Love Takes Courage and Growing into Yourself

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This past weekend, Garrett and I attended a wedding. For two of our closest friends, Jackie and John.

Somehow, us two couples have been on the same life plan for a while. We were both roommates who took the impossible leap to dating while living together. We bought our dream condo and five months later, they bought theirs. They got engaged, and five months later I was proposing in Italy. They just got married, and we’ll be married in five months—not to mention that our I Do BBQ was only weeks from their wedding.

And, to be totally honest, there are few other couples that I can honestly say are as happy and perfect for each other as Garrett and I also feel. They just fit.

So this was a special wedding for us. We’ve gotten to see them grow through so many different stages of their relationship. We were there for the engagement (brunch with us was the ‘setup’ so that we could photograph the entire engagement). We were there when they first saw their home online. And we’ve known Jackie for over 10 years now. Garrett and her have been classmates, colleagues, and close friends for so many years.

Last night, we were looking at all of the beautiful photos of the wedding, and we ended up stumbling upon old photos of Jackie from years ago. And I was stunned by how different she looked. Sure, she was older and had a different haircut. But it wasn’t any of that. She has a glow to her now that wasn’t there before. She looks so comfortable in her life and in her body. She looks so ridiculously happy. It all just fits.

It reminds me of old photos of me. I can see my transformation with my own eyes. Happiness is evident. It just kind of glows out of you. As you grow into yourself.

I think a long time ago, I felt my insecurities deeply. That I was too thin or too sensitive. That I was too loud and too playful. That my emotions got the best of me. That I had a big nose.

All of these things that made me feel like I was less than. That I wasn’t perfect. That maybe I was less lovable because of them.

And I’ll never forget that Garrett said something to me offhand, before we were dating. He said to me, “Right now, there’s someone out there desperately searching for exactly what you are. Everything, even the stuff that you think is bad. That’s actually why they’ll love you.”

I’ll never forget that. Because it’s almost impossible to remember those insecurities now. They feel like a distant memory. As I’ve stepped more fully into loving myself and letting myself be loved.

It takes a lot of courage to love yourself and let yourself be loved. It’s vulnerable and intimate and scary. There’s no power games. You might get rejected. You might fall flat on your face. You might not have the upper hand.

But, in my experience, if you can be courageous enough to show up as your full, full self and put yourself out there, knowing that you are enough, magic can happen. In love, in life, in business.

True love is about courage. The courage to be yourself. The courage to show someone even the parts of yourself you deem ugliest or most unlovable. To take chances, even in the face of fear. To let your walls down. And to let yourself truly connect for a moment.

I’m so honored and inspired to have witnessed Jackie and John be that courageous. To have had the privilege of watching their relationship grow from afar. Watching those walls come down. And their love blossom. And their confidence rise.

When I saw them lock eyes from down the aisle, hearts no doubt beating wildly, in their literal last moments as singledom, I had no doubt in my mind that these two had the love story everyone dreams of.

Because they had the courage to do the work. To work through their own shit. To show up fully as themselves. And be two whole people coming together. Now two partial people who rely on the other for wholeness.

So often, people will ask me why I think Garrett and I are so happy. And so I talked about it with Garrett once. And he said, “I think it’s honestly just the amount of self-work we’ve done and continue to do. We love ourselves, we know what we want and deserve, and we’re not afraid to be honest, even when it’s really scary and vulnerable.”

When two people love themselves enough to show up fully and are courageous enough to open themselves to someone else, there’s no limit to their love.

Congratulations, Jackie and John. There are few couples that inspire me more than you do.

Love is a birthright. We all deserve to be loved. First and foremost by ourselves.

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