Over the duration of our lives, we undergo many changes. Some of these changes are small, some are large; some happen in an instant while some happen gradually over time. These changes can be intentional or simply just a reaction that our minds have to our ever-changing situations, completely unconscious and unstoppable. We don't always like the changes or the process it takes to get through them, but ultimately we have to let them happen, even if we decide to revert back to former ways. The only way to learn and gain new perspective is to experience new things: painful things, sad things, things that make every part of you ache and feel like you're missing something so vital and important to who you are. Sometimes the pain is the only thing that can shine a light on the changes that you need to make in order to attain your own peace and happiness.
Going through my first breakup has been so hard for me. We both had held on to something that was too broken to be fixed for far too long, and when the plug was finally pulled, it devastated me. It was so impossible for me to understand; I had never done anything but love him and I knew that even if he wasn't in love with me he still loved me. It was difficult and painful and I cried every day since the first inkling of straight-out trouble, when he started talking to me about how he was thinking about breaking up. Out of respect for both myself and him, I won't go into details. All that needs to be said is that there was no unfaithfulness, and even through our breakup, we have been able to remain extremely close. We still try to talk every day. I mean, really, three and a half years wasn't for nothing. We're both even open to possibilities of trying again in the future, just not anytime soon.
I digress into explanation of my recent heartbreak because this time has been one of introspection and change for me. Some of the changes have happened quickly, and some slowly. The biggest change has really been my decision to focus on making myself the best person that I can be, and for me. Having nobody to tell me how wonderful they thought I was and how pretty and smart and funny... it made me feel very alone for a while. It made me feel like I had a lot of echoes bouncing around in my head that made no sense at all; and I was sad. I hated waking up and feeling unloved. I couldn't stand the feeling of knowing that there was a very good chance that for the first time in years, I may not have someone special around the holidays, nobody to kiss under the mistletoe or dream up nerdy couples' costumes for Halloween with.
After a few weeks of moping and feeling sorry for myself, I decided that I had had enough. I woke up and looked in the mirror and I still saw things I didn't like. My skin was broken out, I was getting really out of shape, and I just didn't have the same kind of happy light in my eyes as I used to. The difference was, I decided to do something about it that day. I put on some shorts and an old tee, pulled on my (mostly unused) walking shoes, put a baseball cap over my ponytail and went for a walk with my dog. I clocked about 1.5 miles that first day. I came home and guzzled a good 2 glasses of ice water and made myself a nice healthy salad for lunch. Then I showered and gave myself a much needed at-home spa day, complete with a manicure, pedicure, facial, and a good marathon of Marilyn Monroe movies on Netflix.
The point is, details aside, I made the decision to start doing good things for me, not for anyone else. Sure, I'm not gonna lie and say there wasn't a little chant of "show him what he gave up" in my mind pushing me through the last half mile of my walk, but at the very core of my motivation was my desire to create a happy and healthy environment for myself, one I could escape to alone and be perfectly content with. For the most part, I've kept it up, although the past week has been nothing but thunderstorms (which are not good for walking.) That instant decision has been the beginning of my healing process, and already I have found so much peace. I'm still in love with him, that's not even something I try to keep a secret; but instead of feeling overwhelming pain and loss at this love, I feel calm and peace.
The breakup also forced me to recognize many of the flaws and issues I had avoided because I thought if I ignored them, they could go away. I now have accepted that in discussions I can become a defensive and opinionated and argumentative, especially if I feel that I am unable to explain myself properly or that someone isn't "getting" my point. It's not a healthy thing in any circumstance, and I have been actively working to try and improve on my vocal communicating (i.e. my writing is better than my speech.) I also know that jealousy is something to be worked on, and I already know that I have improved in that field, as I have been able to adequately express myself.
Besides all of these things, I have been forced to confront my faith, or should I say my reluctance to spend much time thinking about anything having to do with religion or God or the Bible. When I was small, I was Christian, but around age 10 I lost my faith (for personal reasons I will not discuss.) And since then i has been a rollercoaster of me wanting and not wanting, caring and not caring, etc. I have lived a relatively good life, just without accepting Jesus (or anyone for that matter.) My life was lived off of morals I had in my mind rather than ones I had read out of a book (because that's all the Bible was to me for the longest time, just another book) even though they were essentially the same. During the relationship, he had expressed concern for my soul, which confused me and pressured me. I grew to feel resentment for anything to do with God simply because I felt as if I had no choice in the matter. At the same time, I was envious and in awe of his and many of my friends' abilities to have faith and find comfort in God and Jesus. Near the latter days of my relationship but before the split was even mentioned, I was beginning to put real, heartfelt consideration into pursuing a better understanding of God and the plan everyone said he has for me. And I feel as though the breakup itself and my decision to do something for me was the last push I needed to start taking it seriously.
I still do not consider myself a Christian. I think I still have too many questions that I need answers to before I can call myself a follower of Jesus. Still, I have been keeping a daily devotional journal to help me analyze and better understand pieces of Scripture. I have been looking into books and blogs to read that may help give me some insight. I attended a youth Bible study and have been keeping in touch with the youth leader, who has been absolutely wonderful and open to my questions and understanding of where I stand with my faith. I can feel myself getting closer, even if just a fraction of an inch, every day. I am still confused and upset by many things, but that's what learning is for right? To understand and to clarify.
I once read a quote that said "Sometimes it takes a really hard fall to know where you stand." I definitely feel as though this applies to me greatly. It has taken something of a removal (although not really) of one of the biggest pieces of my life to slam me back to reality and make me realize that I have to look out for me and make myself good enough for me. I can't always work to appease somebody else, rather I must always work to please myself. Whether I like it or not, people in my life will always come and go, but I will always be here with me. If everyone else were to fall from the face of the Earth, I would still be around for myself; and I know that I don't want to look in the mirror one day just to find that there isn't a single thing about who I am that I am proud of. I am the most important person for me to impress. I am the only person who has to live with me for the rest of my life.
And if I'm not happy with me, who will be?