At the end of the summer, my boyfriend left me for another woman. After I spent six weeks abroad visiting friends and family, the man who I loved and trusted betrayed me.
At first, I struggled helplessly to put our relationship back together. Maybe he would change his mind. Perhaps we could stay friends. I threw myself into denial because the truth made me feel so much pain. I grasped for pieces and tried to rebuild, but it all fell apart.
I can’t rebuild the relationship I had with him, but I can begin to rediscover the relationship I had with myself, without the crutch of a companion to feel complete. Who had I become after all of these years in a relationship?
After a breakup the space we once reserved for a relationship opens up a void in our lives. The nights full of conversation, love, and laughter fall silent.
In the silence, what do you hear?
A lot of pain comes to the surface. I feel afraid to go out or open up to new people. One second I want to curse the world in anger, and the next drop to my knees in despair. When someone so close to you chooses another person, how can you feel worthy of love? How is she better than me? How do I recover my self-worth when the one I trusted with my heart chose someone else over me?
Many of us face this moment of truth in our lives when we must take time to be and feel alone; to rest in that loneliness and find comfort within it. At first we fear the solitude, especially during vulnerable moments. We may try to escape it by quickly jumping into another relationship or filling our time with busy activities and distractions.
Don’t rush into filling the void that opens after a breakup. Instead, take time to heal and focus on self-rediscovery.
Time alone forces us to take a good, hard look at ourselves. What do I see when I look into the mirror of truth? What do I need to face within myself that I avoided when I had a companion? Can I stand on my own and still feel complete?
Unfortunately, the process takes time and brings up a lot of painful emotions: bitterness, grief, embarrassment, rage, insecurity. Rather than fighting how I feel or filling that time with busy activities, I allow these emotions to surface, giving me space to properly heal. I face the hard truths about myself and some of the bad habits I have developed.
Heartbreak shatters our way of thinking and forces us to receive powerful lessons. In moments of reflection, I realize the ways I compromised myself for the sake of feeling loved.
I’m sure we’ve all done it. I look around and see many people, especially women, who endure toxic relationships and remain trapped in a cycle of love and abuse. We put up with so much, constantly making excuses for our partners, blaming ourselves, and compromising our value.
In retrospect, I realize that deep down I knew something wasn’t right with our relationship. I believe we all know it on some level; that little voice inside telling us that something doesn’t fit. Often we ignore it, and yet that intuition provides one of our best tools for navigating life. We must not forget to listen to our instincts when something is wrong, step back, and reevaluate our self-perceptions and self-worth.
So what did I learn from all of this?
Love doesn’t work like a line in a movie saying, “You complete me”. Two people don’t complete each other when they fall in love. Two people must first feel whole on their own in order to sustain a truly healthy, happy, lasting relationship.
It takes a great deal of strength and maturity to recognize that even when we feel a powerful emotional connection with someone, that doesn’t necessarily equate to a healthy relationship between two compatible people. That kind of wisdom only comes through feeling confident with ourselves on our own.
After many months of deep mourning, I emerge feeling stronger. I channel the negative emotions into uplifting energy. I realize, better now than later. Better now that I realize the true character of this person before wasting more time with him.
With time, I regain inner faith and confidence. I start the day with positive affirmations. “Today is a beautiful day. I am a beautiful person. Beautiful things will come my way”.
My healing energy gently invites new opportunities while releasing that which no longer serves me. New friends come into my life. Exciting career opportunities manifest. I buy a ticket to travel in India for a month. In the meantime, my ex-boyfriend, who didn’t appreciate me before, suddenly contacts me out of nowhere. Yet now I feel strong enough to go forward on my own, with gratitude, in new, positive directions.
Without seeking a relationship, I strive to build a sense of wholeness on my own. Time alone rewards me with the confidence to stand on my own. It also grants me the opportunity to develop the strength and self-discipline to walk away from someone who doesn’t make me a healthier, happier version of myself.
I encourage those who relate to me to take the time to stand alone in order to discover your worth. Love doesn’t depend on others. We must learn to feel love from within rather than looking outwards to find someone who completes us.
American born, but a citizen of the world, with a commitment to life experience, Allison Michelle Dienstman is a lover of language, travel, music, cooking, dance, and spirituality. Allison graduated from the College of William & Mary with a B.A. in Chinese Language and Literature and minor studies in Spanish and Italian. Currently, she works as a freelance writer and marketing strategist for various projects.
For more of her writing, visit her professional website, (www.amdienstman.com) or visit her blog at (http://olivevintage.net/), (https://www.facebook.com/olivevintage), or(https://twitter.com/olive_vintage).