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Love Always Begins Within

Allow me to challenge and provoke several thoughts and fears you may have with these basic, but raw questions:

What defines you? Is it your spouse or significant other; the car you drive; your career; the clothes and/or jewelry you wear?

What gives you power?

Do you speak your truth?

If everything fell off today and it was only you, naked standing in front of a mirror, could you identify yourself without labels of any kind?

Would you be able to recognize who you really are within or do you allow another person/material things to take over your life?

Several years ago I had a rude awakening when I was forced to answer every single one of these questions. It was honest and painful. The answers weren't pretty and the journey was ugly, but also beautiful all at the same time; bittersweet. I made it through though! I now am here to tell anyone that if you are currently going through anything similar, it gets better.

I lost everything I had by entering and subsequently leaving a toxic relationship. This relationship took over my whole life and essentially, changed the course of a very significant time in my life. Even though it lasted for approximately a year, I lost my money, self worth, identity, dreams, career, material things and most importantly my health (don't worry, I'm okay now... we can get to that at another time). You see, once upon a time I looked outside myself for validation and approval. This was my ultimate defeat.

Through divine intervention, I had the blessing of starting over in life. It was a rebirth; a new

beginning. I got to rebuild and come back

stronger than ever! I rewrote my story, by conquering challenges that were thrown my way and answering those raw questions.

The lessons I learned prepared me so I can now help others heal from similar situations.

After many years of my own healing, physically and spiritually - I got back into the dating scene. Dating has never been my strong suit, as I have always been a bit cautious in that department. However, some of my best relationships have developed over time starting with friendship. Logically, if you don't "like" each other as friends, I'm not sure it can ever develop into anything meaningful.

Here's my go-to Dating Checklist:

1. Does he ask me meaningful questions or does he just talk about himself the whole time?

2. Is he respectful of himself and you?

3. Do we like to do some of the same things?

4. Does he make me laugh?

5. My biggest pet peeve: Does he play games?...... (LADIES! If this shows up early on, KEEP IT MOVING!!!)

6. How does he carry himself?

7. What is his outlook on life? Positive? Negative? Does he have Goals? Ambition? Morals? Values?

8. Most important: How does he treat others?

I must say, it hasn't been an easy road, however I am thankful for my strong network of amazing friends and confidants! (Also, I know if I don't ask these questions from the checklist, they will!) Shout out to my fierce, strong and loving friends who always look out for me and show me constant support!!!

Although my prince has yet to show up, it doesn't mean he never will. Timing is everything and to quote one of my favorite poets:

"What you seek is seeking you" - Rumi

Nevertheless, I still get asked the same question almost every time I meet someone new, "How are you single?" I answer: "Because I know what I want and refuse to settle for less."

They usually discontinue any further questions after that answer.

Every date I have been on recently has definitely been a gift in a funny way. There is always a message in why certain people are put in my path. Sometimes it is a lesson to learn from or sometimes it is for them to learn from me. Overall, after everything I have been through and seen, I still believe in love and I know love still believes in me. It's all perspective.

Remember, we attract what we think and feel, so why not think big and feel with all our heart.

And finally, nothing and no one defines you other than what is within. You can find that by answering the big questions at the beginning of this post!

Love always begins within.

With Love,

Parisa Moayedi

For the past 15 years, Parisa has worked in public and private sectors throughout Houston, TX and Los Angeles, CA as a Designer + Brand Strategist. Parisa is currently working on her personal book that is focused on empowering women through their adversity and hardships, as well as sharing her own personal story through speaking engagements in the Houston area. She enjoys painting, yoga, meditation, foodie adventures, volunteering, philanthropy, fundraising for chosen charities and making a positive impact. Parisa’s motto is: You get what you give!

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