When it came to my relationships, I rejected advice that wasn’t in line with what I wanted to hear. I sought out the cute quotes that justified me staying when I should have left. I held on to how things used to be and ignored what they became. I recycled images of what I wanted for my relationship, because dammit, if we could just fix (enter random problems here) we’d reach our potential. But you know what hurts more than letting go? Holding on.
Most of us have had a family pet at some point in our lives. My family had Taz, a hamster, and I would soon find out how short their life spans were. In about 2-3 yrs time, he died. I'll spare the details on the sad day, but we took him to the vet and he never came back. If you can’t see where I’m headed with this, the point is: you don’t keep dead pets. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why I didn’t get to take the day off for the tragedy that had struck our family. This was the first of many lessons coming my way:
1. The world stops for no one.
2. Learn to cope or life will suck.
Most relationships end long before they’re actually called off…at least in my case. We stay in them because we’re comfortable, hope for improvement, or the history we shared. After all, do we really want to throw away all those years? But think about this for a second… has growth ever come from comfort zones? -- I’ll wait. Hope, when placed on the wrong people and situations, is crippling. Take all that hope you have and place it in yourself because at the end of the day the only person you can control or change is you. History should never keep you from bettering your future. We have a tendency to let the good memories overshadow the bad ones. Remember BOTH; they shaped you and will always be a part of you. But no amount of history can measure up against the rest of your life! Few things in this world are easy, but the challenges we face, the days that almost broke us, are the most rewarding if we can just get through them.
Heartbreak, loss, and rejection are all components in the dating world and game of love. Sometimes the people we love don’t love us back. Whatever the reason was for your relationship ending, I ask that you love yourself more. Be strong enough to find your equal. Don’t settle for someone that you know doesn’t deserve you because you find purpose in fixing them up. Don’t beg for someone’s love, or ANYTHING for that matter, that should be given freely. You –-reading this right now-- are whole all on your own. Anyone you meet should be an extension of your happiness but not the source. To place the responsibility of your happiness on the shoulders of another is unfair and selfish. I don’t want someone to tell me they can’t live without me. Maybe its not as romantic, but I’d rather hear “Hey, I can live without you. But we’ve got a good thing going here so let’s see where it takes us.” Co-dependence is not healthy.
When I had my daughter, I thought about mending the romantic relationship with her father. How much nicer and easier it would have been to raise her under one roof and be a perfect family. I had to let go of my definition of family and my idea of perfection. At the end of the day, there wasn’t a mutual love between her father and I. I didn’t want my daughter to grow up with that as her example of love. It was hard being a single mother, but I have never regretted that decision. Letting go doesn’t mean forget about everything, but it does mean moving on. Let go of the idea of how things should be and accept who you are, where you are, and how you are. Letting go is the first step in allowing ourselves to heal. In this day and age that might mean stop checking your ex’s Instagram account or relationship status on Facebook. Letting go means stop blaming yourself. If someone leaves or cheats, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Letting go means setting boundaries and standing up for yourself.
I challenge you to make a list of everything you struggle to let go of. Next to that, write why. Does this person or thing define you or how you view yourself? Be honest. Write down the pros and cons of having this person/thing in your life. Chances are, you’ve been measuring your worth all wrong. And before anyone else sees it, you have to see it. With every relationship that ended, I discovered something new about myself. The more I discover, and deeper I dig, the more I love the woman I’m becoming. So in the same breath I use to curse even my shittiest relationships, I thank them (from a distance) for the lessons.