Men are a different breed, they operate differently (and usually slower) than us, but there are good ones out there. They aren’t all bad, they’re just.. different. The point of this isn’t to bash men. The point of this is to help you through the unfortunate lesson you are in the middle of learning.
Every single person at some point in their life has found themselves in a relationship that left them feeling stupid. We gave too much. We were used. We ignored the obvious signals that something bad was happening. We silenced the voice inside telling us to get out. We’ve all done it. Somehow it’s so easy to let it happen. We’ll spend hours calling out our friends on the stupid choices they make while we make our own. We know what we’re doing is wrong but we do it anyways. Why? Because some lessons we just have to learn firsthand and we have to learn them the hard way.
When the moment of collapse comes along, when the reality of how we compromised too much of ourselves for another slaps us in the face (and it always does), nothing feels worse. It hurts so much more than any other kind of break up because when you gave up a part of yourself, you lost it forever. Everything you poured into someone else will come rushing back to you in floods of memories and secret moments, but the person never does. And most of the time we knew this was going to happen. Maybe it was nothing in particular that they said or did, but there was an undeniable feeling for quite sometime that this was how it would all end. For all the good you felt, it’s scary to think you’ll never feel it again. But I don’t know that you should. Some highs are as high as they are because of how low you fell before it. You can tell yourself a million times that an angel with a smile like that couldn’t be the devil in disguise, pulling you into to something you shouldn’t be, but we all lose our balance sometimes. And at the end of it all, you usually find that the worst part of it isn’t losing them, it’s losing yourself.
So what do you do at the collapse? Collapse. There is no point in fighting it. Feelings demand to be felt, one way or another. Let yourself feel every way you need to. Maybe you put a time limit on it eventually, “I’ll only think of him at night,” and eventually you might stop thinking of him so frequently too. The trouble with real love though is you never really stop loving someone; one day you just stop needing them like you used to. And when that day comes, you do the single most important thing you can ever do for yourself. You make a promise. A promise to yourself that you will never again lose yourself to another.
Because real love helps us to develop into who we are and who we are trying to be. Real love betters us, challenges us and encourages us. Are they helping me to be the best version of myself? If not, revisit your current feelings. Let yourself feel awful now so you can remember this misery and avoid feeling this way again. Sometimes it happens more than once, but when you truly experience the cost of losing yourself and decide to never let that happen again, it’s actually pretty difficult to let it happen again.
How do we learn what real love is, so we can avoid this happening again? Start in your safe relationships. Your family. Your good, pure friendships. I learned about real love from my girlfriends. My sisterhood out in California is the most precious thing in the world to me because it was build upon pure, selfless love. The most frequent theme in our house is, “How can I help ____ to be the best version of themselves?” There is no selfish motivation, just genuine support. Identify these relationships in your own life and cling tightly to these people. Strive to build new relationships that function in this way. If you can learn this lesson at 20, you’ll be lightyears ahead of the rest of us.
I hope I am one of those relationships to you. If not, don’t depend on it. If I am, use me to lift you up. Just because someone wants to say some terrible things about you, it doesn’t mean you have to believe them. Just because someone wants you to feel like you aren’t good enough, it doesn’t mean you have to believe them. And just because someone wants to pull the rug out from under you and take away everything you’ve worked hard to become, it doesn’t mean you have to let them.
Here for you always because you are wonderful to me, you are good enough for me, and I believe in the woman you are becoming.
Sisters are forever.