There’s a quote I used to live by whenever I entered a new, or sort-of-new, relationship:
“I’ll stop over-thinking when I stop being right.”
If I’m quite honest, I still live by this ominous expression. I say ‘ominous’ because it gives away the ending. The seemingly great relationship will come to an abrupt, ugly end, either due to my overthinking or, as the saying goes, the fact that I was proven right.
Dating has never been easy for a woman like myself. I am a giver to no end. Once I pour my love into someone else, there’s never enough to pour into me. There would be times where I didn’t know how to set boundaries or even know what my own boundaries were. I never took the time to get to know who I truly was and what I wanted in life and in love.
More specifically, I can recall one moment in my life when all I did was fixate on what my partner wanted, needed, and craved. I looked over my partner’s shoulder to view his text messages while he wasn’t looking; and I changed myself, my thoughts and values to fit his. I even went out of my way to be there for him when he never dared to be there for me.
I was in a race against myself for his love and it was exhausting.
Many times I wanted to turn away, but once he flashed that big smile, I fell deeper into a dark, secluded trap. I was beginning to lose and reject myself.
I rejected my natural inner and outer beauty; by spewing hateful words at my reflection in the mirror. I rejected my passions by only focusing on money and status; because they were important to him. I rejected my friends by leaving them in their time of need; because rushing to his aid was more important to me. I rejected my own bubbly personality by becoming more serious and less enthusiastic about the present, and more focused on the future.
In the end, though, a future with him never existed. There were only unanswered texts, phone calls that were sent to voicemail, and half a glass of wine sitting in front of me while I wondered what went wrong. My self worth was depleting with every sip I took.
But there’s something about being at rock bottom. Something that charges your spirit and your willingness to stand and reach for a low hanging vine, to pull you up and out of your own mess.
My low hanging vine just happened to be a green journal. I kept this journal for a long time but never actually put pen to paper. I opened it and began to write five things I liked about myself. The five, short phrases became ten, then twenty, then thirty and soon filled the entire page. I listed what I was grateful for in my life; and a few hand cramps later, I started to breathe, I started to smile and I started to cry.
The love that was wasted on what I thought was the prize, was finally returned to its rightful owner: me.
The foul words that I once spewed into the mirror turned beautiful and sweet. I began to spend more time with my friends and family; and put my passions back at the top of my to-do lists.
I was re-writing my own story and taking back my control. I stopped rejecting the woman who wanted to eat Cheetos on the couch and watch reality television. Instead, I plopped my feet on the coffee table, dug into the cheesy puff snack and indulged. I stopped rejecting the woman who wanted to write, who wanted to go out and dance freely and who wanted to love and be loved.
Instead, I write, I dance and I love and am loved.
I’m not exactly saying your experience will be just like mine. It may take some time to find the strength to pull yourself out of the rock and the hard place we call rejection.
When you feel the need to cry, scream, break and throw things until your heart’s content,
understand your feelings are valid. You deserve more than half-assed love. You deserve beautiful, sweet words. And you deserve cheesy puff snacks on a Saturday, if you wish.
Most importantly, you deserve yourself.
Keep reaching for that low hanging vine, self-love is waiting at the end of it.