How My Relationship Helped Me Overcome My Ego

Annie Spratt / Unsplash

The initial stage is denial.

That first week, I would wake up every morning – 8 a.m. on the dot – shaken from a nightmare, dripping in sweat. I would think frantically, “What am I doing? I need to call him right now and make this right!”

And I would cry.

Because my heart was shattered, but my brain was not. And it was telling me exactly what I didn’t want to hear – that you shouldn’t chase after something you don’t want to catch.

And that was the beginning of my slow, slow path to recovery.

At first, I was angry, convinced our relationship was just one big lie. This threw me into self-destruction mode; leaving my friends to clean up the mess I left behind – fits of tears, vomit…whatever it may be.

And my brain began to churn out a steady playback of all the things that had ever gone wrong between us – every fight, every breakdown, every dig and blow to the ego. And my brain persuaded me to believe that our relationship had been merely a game. My brain persuaded me to believe we were just lone pieces of a battle that could never be won.

I cursed myself for having so many thoughts…for even caring, actually. Questioning myself. Always questioning myself.

But all along there was something else happening. I was learning. I didn’t realize it then because I was so stuck in my own mind…but I was doing this thing called self-actualizing.

Instead of shrugging it off as “just another breakup,” I questioned the shit out of it. I questioned why the relationship began; I questioned why I let it continue. I questioned what I liked about him, and what I think he liked about me. I questioned my constant need for attention, my random crying fits, the passive-aggressive ways I tried to manipulate our relationship. And yes, questioning these things hurt.

Because it meant I hadn’t always been right.

It would have been so much easier to deny everything, blame him for the demise of our relationship. And trust me, I wanted to. I wanted to be the most immature ex you had ever met. I visualized it, sometimes.

But these rage-y thoughts lasted mere seconds before I was calming myself down, tossing that ego back into its’ confines.

You’ve been so mature throughout this, Meg,” friends would say to me.

Thanks,” I would say through a cracked smile, my mind flitting back to just nights before when I ripped out eight shots of Jäger and let my Instagram story do the rest of the talking.

It was an ego thing. I wanted to look like I was better off without him. Like I had my shit together (though I realize now that Jäger -filled frenzies are not the answer,) and not just that, but I wanted my shit to be together 10 million times better than his shit. Ridiculous, I know.

My ego had become my worst enemy, and my biggest supporter.

Strangely, the thing I questioned the most was her – and after all that questioning I realized something as disheartening as it was surprising.

I hadn’t been falling in love.

I had been falling in need.

That damn ego. Always looking for attention. Validation. Distraction. Love.

I used my relationship as a void to fill those needs.

And man did this destroy me. Because I had this answer and no idea what the solution was. Unless self-acceptance was the solution, in which case, wouldn’t that take years?

I have come to find out that the answer is, “no.” Self-acceptance isn’t a destination. Because we’re always changing, aren’t we? Always questioning, adapting, making mistakes…and then repeating the process. It’s a constant loop.

It took me months – pushing past the denial, anger, and issues of self-worth– to finally understand this breakup. To understand that a bad relationship can be turned into a positive experience. I’m thankful I was forced to question myself. Because suddenly now I’m more in tune with my emotions. I appreciate myself just a little bit more, explain myself a little bit less. I’m making efforts to drop the ego and just be.

And I’m beginning to care without expectation. TC mark

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This is me letting you go

If there’s one thing we all need to stop doing, it’s waiting around for someone else to show up and change our lives. Just be the person you’ve been waiting for.

At the end of the day, you have two choices in love – one is to accept someone just as they are and the other is to walk away.

We owe it to ourselves to live the greatest life that we’re capable of living, even if that means that we have to be alone for a very long time.

“Everyone could use a book like this at some point in their life.” – Heather

Let go now