free and open with my love. I read the following quote yesterday and it is now one of my many NEW definitions of love. 

Love is gratitude to someone for the grace of their presence on this Earth, without expecting anything in return.
-Camille, This American Girl

I love you. Yes, you. ✨💛