“Honestly I admire you. You’re so wise and know what you deserve and won’t settle for less in every situation, not just relationships. The world needs more women like you.”
My friend said those words to me as I decided to walk away from someone I cared deeply about, someone who didn’t care for me in that same way.
Why is this such an honoring compliment? Why is it that the world needs more women “like me”? Why is it that there aren’t more women in the world who know their worth and know when to walk away from those who don’t positively impact them? Why is it that I deserve recognition for acting the way we all should act?
I haven’t always been this way, though. It was only about a year ago that I learned my worth and understood my importance as a person. It was about this same time that I made a promise to myself to walk away from anyone who doesn’t make me feel important, or makes my feelings seem invalid. I realized I no longer have to feel ashamed for feeling the way I do and I sure as hell don’t owe anyone an explanation for feeling upset or angry.
Within the past year I learned it’s okay to say, “You make me sad and I don’t like the way you’re treating me.” I hid my true feelings for fear of being ridiculed, being called crazy, being called clingy. My feelings were never validated. I longed for someone to accept my emotions, all the good and bad ones, but in the end I was always disappointed. For me, I know it is going to be a battle to find comfort within future relationships because I refuse to be treated in any way that I find undeserving. At times, I worry this reflects unrealistic expectations for a relationship, but why shouldn’t we all share these same expectations when it comes to finding someone who loves every part of you?
Often I wonder why so many of us stay in relationships, and even friendships, that don’t allow us to grow. For so many, it has become force of habit for us to remain in relationships with men and women who don’t fulfill our emotional needs, and even easier in relationships to confuse contentment with happiness. With each day, it becomes harder to walk away from those who hurt us, and we reassure ourselves that things will change; giving a second (or often a tenth) chance means things will eventually work themselves out.
Well, I stopped giving second chances.
Giving someone a second chance doesn’t promise a different outcome. More of us need to let those words resonate in our minds, and learn that if we feel hurt or unsure from one mistake, they shouldn’t be given the chance to hurt us again.
With this new mindset brings a new range of criticism. Why am I so willing to give up on someone who I care about just because they hurt me once? Truthfully, I don’t see the point in continuing to work towards a relationship with someone who hurts me, because down the road I would never want to call that person my boyfriend. For this, I may come across as harsh and unforgiving but I know what I deserve and refuse to settle, especially when this person has created an anxiety of wondering whether or not he will hurt me again.
Looking back now, though, I’m thankful for the many second chances I’ve given. Without giving those second chances I wouldn’t have endured such grueling heartbreaks, or spent nights lying awake wondering if I would be hurt again, essentially wondering if a second chance was a mistake. All of these moments made me stronger. It takes moments of weakness to appreciate and create strength, and if it weren’t for those somewhat wrongful second chances, I wouldn’t have learned that one mistake is enough to see someone’s true colors.
I hope there comes a day when all women and men can find their inner strength to walk away from any relationships where their significant other doesn’t make them feel important. The world needs more strong women (and men). Be one of them.