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Did Valentine’s Day sweep you away? Whether you’re ready to move across country for someone new or walking lock-step with your long-term partner, you may need to carve out a corner for yourself. Remember, there are No Points for Pain.

Singer Lana del Rey said, “When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love.” Well, sort of…

Of course it’s wonderful to make your loved ones happy. Getting their favorite foods at the market. Picking out flowers that mean so much to them. However, do we kid ourselves into thinking that loving with abandon means abandoning ourselves? Perhaps losing yourself in a relationship happens one step at a time over many years. This is what happened to Carol Stigger.

Carol Stigger’s husband left her for another woman. Not just any woman. A friend. In an instant, she was shocked and angered to find herself becoming a stereotype. He left Carol with a lot after 20 years of marriage – three children to raise in her 40s and enough rage to spark a lava flow at Mount Kilauea. It took years to fully process her emotions, but she reached some astonishing conclusions.

She started by releasing the bitterness. Then she began to rechannel the fury directed at her former husband into her own reinvention. Life was far from over; she had plenty of passion left. Well, passion for everything except housekeeping.

She recalled, “It meant I had to learn who I was without the convenient label of “wife.” Eventually I realized it was all for the best. He married a woman who loves to vacuum. Divorce freed me up to pursue an exciting, rewarding life as a journalist. It’s something I never could have done while married to a man who wanted a maid and cook for a wife.”

Teri Lyne Carrington’s work as a drummer means she routinely spends her days trying to complement everyone else in the room. You would think constantly adjusting in recording sessions and on tour would leave her as confused about her identity as a codependent lover. It did, but that’s in the past. She laughs, “I am finally realizing how much time I have spent and wasted on trying to fit into a box here or a box there. From worrying about who likes me or who doesn’t, to worrying about my pant size or hairstyle. My good friend, Dianne Reeves, once told me that I spent too much time trying to find “what is hip?” and that I did not realize that I am what is hip!”

This week, take some time to make sure you’ve saved a little room for your hip self in your relationships. The people who truly love you will understand that you are not simply living for their happiness. Author Victoria Moran sweetly said, “To the people who love you, you are beautiful already. This is not because they are blind to your shortcomings, but because they so clearly see your soul. Your shortcomings then dim by comparison. The people who care about you are willing to let you be imperfect and beautiful, too.”