“Not all toxic people are cruel and uncaring. Some of them love us dearly. Many of them have good intentions. Most are toxic to our being simply because their needs and way of existing in the world force us to compromise ourselves and our happiness. They aren’t inherently bad people, but they aren’t the right people for us. And as hard as it is, we have to let them go. Life is hard enough without being around people who bring you down, and as much as you care, you can’t destroy yourself for the sake of someone else. You have to make your wellbeing a priority. Whether that means breaking up with someone you care about, loving a family member from a distance, letting go of a friend, or removing yourself from a situation that feels painful — you have every right to leave and create a safer space for yourself.” —Daniell Koepke
“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
“But no. We can give it another chance; I know we can. We just have to try harder…” were my desperate words to him as he was breaking up with me for the second time.
As I am reading those words, out loud, I feel a little sting in my heart. It’s been a while since I revisited this experience and for some reason, it feels bittersweet.
It’s been about nine months since he told me that he didn’t see a future for us, that he felt like he was pretending when he was with me, and that sometimes he just didn’t want to be around me.
But I didn’t hear those words. I heard it, but I thought knew that I could change his mind if I just tried a little harder to convince him that he did want to be with me; he just didn’t know it yet.
I felt beaten when he firmly said, “no.” I was even more devastated after suggesting that we remain friends when he again said that he didn’t think it would be a good idea, since he didn’t think I could handle it.
That’s when I knew it was over and I knew that there was no way in this lifetime that I could change his mind.
A flood of thoughts and emotions ran across my mind and body:
What could I have done that was so horrible that he couldn’t even stand the sight of me anymore? How could I have missed the warning signs during the last three months that we were together? If he wasn’t happy, why didn’t he just say so?
There were countless questions that just would not stop.
I finally realized he’d been telling me all along that he didn’t want to be with me. His actions spoke loud and clear, but I was so involved in trying to change the situation that I didn’t see the reality. And that reality was: He just did not want to be with me.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first relationship that I allowed myself to get lost in. So how in the world did this happen to me? Again?
The idea of being in love happened. That’s what.
I wanted that romance, that fairytale. I wanted to finally know what it was like to be in real. Grown up love and not kiddie, high school love. I wanted all of that.
I was so tired of always being the bridesmaid and never the bride. I was starting to feel like maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for me.
And that scared me.
When I finally woke up from this, I started to ask myself, “Who the hell are you, and why did you allow yourself to go through that?”
I used to think I was this strong, independent woman who knew exactly what she wanted in life and wouldn’t tolerate any BS from anyone.
I was always so proud to list all hundred qualities that my future husband would definitely have, and I told every one that I was never, ever going to settle. I was all talk but never walked the walk.
After much soul searching, I finally had the courage to put my foot down and say enough is enough. That was when the real challenge began.
Who am I again? I don’t even know anymore…
I had to find a quiet spot and re-evaluate me.
I figured out that I’m one person with friends and family but the complete opposite when I’m in a relationship. I try a lot harder to please; I’m less outspoken, less confident, and less of myself. I was scared to let the real me out in fear that maybe they wouldn’t like me.
I was too scared to say no to something that I knew I was against.
I felt like I had to create this façade of someone that was fun, loving, and patient, and what I thought was “perfect” in someone else’s eyes. Not saying that I’m not fun or loving or patient; I just tried too hard to be seen that.
Far enough that I even agreed to hang out with his ex, who he was good friends with, if that’s what he wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, many people are still friendly with their exes and their current significant other is fine with it, but I was never fine with their relationship.
They had a history—friends before dating, four years as a couple, and three years living together. I knew about this from the beginning of our relationship and I was absolutely fine with it.
In my mind, I thought they broke up on good terms and talked to each other occasionally. I didn’t know about the late night phone calls, meeting each other for dinner, going to the vet together when “their” dog had appointments, and the fact that she still had a key to “their” condo.
He made an effort in the beginning and assured me that they were just friends and that I didn’t have anything to worry about, and of course I made myself be okay with it.
I made myself okay with anything if it meant that it would make me the person he always wanted to be with.
What I didn’t realize was that it was slowly killing my spirit.
She always came up in conversation, not because I brought her up, but because he wanted to share his past. I put on a brave face and would listen and laugh at some of the stories, but it made me feel like I had to live up to what they had.
And what I had just wasn’t good enough.
I’ve come a long way from where I was nine months ago. I’m admitting that I have made huge relationship mistakes, but my biggest mistake wasn’t that I tried too hard or that I would’ve given anything for my relationship.
