12 Steps Back

After my recent break up with a long time “on again, off again” love interest, I moved back into my childhood home with my parents. Months ago I had so much planned, and this was not the future I had in mind. I was dreading this move not only because I was moving back in with my 60 year old parents, which is a demon of its own. But because I am 26 years old, and I am supposed to be moving forward with my life, not back. As I drove closer and closer toward Upstate New York, I felt smaller and smaller. How could it come to this? I was living on my own for many years, most recently living with my now ex-boyfriend. Things were a little tense, but we were happy; I thought. And I was beginning the search for career employment; optimistic yet being unsuccessful for months. Now it was over, I was a failure.

After about a week of post-breakup eating (or lack thereof) and subpar hygiene, my ex-boyfriend and I decided to make an attempt to salvage our relationship. [Believe me, I know some of you are internally screaming. And yes, it was as bad as you’d expect]. I was instantly happy again. I booked a flight out to see him for a few days, and things went well… for about a week or two. Then the imminent demise began. Much like during the length of our relationship, when things were good, they were fantastic. But when things were bad, my day was ruined. Not only did I already blame myself for everything, but he also had no problem pointing fingers and casting blame. He was taking advantage of my ability to love unconditionally. I took me a couple more weeks to realize that all the lies, the cheating, the pain weren’t worth the tears. Mr. “Blackhole for a heart” and I are no longer together.

This wasn’t the first time I experienced a relationship like this. I have noticed a pattern in all my past relationships. I give and give to try and make that person love me, so maybe I could eventually be happy and love myself. Unfortunately, other than loving me, my partners tended to love themselves and the beds of other women more. I was constantly looking for these relationships. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t jump from relationship to relationship. But I was always left feeling empty until the next love interest came along. When I was single I felt alone, I was miserable; a failure. But when I was with someone, I felt as though I had a purpose. My happiness depended on my value and worth in the eyes of others.

This realization is what started my devoted journey to self-love. I am not a failure, I’ve just been self sabotaging by putting my cherries in the wrong buckets. I, like I’m sure many of you, have so much love to give. I’ve been giving all of that love to the wrong people. I want to have a sense of comfort when I’m alone, my happiness come from things that build me up rather than tear me down, and my worth dependent on no one but myself. I want to fully love myself in order to move forward.

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