In 2008, I wrote a list of characteristics that I absolutely required in the partner I wanted, including, “likes adventure; listens; dreams; shares; knows what he wants; keeps commitments; loves music; broad-minded; humble; kind; makes me feel like the man in my dream.” I named the doc file, “Hear Me Universe”; I remember feeling that I was sending an important message out, and I wanted it to be heard—that my voice really mattered and that I welcomed the fullness of the relationship I defined.

At the time, I was forty-four, had ended a 22-year marriage three years before, and was on a journey to understand WHO I AM. The big-picture truth was that I was confident of who I was and what I wanted as a mother, for my career, for my health, with my friends & family, and in my spiritual life. I was happy with who I was in all those important areas of life. Yet, in my relationship with men, meh, I wasn’t happy and hadn’t really understood what I wanted, yet.

That list I made was my declaration of self-love. It described what I believed I deserved in a relationship. It described how I wanted to feel in a relationship.

Declare your love for yourself! Refuse to settle for less than what you truly desire.