Over the course of my life, my perception of what love should be has altered drastically.

I think this is pretty natural and maybe even inevitable. Today what I long for in love, and what I wish for each and every one of you, is to be loved for your flaws and not despite them. You see my much younger self once wished on a star for someone to love me despite my flaws. Somehow, my logic told me that my flaws were so very bad, that I had to have really amazing qualities for someone to overlook them. ( I have this sneaking suspicion that this is related to growing up in a society that focuses on lack, rather than abundance.)

I also made the mistake of choosing a partner in much the same manner. I had somehow come up with a list of things I wanted in a partner and although they are still things I prize, I have come to realize that there are far deeper more important things on my list. By my late 20’s I had defined my future partner as having to be able to dance, be funny and be the person to make friends easily and be able to talk to total strangers. I made the mistake of prioritizing behaviors over characteristics, and because of that, I sat in the center of a scale for over tens of years trying desperately to keep it balanced, until finally, the scale tipped so far of course that my whole world crashed down. In the aftermath of that disaster, I had to find a way to rise up and take my life back. I had to reevaluate my perceptions and question by very belief system.

Since the demise of my marriage, I have had to take some pretty humbling looks at myself and search out just who I had become over the course of my marriage. Thankfully, I found a lot to be proud of, however, there were a few not so pretty things to look at. Having your life quite literally implode overnight leaves a person pretty raw.

I know myself now, I know who I am, I know who I am under fire, I know who I am backed into a corner and I know who I am every day when I make the hard choices that align with my authentic self. It is not easy to stand here, it is a choice that I make every day, every moment, sometimes it feels like with every breath I have to actively chose to do what I feel to be right, even though it would be easier and more instantly gratifying to do otherwise. And still I often fail, often I feel like I am flying with no safety net and no instructions and all I can do is refuse to quit.

Shortly after finding out about my husband’s infidelity a friend told me something that has set the course of my new path, she said “You are teaching your daughter self-respect, right now. With every action, you are taking. With how quickly you are moving, with picking up your entire life and moving it in less than a month, in refusing to lower yourself to reciprocate poor behavior. When you hold your head high and refuse to be defeated, in showing her your tears and pain, you are showing her what it means to respect yourself.”

I tell you this because I want you to know, exactly what I want my children to know. You are worthy of the very best, love, life, career, friendships, you name it and you are worthy my friend. And if I want my children to believe that then I better role model the hell out of it, because words can be pretty but actions hold meaning. The very amazing Maya Angelou once said “When someone shows you who they are believe them”, well I spend each day trying to show who I am and I am doing my very best to be the person I want my children to be.

One of the benefits of being a Mother is learning that you can love someone wholeheartedly and that no matter what they do, you can’t un-love them. I have learned that often it is what could be perceived as flaws that I love most in my children, as aggravating as they may be at times. The same thing goes for my friends, of course, I admire their best qualities, but it is really their idiosyncrasies that I love the most. I love watching my tribe navigate life in their own unique ways and I love spending time with the amazing people that they are. It seems so silly now, to think that I would love them despite their flaws, when in fact it is their flaws that make my heart warm.

I respect my people, who know their weaknesses, and rather than hiding from them they learn how to navigate with them. What you resist persists, so don’t resist, embrace and utilize. Learn how you are different and then capitalize on it. The very best people have often come from the very darkest places. Spend time getting to know your shadow self and then realize that balance is nature’s way.

Being worthy is not the color of your skin, hair, or eyes. It has nothing to do with your weight, clothing or possessions.

You are worthy simply for showing up and being you. Give yourself the grace of loving who you are, don’t like something about yourself? Change it, or change your perception of it. Stubborn? Try Strong-Willed. Sensitive? Try Empathetic. Impulsive? Try Courageous.

Write out every one of your best qualities and then keep it nearby. Every time your critic comes out to play, use it to remind yourself that you are really quite amazing. And again, give yourself grace, nobody’s perfect, perfection doesn’t exist, but real does. Be you, be the best you you can be. Feel like you failed today? Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.

As I begin to look for love and partnership again, this is what I want for myself. I want someone who will love my faults, someone who sees each one of the scars I bare and sees the beauty and strength behind them. I know it is possible to love others like this because I love others like this. I want this kind of love for myself, and I want this love for you. I hope each and every one of you find it in your friends and in your families and in your partners.

And if by chance you feel that others in your life do not love you in this manner. I believe that you can find the strength to walk away from them! I know that I will find the strength to walk away from any love that does not accept all of me, because that kind of love is shallow and it is not worthy of me. We cannot clutter our lives with things that do not serve us and a love that does not encompass all of you, does not serve you.

Namaste ~Michiko @SweetSerenityYoga