To start off the new year, I want to reflect on an old memory from years ago. Why? What happened to me that year has really changed my perception of romantic and self-love.
2020 was a year of chaos and sadness. And, I hope that in 2021, everyone will be kinder to others and, most importantly, themselves.
A few years ago, there was a classmate who was interested in me. While I didn’t know at the time, I gradually started having a hunch.
We started off as friends, and while my gut told me that something was not right, I kept interacting with this person because I thought it was harmless.
The more I got to know him, the more I noticed the red flags. But, I decided to not think much about it at the time. I mean, we were just friends. And, I had thought that he probably didn’t mean what he said.
To give a little bit of context, when he came to see me, he casually said, “oh, all of you look the same.” Now, this was when I was in China, where the population was obviously mostly Asian.
While there may not have been any malicious intent behind this statement, it did raise questions. After I cut ties with this person and reflected on this experience, I noticed the racial discrimination behind that statement.
There were also frequent instances that he would complain to me. And, it was complaints that subtly dealt with race. When I would question him about this, he would quickly reverse his attitude and say something positive.
When he told me that he liked me, I had actually said I liked him back when I didn’t. Why? This goes back to my previous romantic interests when I was younger.
It was always me “chasing after someone.” It was always me initiating conversations, asking for dates, etc. And, to finally have someone to do that for me was “refreshing.” I put this in quotation marks because it is far, far, far from that.
I kept ignoring my gut feeling when we were together. While I wasn’t necessarily uncomfortable when we just talked, I was uncomfortable when some romantic interaction was involved. But, I kept trying to suppress it.
It wasn’t until I couldn’t ignore my emotions anymore that I broke things off with him. But, I didn’t want to be on bad terms with this person. While I thought that I could just quickly patch things up, he made it quite clear that he didn’t want to have anything else to do with me. And that’s when I realized that his true intentions from the start.
Looking back, I think it was my inexperience with love in general that hurt this person and myself. Obviously, if I had just simply followed my gut feeling, I wouldn’t have put myself in that situation.
But, I also noticed that if I had loved myself, wanted to take care of myself, I wouldn’t have put myself in that situation no matter what.
This experience made me think that romantic love isn’t just about the chemistry between two people. It’s also about self-love, which sparks the chemistry between you and another person.
And, how you treat yourself also tells others how to treat you.
But it’s also about not just “settling for anyone.” I went into that relationship due to my previous experiences with “romantic love” in the past.
I want to end this post by saying that I hope everyone will love themselves more in the upcoming new year. Taking care of yourself is taking care of others.