Recently, I felt like rolling up into a big ball and dying because of a breakup. I still remember reading the gut-wrenching text messages, quietly crying myself to sleep at night lying beside him, not talking to anyone about my feelings for years, and wishing all the pain would just stop! At times I felt totally numb, almost like I was paralyzed. My overall health was on a downward spiral due to the chronic stress. I was constantly losing sleep and even self inflicting harm just to simply feel something again.
After we broke up, I was forced to step back and see more clearly. Then I understood how I played a huge part in the breakup. Why? Because could finally see that I was not taking care of myself the way I should have been. Also, I attached my ego to my ex, which was a major problem because when he cheated on me, it became more than something frivolous that was just happening... it truly felt to me like he took my self-esteem, self-worth, dignity, voice, and importance away.
The hurt was clouding my vision tremendously. Through the fog of pain it was difficult to see anything lovable about myself anymore. I felt rejected and anxious all the time, so I started chain smoking just keep from having another panic attack. I came to realize that I developed a lot of unhealthy habits just to cope with my ex and I had to learn to love myself again or else I would surely die. It had to begin with me. Like Jill Scott said, "if you want to make a change in this world or your life, start by looking in the mirror."
I still had to love me even if he didn't want to anymore, I still had to be true to myself even if he preferred me to be phony with him, and I still had to make my well being a priority even if it was no longer high on his to-do list. So, I slowly started working on myself again spiritually, physically, and emotionally. I set small goals so I could really try to follow through. I made up positive affirmations about me to stay motivated. I tried to surround myself with more positive, uplifting people. I did nice things for myself. I did nice things for other people. The list goes on and on. There are so many ways that I learned how to love and be happy with myself again, and that's key to sustaining healthy relationships.
RuPaul likes to say, "if you can't love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?" And I say Amen to that! Love does begin inside. Only when you accept who you are, including your flaws, and reach true self-love, can you share it with the others. Take Care.
- Crystal D. Gordon, MSW