arms up standing over Monterey Bay
Today’s post is a very personal one. I don’t write too deeply about my personal life often, but I know these kinds of posts are always really well received and I think it’s important for me to be candid in the hopes it can help others. This particular post has weighed heavy on my heart for some time now. I’ve thought about what I would write and how I would say it, but for some reason, I could never make myself sit down and put it onto “paper”, until today. 

If you’ve been following me since the beginning you know that in 2014 I got engaged… and unengaged. It was a life-altering decision and the catalyst for my new found self-confidence. This post, however, is not about what happened, it’s not about the other person, it’s not about all of the failed relationships prior. It’s not even about my current relationship. It’s about me. And it’s about you. 

This post is for the single girl, the married girl, the newly dating, the lifelong dating, the might be thinking about dating, the unengaged, the divorced, the cynic, and the dreamer. 

I’ve always been a romantic. I love LOVE and all of the mushy, cuddly, heartwarming things that come along with it. I believe in fate, that things always happen for a reason, and that even soul mates exist, although rare, much like unicorns… but I believe in those too lol. 

Like many, my parents divorced when I was very little, so I grew up with a somewhat skewed view of relationships, causing me to look for love in the wrong places, with the wrong people. For years I found myself trying to please others and even changed my thoughts and opinions to appease the relationship I was in at the time. I’m a people pleaser by nature, a peacemaker, and never too proud to back down. Drama, fighting, jealousy, and tears too often became the norm for me and I carried that norm into every relationship from high school to college, and then out into the real world as an adult. 
All I wanted was for my relationships to succeed. 

I hate failure.

But in the end, my biggest relationship “failure” propelled me to the greatest feeling of self-worth, self-confidence, and empowerment because I wanted more. I wanted what was right and I wanted what I deserved. 

Since I shared my un-engagement many, many posts ago, I’ve had several people reach out and ask me how I did it, why I did it, and how I got passed it. The details of “what” and “how” don’t really matter… private details I won’t and don’t want to share out of respect. And because this post is about me and you, remember?

I was unhappy. 

My heart hurt daily, and inevitably I was left feeling lost. So lost. I remember asking myself, “Who is Amanda?” “What does Amanda like and dislike?” “What does Amanda want out of life?”

And I couldn’t answer. 

Wow… I couldn’t answer. 

I realized after years of appeasement and fighting for success in the wrong relationships, I lost myself. I lost confidence in my own opinions and my own thoughts. I was too scared to say no, too scared to mess up the status quo, for fear it would mean the end of my relationship. All I knew was opinions and pushback led to arguments and stress and tears. And I realized how unhealthy and unhappy this state of mind I was living in really was. 

And one day I woke up one day with a very strong feeling I needed something different. 

Life is long, and there’s no need to make yourself unhappy or to try and force circular pegs into square holes. I finally realized I don’t have to be “okay” with things that make me feel unhappy. That what someone else does to make me feel that way isn’t necessarily wrong, it just isn’t right for me. And that’s how I let go of so much angst and anger. Just because it isn’t right for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t right for someone else. And that’s why it takes times and effort to find a compatible partner. 

It took me months of self-talk to realize, once more, all the things I have to offer. That I’m capable, unique, smart, a self-starter, beautiful, and worthy of love. The confidence I found in myself through the adversities of my situation still live with me today. And I refuse to ever let that go. It took me long enough to get there and now I love my voice. I’ve learned I can say “no” and I can calmly speak my mind without an inward feeling of devastation. If something makes me feel sad, mad or hurt I say so and more times than not, those conversations are met with respect and understanding. It’s made my current relationship so much stronger. 

Over time, through positive experiences, and many, many conversations with myself, I started to find myself again. I made a vow to myself that I would never settle in life and in love. No matter how hard it may be. I took months to give myself time to live selfishly – to live for what Amanda wanted. During this time, I did build up walls I inevitably had to break down, but they served me well when I needed them. When I needed time to live in singledom and to keep the chaos of feelings on the other side. And in that time I started to feel stronger, to feel powerful, to feel proud of myself, to feel confident in my abilities again. 

I truly found my self-confidence when I learned to love myself. 

And I truly believe you have to love yourself before you can love someone else and receive their love in return. 

Every person, every relationship, and every situation is different. And no one else lives those moments but me, and you. YOU know if you’re happy or if you’re not. If you feel confident in yourself and in your voice. Your voice is so important! And sadly, the voice of so many can outweigh your own. Your friends, your family, society, even strangers. The voices that tell you not to take a chance, not to rock the boat, to try, to give up, to get married young, to question your choices, to question your significant other’s choices. 

So many voices. 

But in the end, to keep from losing yourself, to keep from losing the confidence you have in your own decisions, you have to listen to yourself. Listen to your intuition. I’ve learned that sometimes you have to mute the outside influence. Even sometimes, the people’s opinions that matter most. Because no one else lives your life but you. And you should live it to the fullest.

I made a life-changing, scary, messy decision. 

But the day I found confidence in myself was the day I stopped living for other people. I’ve never felt a feeling so freeing than making a decision solely for my own happiness. 

It’s okay if other people don’t understand. 

They probably won’t.

I quit my full-time job of three years to move to California to start a new life with a new person with no idea of how things would pan out and no idea if things would work out. But my heart knew it was the right decision and every bone in my body said: “Go!” So I went and now, a little over two years later my life is so full of happiness and I’m living the life I choose.  

And now the question of many is “When will you get engaged?” 

To my gals & guys in long-term relationships at a marrying age… does that sound familiar? I have a feeling it does because I’ve had quite a few messages from followers asking me to speak to the fact Justin and I aren’t yet married and there’s lots of outside pressure – mostly from society – to make it official on paper. And here’s what I have to say about that…

Do what makes YOU happy. Justin and I have had many discussions about marriage and family. Many honest, sometimes hard discussions. And the conclusion we always come to is that we are HAPPY. We’ve had a wild two years together and we’ve learned so much about each other and about ourselves. We’ve learned that we love each other, we love spending time together, we live a very similar life, we like and dislike 99% of the same things, and we embrace each other’s hobbies. 

We are HAPPY.

Isn’t that what matters most? I think so. 

(btw I do want to get married, very much, and I want 4 (okay, maybe three) kids lol and a black Tahoe full of Morkie pups – but I want all of those things in time, at the right time)

For all my fabulous couples in a similar position, or to those of you who are single and feel the pressure to find a mate, a date, a special someone… do you. Live life how it makes you happy and never lose your self-confidence. Because at the end of the day you have to love YOU. You have to be okay if you find yourself alone. If you face adversities in life and in love. Your confidence is something that can never be taken from you and you should embrace all the things that make you special and make you unique. Someone out there is looking for you or has already found you and loves you. 

To all of my loyal, loving, amazing, followers and friends – my wish for you is to live a happy, fulfilled life. With no regrets and a voice, you’ll never be afraid to speak. 

Thank you SO MUCH for reading – if this empowers or gives hope to just one person this post was well worth writing. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

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XO Amanda