For a while, you were the only thought occupying my mind. I had trouble focusing on classes and chores and paperwork, because you were all I cared about.
I lost sleep to text you. I lost money shopping to look good for you. I lost my mind trying to figure out whether you liked me back.
That is why I sacrificed for you. I went above and beyond your expectations. I did everything within my power to impress you.
I loved you more than I loved myself — and that was the problem.
I spent my free time thinking of ways to make you happy and never asked myself how I felt. I stopped listening to the music I preferred because I wanted to hear your favorite songs. I stopped having an identity of my own because I was trying to become your dream girl.
Even when you treated me poorly, I kept you on a pedestal. I looked straight past your red flags. I saw someone perfect. Someone completely out of my league.
Meanwhile, I hated myself. I criticized every pimple. I cried in front of the mirror. I felt ugly and unwanted.
Instead of learning to love myself, I became obsessed with convincing you to love me. I thought your attention was the key to happiness. I thought a relationship with you would solve my insecurity problems. I thought the reason I was so miserable was because I was alone.
It turns out, the real reason for my misery was because I had neglected myself. I had stopped taking care of myself for myself. I did it for you. I worked out to lose weight, because I thought it would impress you. I bought new clothes to impress you. I wore makeup to impress you. It was all about you.
I became a background character in my own story. I stopped having an opinion. I made decisions based off what I thought would make you like me. I didn’t care about myself anymore. I decided your happiness mattered more than my own.
You looked at me like I was worthless, so I started to do the same.
I told myself I wasn’t enough, because you were the measure of my worth. It didn’t matter how many texts I had unread on my phone, because I only wanted to hear from you. It didn’t matter if my Instagram photo received hundreds of likes, because I would feel ugly unless your name was on the screen. I needed validation from you. I needed your approval.
Thankfully, I have stopped relying on others to bring me happiness. I have realized how unhealthy it is to base my mood off their opinion of me. I have realized I cannot force someone to like me.
I am allowed to love with all of my heart, but I am not allowed to lower my standards. I am allowed to care about someone else as much as myself, but I am not allowed to care about them more than myself.