• Stephanie Hinds


Yesterday someone asked me, “What do you look for in a partner?”

This is a question that I had a well-rehearsed answer for whenever it was asked. It was one of those questions I anticipated being asked in that first phase of a blossoming relationship, or one that was blossoming for the time being at least. I loved this question because I got to outline my expectations.

But as I have come to learn, expectations lead to disappointments.

My aunt once told me, “Don’t ever tell someone what you want in a partner, because they act as that person just until they have you. Once they do, there is no need for the act anymore.” For me, that lesson sunk in immediately.

It’s as if in that very moment, I realized where I had gone wrong in my past relationships. I had such a clear vision, of who I wanted, and what I wanted in that person, that I fell in love with their performance of my vision, rather than recognizing it was an act.

My retrospection on relationships illustrated to me how blinded and consumed I was by my romantic involvement. I often felt myself at odds with myself for not paying attention to my own needs, and neglecting my desires. I broke promises I made to myself, I shunned some of my closest friends, and I felt like I had no time because all of it was spent with the variable him.

When I was asked what I look for in a partner yesterday, my response, for the first time, was “Actually, I’m not looking for a partner.”

If you know me, you know that I’m always looking for a partner. I’m always looking for someone to talk to before I go to sleep, someone to text during class, someone to go out with on a Saturday night, and someone to spend Valentine’s Day with.

But something in me has changed, and a revolution has arrived within me.

My partners are my friends; the few that I have that promise me a good time even if we spend hours in a small space with nothing but our words, and always seem to deliver. My partners are my parents; who are in the living room when I come home, waiting to hear about the events that unfolded in my crazy life that day. My partners are my books; who fill my head with knowledge, inspiration, and food for thought when I need something, anything.

But most of all, my partner is me.

I am not going to re-enact the Women’s Liberation Movement, or belt out “Independent Women” by Destiny’s Child. I am not going to pretend I don’t get lonely at times. But I am going to profess the new found love that I have for the individual that I am, in my complete state of raw imperfection.

I am my partner.

I am the one person that doesn’t abandon myself when things hit the fan. I am the one person that knows everything from my lies to my truths, and everything in between. I know every flaw, every imperfection that makes me perfect. I know. I just know.

While I was writing this, I looked down at my right arm. And I had the simple thought, “My skin looks so soft.” That thought turned into a gesture of me wrapping my arms around myself. For a few minutes, I just sat there, embracing my own body, rocking gently back and forth. The embrace was so warm, so genuine, and so full of love that I began the most peaceful cry I have ever had in my life. Each tear was a piece of my freedom, a part of my emancipation, and a testament to my liberation.

In my head, I repeated, “I love myself. I am beautiful. And I am divine.”

I did not let go until those words travelled from my lips, to my head, to my heart, to my toes, through to my fingertips that radiated self-love to the flesh of my body.

I think that if any of that were untrue, I might feel weird about writing that, and a lot weirder for publishing it on a blog. But because that is my truth, I admit it shamelessly.

You are a mirror of your own world. If you want your world, your life, and your relationships to be full of love, you first must fill yourself with a love so unprecedented, so unconditional, that not even the wildest of fires could burn it, or you, down.

I have endured my fair share of tragedy, and I have endured my fair share of heartbreak, but in all those instances, I was my own healer. It was my hands that healed my wounds, and my voice that provided reason.

If any of that were untrue, I might feel conceited for writing that, and a lot more conceited for publishing it on a blog. But because it is my truth, I admit it shamelessly.

Find your truth. Find yourself. And find the truthful love that you have for yourself, within yourself. You might not want to profess it to the world. But one day, you will wake up so full of love for your life, for your friends, and for the world that you have created around yourself, that nothing short of standing on top of a mountain and screaming it out until you lose your voice will do you any good.

I realized that the reason I answered “I’m not looking for a partner,” surely wasn’t because I’m not looking for a partner. Like I said, I’m always looking for a partner. I think really and truly, it’s because deep down inside, I already have a partner.


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