My mistake was not being true to myself—not standing up for myself, not keeping true to my morals, and not loving myself enough to just say no when I wanted to.
I’ve discovered that I am not flawless and that it’s okay to not be perfect. But most importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to love yourself first, and if you have to lower your standards to get the love that you think you want from someone else, then it’s not worth it.
These challenges haven’t been easy but if it’s challenging me to define my true self then why not jump feet first and go all in? I have made a promise to myself that I will love myself first and not be in love with the idea of love.
Sometimes letting go of someone or something is the best thing that you can do for your soul. Write the last chapter and tuck it away. It’s time to start a brand new book.
There have been so many things going in in my life – so many good things! – that I’ve neglected my blog in the process. So here’s all that has happened in my absence! 🙂
Blast From The Past
Recently, my ex contacted me again. The two of us, along with a few other friends, will be participating in an obstacle 5K this weekend. He asked if I wanted to carpool to the race together since the two of us lived fairly close. He didn’t know it’s been almost a year now since I’ve moved to a new house now, nor did I want to tell him that. I’m a polite and courteous person so it was hard for me to simply respond and say, “No.” I mulled over how I would respond and reached out to a close friend who had been a large pillar of support throughout the time following my break up with my ex.
Finally when I responded I was a little bit of a bitch, a little passive aggressive, and most definitely set down boundaries about where the two of us stood moving forward , and lastly of course, I answered his question and told him, “No, I don’t want to carpool. My sister, my boyfriend, and I will be driving down together.” His response to my email came as a surprise because he was so civil and polite. I had expected him to blow up and accuse me of so many things. Instead he simply said, “It’s good to know you are doing well. I will respect your wish to go our own separate ways.” Like I thought, there was more he had to say. The next day he sent me another response, this time a longer one that was not so polite. I contemplated responding to his email but upon a second reading, realized it was not worth my time. His whole email was bashing on me in an attempt to make himself feel justified and to justify his actions in our relationship. In a way, his email was also an affirmation that I did the best I could in the relationship and reaffirmed a lot of the things he was too proud to ever admit in the relationship, for example that he has confidence issues and always loved himself more than he loved me. He closed his email by saying he would respect my desire to not be friends and have no contact (and this was after he had earlier accused me of “shutting him out of my life now that things were looking up for me”) but if I felt differently, I should respond and that he will always care for me and “welcome me back with open arms.” I, of course, did not respond. Why? I’m very happy now and have moved on with my own life, personally, professionally, and relationship-wise. So far since that last interaction, things have been quite and let’s hope they stay that way. I’m glad my ex was able to see that I am no longer the push-over he once thought I was and that I am very outgoing and not afraid to stand up for myself.
My Very Own Day
Another year of service is wrapping up again. Last Friday, our organization had our End-of-Year Service Celebration with lots of food, reflection, and fanfare. A tradition our organization has is to have everyone nominate a Corps member for the Corps Member of the Year award. This award would go to a Corps member who has embodied all the traits of an Idealistic Leader throughout the year (Strive to Be Delightful, Energize Those In Your Presence, Keep Your Eyes On the Prize, Challenge Cynicism, Moccasin the Lives of Others, Learn to Be Grateful, and Have Fun). This Corps member receives a proclamation from the Mayor and that day is proclaimed as their day and an official day to celebrate them and the work they have done.
The afternoon of the celebration, another close friend sends me an email along the lines of, “So, I’m sure your colleagues have presented you with your proclamation by now and I just want to say congratulations and I’m proud of all your hard work.” This close friend works in the Mayor’s office and drafts up many of the documents that the Mayor signs. He did not know I was not yet aware that I had won the nomination for Service Member of the Year. Regardless I am very grateful to have received the award and what makes it even more special is that the proclamation was written by a close friend who knew the work that I did to the extent that I did.
This Sunday my boyfriend and I participated in a scavenger hunt race modeled after the Amazing Race. It was an experience. We had never done this before so had no idea what to expect aside from the fact that we would have to solve 11 out of the 12 hints. Although the two of us were from the Metro area, we had some difficulty figuring out the hints and it took us the full 3 hours to solve all of the hints. We were running all over the four corners of downtown back and forth. Some clues we solved intentionally and others we just happened upon. I think we were both too anxious to think clearly when solving the clues but it was a fun experience.
This Saturday, I will be participating in Warrior Dash, an obstacle course 5K with a few other friends. It should be an experience. I have not been training too hard for this but I think I will be okay. I am expecting to be very tired afterwards. Took a look at the obstacles and the map and so far, I am feeling okay. Going to take advantage of the last few days before the race and do some more strength and endurance training.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” -Edmund Hillary