“My thoughts raced as the epiphany took hold. Who would I be, I wondered, without my job? How would I be?

I couldn’t imagine quitting a job I had worked so hard for, for which I had sacrificed so much. I couldn’t imagine walking away from an identity I had built my entire life around.

Yet, simultaneously, I knew. It was no longer a choice.

You see, my entire life had been riddled with abuse. It was how I was raised. It was in many of my friendships. It was in all of my intimate relationships. And it was, most prominently, inside my fourteen-year career as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At that moment in that hotel room, I knew that if my true desire was to create a life filled with love, then I needed to cultivate a space within myself where love, not abuse, could grow and flourish. And that meant I absolutely could not continue to force myself into abusive environments or relationships. Nor could I continue to tolerate the abuse that was permeating my life. I needed to break loose, set my- self free, and begin to heal—even if I had no idea how.”

Read “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” by Sara Ann Aerts, exclusively in ALOVEDLIFE volume 4, a timeless bookazine by Absolute Love Publishing featuring stories on Intentional Living, Elevated Action, Conscious Connection, and Sacred Self Care. Learn about all the editions here.