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Cataloged in Love

You Deserve More Than Your Toxic Relationship (You Deserve Real Happiness)

It’s amazing how the loss of one person from your life can impact you. Maybe you never even realized that you were unhappy to begin with; maybe you just convinced yourself that how you were living was normal, was happy. You were living in happiness redefined. If you tell yourself enough times that this is how it is meant to be and that this is actually how life works out, you will start to believe it. Nothing is scarier than convincing yourself to settle for someone or something that your gut aches for you to be rid of just because you feel obligated to.

We are in control of our own lives and our own choices. I feel that we are fully aware of this fact, yet are so quick to toss it aside for what we often deem too quickly as “love.” If we just stop saying that one thing that he dislikes or stop wearing that one outfit that she abhors, we often imagine that we can smooth over rough patches in our relationships and return to a place of contentment. What we often do not realize, however, is that each and every small shred of ourselves that we give up or hide in order to satisfy another person really does add up over time. Just imagine that every day you give up a small possession that seems to hold little value; eventually, you would find yourself with nothing left to give. It is easy to recognize such loss when it manifests itself in tangible objects, but so much more difficult to do so when we are constantly giving away tiny pieces of ourselves. Sure, a small habit or appearance change may seem insignificant at the time (particularly when pitted against the potential loss of our “love”), but eventually those small pieces of you will be gone, and you will be forced to remove larger and larger parts of yourself until one day you’re left standing alone, empty and terrified.

This is precisely why we have to heed the warning of that tiny voice in our heads and hearts when it sounds the alarm that something is not right. You know the moment exactly when this warning occurs; all of a sudden, someone will say something or make some sort of gesture that strikes you as wrong. Maybe you can’t define exactly why it is wrong, but something occurred that was most certainly not okay. Don’t ignore the red flags.

You can only close your eyes to the truth for so long before it comes barreling towards you.

Don’t wait for this moment. You know yourself better than anyone else, no matter what a significant other or anyone tries to tell you. Don’t build your life around someone who constantly gives you a feeling of unease just because they “love” you and have painted you a pretty picture of what your life together could be. This is your life right now. Your present is real, and you deserve to thrive in it.

Toxic relationships often leave us feeling as if we have been destroyed. It is as if every ounce of us has been ripped out, stomped on, and taken away for good. And just when it seems like there is nothing left for them to take, they somehow creep into the smallest depths of your soul and manage to find what little shreds of yourself you had managed to retain. It’s sick, and it isn’t your fault that they have done this to you and made you feel this way. But you are not destroyed. Though it may seem as if you have absolutely nothing left, there is so much there for you to grab onto.

Often it takes immense heartbreak and pain to propel us forward into the lives we ought to be living. I like to think that toxic relationships and situations alike are blessings in disguise. Once someone has seemingly taken all that you have or a negative situation has left you entirely drained, your only choice is to pick up the pieces. Slowly but surely, you can put yourself back together, stronger and wiser than ever before.

You just have to be patient. Reclaiming yourself won’t happen overnight. There is no set amount of time for “getting better.” Each and every individual and situation will require its own path to betterment, and there is no shame to be felt in taking any more or less time to heal than anyone else. Just know that the moment you first recognize your newfound self will be a glorious one. Suddenly, you’ll just be driving in your car or sitting with a friend, and you’ll just realize it. You will just know that you’re happy. You will start to remember who you were and who you wanted to be. Every day you will begin to have more and more of these moments until eventually these fleeting moments become your constant reality. A reality you never before believed in. There’s no need to paint a pretty picture of how life could be because you are carefully constructing your own charming portrait, one day at a time. TC mark