Earlier this year, I got dumped hard by the boy of my dreams. I thought that we were destined to be together forever but much to my surprise, it ended quickly. I geared myself up for a total break down. I had been dumped before, cried myself to sleep for what felt liked forever, so I braced myself for total, utter defeat. But this time was far different.
This time, I took that defeat, and turned it into the biggest lesson I have ever learned in my life.
It was undeniable that I was more crazy-in-love with this boy than I had ever been with anybody. I thought, without a doubt, he was, “the one” and there were no signs leading me to believe otherwise.
Before him, I knew deep down in my gut, that even though I loved my previous boyfriends, something was missing. I was far too young and uncertain to take it all the way. But all the uncertainty that I felt with them, suddenly disappeared, and it happened the moment I laid eyes on the boy who I wanted to spend my life with.
Now, our love wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was the most real love I had felt. And to me, it was all I ever needed for the rest of my life. There was no denying it to ourselves or anyone around us, so even when things didn’t turn out to be how I hoped they would, I ignored all the signs that it was time to move on.
I know you might be thinking that the lesson I learned was to “let go;” that I had to face the music and handle rejection, and that everything happens for a reason.
Yes, I definitely needed to remind myself of that. I took the break up very hard, and just like any other rejection I had faced in my life, I fought back. But, I had been dumped enough to know that in time, everything would work itself out. I began to accept rather quickly (well, what seemed quick to me) that it wasn’t meant to be.
Admittedly I believed that acceptance was something I learned when I was broken up with the first time. My first ever break up took me about a year to grieve, and took dating a new boy for two years to truly get over. Quite a long rebound if you ask me.
But when I was broken up with the second time, I figured I had mastered it. I was the absolute queen of acceptance, or that’s at least what I told myself. So naturally, I was ready to start something new and be in an all encompassing love; only this time, would for sure be the last.
I charged full speed ahead into the boy who changed my world. Although I didn’t foresee it ever ending, it eventually had to for a plethora of different reasons. Only this time, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to break down. I didn’t want to go through the whole crying every single day phase, because I knew how that felt, and I needed to be strong.
I thought to myself, this is a good opportunity to try to be more positive. I told myself it was okay because maybe I just needed to be so in love with someone, to really know how bad a break up can feel. Maybe I got hurt again because I needed to have my heart and soul wide open, and my walls completely down to truly learn my lesson.
But what was different about getting my heart crushed this time? Why was he my wake up call? What did losing someone who I never wanted to lose, force me to gain?
That you can’t truly accept if you keep resisting.
I was living my life thinking I knew everything I needed to know. I thought, I was in love once, so now I know what love means. I was broken up with once, so I learned my lessons about heartache. I was depressed for a year and was able to get over it, so I’m strong enough to start again.
I thought I was the exact person I needed to be, and that I’d been through enough. I thought that whoever I met next had to be “the one,” because what else can life really throw at me? I was broken up with twice for goodness sake, how much does one person need to endure to learn something?! How many lessons are there in life?!
Yeah sure, things could have been a lot worse, and I could have endured plenty more. But I figured I’m a pretty intelligent girl. I knew what I needed to know. I even saw what other people went through in their relationships and felt like I was able to learn THEIR lesson, without even having went through it myself. “How much more do I need to know about relationships than that?” I thought.
I am all powerful and wise beyond my years, I thought, so this 28-year-old boy who seemed to have his life together was obviously my equal. Life problems solved; future set and I’m only 23! Look at me go!
I thought I was unstoppable, so when I met the guy who completed my world, I figured, this is what all the heartache was for! Now, I can finally be happy!
The problem was, my momentary happiness of finding some new person or thing to get over hardship, was not teaching me anything at all about enduring happiness.
I thought I knew the importance of acceptance, but I was confusing acceptance with simply moving on… and you are capable of moving on, without learning.
So many people spend their life resisting. They have horrible things happen to them, and they fool themselves into thinking that they are growing, simply by having been through those things. But the growth does not come into play until you make the choice to fully accept those horrible things, and that doesn’t just mean saying you do; it means actually doing it.
But how is one supposed to know that they really accepted something? After all, I was right to think that going through a couple break ups had taught me some valuable lessons. I was right to think that I was moving in a forward direction. I figured, if I had the ability to make room for a new love in my life, doesn’t that mean I’m over the old love?
But here’s the kicker:
I was still reacting to the new love, in the same old way.
I was still feeling defeated when new boy didn’t text me back, because old boy was bad at answering his phone. I was still feeling defeated when new boy didn’t want to hang out with me one night, because old boy stopped hanging out with me for a week and then broke up with me.
I was still blaming everything on the past, and comparing my new relationships to my old ones. Of course I thought that it was natural to get mad and upset when a new situation seemed familiar, because those past similar situations resulted in something horrible happening. But what’s natural about getting mad? Why did I think that getting worked up over little things was how I was supposed to feel?
That’s when I realized I hadn’t given myself the time to really accept. I was resisting old problems that left marks within myself, by finding someone new to accept me and show me that everything was okay.
But how could someone show me that everything was okay, when I didn’t truly believe it myself? How can someone accept me, when I wasn’t even truly happy?
I thought because I felt happy in the moment that I met I new guy, it was my way of accepting the past.
But acceptance is when you move from feeling happy to actually being happy.
A lot of things can happen that will transform who you are and have an impact on your life. Of course, it’s easy to mistake those natural moments of change for actual growth. Growth begins when you look at those changes with a positive mindset, instead of a defeated attitude.
I felt defeated the moment I lost my first love and put so much stress on not losing people, that I lost sight of how beautifully unpredictable life can be. As a result, all of my following relationships became negative before they even had a chance to blossom. I tried to control every thing and everyone around me so that I never had to feel defeated again, and yet only faced the same defeat over and over and over again.
I’m not upset that I lost a lot of love in my life. I am aware that I made a lot of the same mistakes, and for a while I was mad that I didn’t know better than to stop it. But I can’t be mad. I can’t be negative and feel defeated. I can’t feel like I am not good enough and need someone to make me feel validated.
I can only be grateful that this last love, taught me the most valuable lesson of all. That this last love, was so beautifully hopeful and so beautifully challenging, that I finally learned how to face life’s biggest challenges head on.
Now it’s time to stop fighting; stop trying to change things; stop resisting. I may still be hurting, but at least I know I am healing.
Who cares if my lost love finds a way back to me. Who cares if I fall in love again in a week, in a month, or even in a year. Who cares that I may need a few lonely nights to myself. The beauty is truly in the breakdown, and the best is truly yet to come.
I want to be happy, and I am discovering that I am much more happy when I stop trying to change things that I am unable to control and start accepting that sometimes, life has other plans.