You were pushed to your limits, you loved the wrong person too hard and you were left broken hearted at the end. The tears, the ability to feel so lonely in the company of someone else, the constant questioning and lies.
At times, you felt so insecure, even if that’s not the type of person you are; as if any girl could come and take your place. You were disposable. He didn’t care about your family, your dreams, your thoughts, your day, your past, present or future. The only thing this guy cared about in your life was him. And yet…you stayed. You stayed because you thought you could change him. You stayed because you thought if he saw how much you loved in, maybe he would love you that much too. You stayed despite friends or family telling you this person isn’t right for you and even knowing in your own heart that you deserve better too. It’s so easy to regret dating this person entirely…I’m telling you, don’t.
Despite all that you loved and all that you gave, you ended up with your heart broken. Maybe it was sigh of relief because you knew that you didn’t deserve to feel this hurt anymore, but you never would have ended the relationship yourself. You questioned everything, you were devastated, and you wondered if you would ever love like that again. But in time, you pick up the pieces of yourself and learn why this person was an important part in making you the person you are today.
1. I realized what my dreams truly are.
With you, it was about you, it was about my version of ‘us,’ but it was never about me. I thought I knew what I wanted: going to graduate school right after college, getting married, having a family at a young age. It all seemed so great until the idea of it was taken from me in an instant. When I had time to myself, I realized what I really wanted. I wanted to see the world, I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, I wanted to leave my mark instead of living a mundane life. The dreamer in me got the best of the do-er in me and now I am working in a position in Eastern Africa doing what I am most passionate about and happier than I’ve ever been. The girl I was two years ago, would have always wanted to do what the girl I am now is doing, but would have not taken the risks. Dating a guy who treated me like shit made me realize I was holding myself back for someone who wouldn’t even hold a door for me. When I gave myself the confidence to try for anything my heart desired, I failed at times, but I also succeeded and it landed me in a place I would have never thought to go if I was still constrained in that relationship.
2. I stopped planning my life and did everything my heart wanted to.
After the end of a relationship where I felt like I needed to constantly update where I was, where I couldn’t break any plans without a huge fight, where I never went away for a weekend because I didn’t want to be apart…I started to do whatever the hell I wanted, whenever the hell I wanted. This meant going out with friends significantly more. This meant trips to national parks on a whim. It meant driving out to the middle of nowhere to watch the sunset, and a rekindled love for nature and hiking. It meant more memories, meaningful ones where I was squeezing as much life and awe into my youth as possible instead of letting someone else drain it. In the midst of doing all these things I never had time to do before, or felt guilty about doing before, I was re-inventing myself. I was finding the self that had been pushed down so far for so long, who I always knew was inside me, but I forgot what she was like. But let me tell you, she was spontaneous, she was carefree, and had such a zest for life and the unknown. She was exactly the person I needed when I was feeling like I wasn’t good enough. In doing all the things I’ve always wanted to do, I found myself, and I actually really like her.
3. I got the confidence to stand up for myself and what I deserve
After being in a relationship with someone who was seriously wrong for me who I actually thought was seriously right for me, I took a lot of time to think about what I wanted in the next guy I date. I realized what it took to make me happy and make me feel important because I spent so much time loving someone who didn’t. I need someone who takes my life and dreams just as seriously as he takes his own, who I don’t question his loyalty to me, who shares with me a desire to help others, and someone who can shares my thrill in spontaneous travel and adventure. So, if you don’t make me feel like a priority, bye. If you just sit at home all day and don’t have a focus, bye. If you don’t know what you want, bye. Literally make a list for yourself of what you want it someone, think about why these things are important to you, and don’t settle for less. No, I’m not talking about physical things, but the way you want someone to make you feel should not be compromised. It’s so easy to stand up for yourself and what you want when you know exactly what you don’t want to bring yourself to again. Because of my last relationship, I will never bring myself into a position again where I feel like I’m giving up a part of myself.
4. I learned the beauty of being single again.
It’s been two years since my break up. Two years without another serious relationship. Two years where I’ve been without a partner in my life…and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Maybe it’s my new, high expectations that have pushed people away. Or maybe it’s a lifestyle of freedom and living from only the heart that others can’t keep up with. Or…maybe it’s that I’m not looking for someone right now. Whatever it is, being single again has brought the most liberating sense of freedom into my spirit. I love who I am alone now. She is confident, she is bold, she is always down for a good time and she has so much love to give anyone she meets. I learned the things I like to do: writing, hiking, reading poetry. Not to say that I couldn’t have discovered these things in this relationship, but I didn’t, because I didn’t put myself and my alone time as a priority. Not having someone to check my phone for, to see my texts being ignored, to constantly having my small expectations not met…I didn’t realize how exhausting it was until I wasn’t doing it anymore. Only worrying about myself allowed me to let go of so much stress and sadness I didn’t even know I was holding on to. I appreciated my friends so much more and only got closer with them. I had a new-found love for being alone because I know now that this time is precious, and essential for knowing who we are so we can then know who we are with someone else.
Remember, the only person who a person with narcissistic qualities loves, is himself. You tried and you fell because you’re the kind of person who doesn’t just give up on someone because they’re hard to love. But remember, you are also so important. The person who deserves you will accept that you’re slow to trust and open up about yourself because you have been with someone who shattered your idea of relationships. But, it will come, and it’s worth the wait. Take your time to yourself to love yourself and really get to know what makes you, you. If you fuel everything with revenge and anger, then you’re holding a spot in your heart for a person who doesn’t deserve it and still allowing him to get the best of you in his absence. Start journaling, read something you’ve always wanted to, go somewhere you’ve never been before, and in time, find the things that fuel your spirit. Focus on the healing, focus on the acceptance, self-love, and most importantly, put all your focus into moving on to become the person you’ve always wanted to be. Loving someone who didn’t know how to love you back is a difficult battle, but an important one to shape you into the woman you are today and the woman you will be tomorrow.