In the hours after publishing my previous post – The Magic of March – I worried I hadn’t sounded positive or excited enough about my wonderful engagement news.
I read it back a few times. Had my realness and vulnerability tipped into negativity? Was it wise to share my mixed feelings? Should I have kept my grief, loss or sadness to myself and focused on the happy stuff?
But then some feedback started to come in. Some readers had found my blog moving, life-affirming and positive. For some, my words had affirmed their own journeys and made them feel less alone.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, feelings and stories with me. Hearing from you makes me feel less alone. It helps me heal my sadness. It affirms my journey. It inspires me to continue to write and it gives me purpose.
I was heartened to hear I’m not the only woman who has felt somewhat thrown by a marriage proposal and who’s had to process a whole range of feelings, not exclusively joyful ones. We are complex beings and our lives, in many cases, don’t look like the storybooks we read as children or the Hollywood movies or British romantic comedies we grew up on, particularly if we’re in our forties or fifties before that proposal comes. A marriage proposal is one of those milestones that stops us in our tracks and prompts us to look back over our lives and assess the journey we’ve been on and the choices we’ve made, conscious or otherwise, as well as to look forwards to the new life ahead.
Saying ‘Yes’ to marriage later in life, say at 46 rather than 36 or 26, and joining our lives with another also requires a bigger mental and emotional shift than if we were younger. In many cases, we’ve got used to our identity as a single person or as an unmarried partner. Taking on the role of wife or husband requires a deep breath and a leap of faith. If we haven’t been married before or been in long-term relationships, it may be we have a fear of commitment and that fear isn’t going to evaporate when a proposal comes. That wouldn’t be real.
I wonder, too, if my engagement news triggered some difficult feelings in some of you. I know I’ve felt triggered over the years when friends or acquaintances have shared their happy news – engagements, weddings, babies and so forth – particularly on Facebook where everyone seems to lead such a charmed life. When I’ve heard their news, as well as feeling joy for them, I’ve also been reminded of all the dreams that haven’t come true for me. I’ve felt pain. I’ve wondered when my time would come. If that’s you, I get it. I’ve felt it too. It’s okay. It’s normal. Can I suggest you allow the feelings to come to the surface, that you allow yourself some space to heal, to cry perhaps? Do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself. That’s what I’ve done in the past and it’s helped.
I believe it’s important to acknowledge all of our feelings, to accept that we are complex people whose emotional lives aren’t black and white. If we don’t, we’ll end up brushing the feelings we deem to be unacceptable under the carpet and they’ll stay there, festering, niggling away at us, sabotaging our happiness, enveloping us in shame.
So I hope my writing – either on this blog or in my book – somehow gives you permission to accept all of yourself and to love all of yourself. That’s how we heal. If my honesty can help you be a bit more honest with yourself and with others and to bring some of those hidden feelings out into the open, then I’m delighted.
If you enjoy this blog and/or if it helps you, I wonder if you’d like to join me this week as I share some more thoughts on love – self-love and falling in love – via live video. I’ll be hosting a Lunchtime Love-In every every day this week at 1 pm for 20-30 minutes on my Facebook business page – www.facebook.com/KatherineBaldwinUK/
Just like or follow my page to access the video. No cost involved. It would be wonderful to have you along. The videos will also be available on the page for you to watch at any time if you can’t join me live. I’ll be sharing some of the steps from my book – How to Fall in Love – A 10-Step Journey to the Heart – and discussing how to connect with our feelings, tap into our intuition, build our self-esteem, love ourselves and build the solid foundations required to fall in love and stay in love. I’ll also be talking about how to navigate the inevitable challenges of relationships – romantic and otherwise.
I also have a closed Facebook group – Being Real, Becoming Whole – so if you’re interested in living wholeheartedly and authentically and are looking for a supportive place to share your feelings and to discuss taking courageous action in your life, be that in dating and romance, in your work or in another area, do have a think about joining us in that group.
And if you’d like to go deeper and work through any obstacles to love as part of a small group of like-minded women, you may like to think about joining one of my How to Fall in Love courses. I have a four-week course starting April 24th.
Otherwise, do keep reading and do keep commenting if you feel able. It’s powerful to be heard and understood and I hope that you also feel heard and understood when you read thoughts or feelings that you can identify with on this blog.
This blog, in many ways, was the start of my own journey to love, or at least it was a milestone on that journey. It was the beginning of a new path, of a new realness and vulnerability. It opened doors to a new form of writing and journalism after years of writing daily news stories. It gave me freedom. It allowed me to express all of myself. It gave me permission to be me.
I hope that in some small way it gives you permission to be you too.