I fell in love, but it didn't work out.

It fucking hurts.

The last few weeks have been a blur of really intense emotions, accompanied by many tears and overwhelming waves of grief. It hurts for many reasons, but probably the biggest one was that I thought love had finally come for me. That it was my time to truly love and be loved by someone else.

It wasn't for nothing. Love did come for me, just in a way I didn't expect. It showed me how I loved myself, and also where I needed to love myself more. It reminded me that the love I seek outside myself already exists within me. A beautiful lesson, but also an incredibly painful one.

This experience shook me to my core in the best way. It felt like being bathed in a warm, delicious golden light after a long, harsh winter. A light that warmed my heart and soul and expanded my consciousness. A light so bright, it shined on the deepest, darkest parts of my being, leaving me totally vulnerable and exposed.

Though brief, it was a transformative experience for me. It has taught me so much about myself, and will continue to teach me as I transition into a new chapter of my life. I've learned so many lessons, but here are just a few things that really stick out:

  • Childhood trauma has deep roots in my subconscious and affects me in many ways. I realized I have abandonment issues from my relationship with my mother - I never knew this about myself. This deep wound plays a large part in how I interact with the world, but it really shows up in my relationships. My fear of not being lovable has had such a stronghold on me my whole life, I had gotten used to shutting myself off to love. It hurts so much, because I want to be loved, just like anybody else. Healing my mother wound and relationship to her is the key to my liberation.

  • My fear of unworthiness had me searching for love and acceptance outside of myself. I understand now that worth cannot be given to me or taken away by anybody or anything because it is already there. No one can take away what I am at my core; which is love. We are all love.

  • My brain works really hard to protect me when it's scared, but it's not always right. It's really easy to attach to stories, especially when I feel anger and resentment. When my brain is desperately trying to make sense of something that hurts, it takes the easiest path, which is believing that I am unworthy of love. Brain rewiring is possible, but requires constant self-awareness and practice to create new circuits/stories. Oh, and TIME!

  • Being vulnerable is both terrifying and absolutely necessary for authentic connection. If I want to be seen and loved for who I truly am, I must be brave enough to show myself - all of myself. I am so grateful for the work Brené Brown has done around shame and vulnerability. Watching her TED Talk and Netflix special The Call To Courage has really helped me understand the importance and power of vulnerability.

  • Detachment creates inner peace. I've struggled so much with this. I found myself wanting to attach to certain outcomes because it gave me a false sense of safety and security. Detaching from outcomes (in all situations) allows things to happen organically. It's trusting and knowing that whatever is meant for me, will not pass me by, so there's no point in worrying about how things will unfold.

Although this part of my journey is layered with grief and sorrow, I am so thankful for it. I found that I am capable of opening my heart and allowing myself to be seen by somebody on a deep level. That is is safe to be unapologetically me. I got to practice radical transparency, communication and conflict resolution in a safe container, which allowed me to grow and expand. Even though it didn't work out in the way I had hoped, I still got to have a beautiful experience with a beautiful person. It's easy to view this as a loss, but really, it's a gain.

It is both a privilege and blessing to experience intimacy, vulnerability and authentic self-expression with someone else. Through this unexpected encounter, I have grown so much. And now I get to take all these things I learned and apply them to my life moving forward. It has given me the opportunity to be a better, more refined, truer version of myself. And it's reminded me that every challenge in life is an opportunity for growth and evolution.

What a gift.