I almost got married out of high school. He had been in my life since I was fourteen and he was sixteen. We started dating when I was sixteen and he was eighteen and stayed together for three years, with the worlds longest breakup. I feel weird writing about him, like why bring up your ex? I agree it is a little odd, but it is less odd if I tell you that I have only ever been committed to two boys my entire life. My ex and my husband.
Sure I went on a few dates between the relationships and by a few a literally mean, two. I was very independent, stubborn, and extremely bitter towards love after the way things ended with my ex. It is embarrassing to admit all of this to the general public but I am at a point in life were I need to air out my dirty laundry and stop living in the shadows.
Like I said before, things ended very badly with my ex. It wasn’t all him and it wasn’t all me. There are things that I am not proud of, things I’ll always regret, and things that shaped me as a person. The story is boring and a bit of an eye roll but I’ll give you the snippets. I was his first love and he was mine, I was too young for how serious he wanted to be and he was too codependent on me for happiness after having suffered from massive family trauma. We had been together for a couple years when I broke up with him for no other reason then I felt like it was too much, we were too much. He planned out the names of kids and I was applying for colleges. I loved him, but I was eighteen. It was just too much. He gave me a promise ring, a ring that meant I would eventually be engaged to him when I was sixteen, after only six months of dating. I accepted because I was young and impressionable. What sixteen year old girl doesn’t want to be swept off her feet?
Anyways, I ended it my senior by taking off the ring. He of course was devastated and very surprised. Despite the fact that I “ended things” we still hung everyday. There is so much to this story and I really don’t want to get into it all but during this time of “breaking up” he went out with another girl and had very intimate relations with her. It was a gray area, did he cheat or not? From then on it was weird downward spiral. A years worth of trying and failing to get something back that we had lost. After a year, he became engaged to someone else and after that I cut all ties with him. It was too weird to keep flirty texting when he was engaged to someone else.
Nearly a decade later I can look back at all this and realize all the bad habits I possesed during that time. I was so young and immature, I barely knew who I wanted to be and keeping myself in that toxicity wasn’t right.
I have learned so much over the last ten years, I am so far removed from the person I used to be. As must of us are, I’m sure. I find myself sorting through old memories lately and noticing all the negativity I poured into myself.
I told you this story tonight so you could get a glimpse of who I used to be. I have grown and changed so much that I don’t recognize that young girl inside me anymore. I am still fairly young, 29, but sometimes, I feel like a wise old willow tree.
With all of that said, I wanted to share with you the negative habits I have broken in the last ten years. Habits that we all have, habits that destroy our hearts, minds, and bodies.
I know I am not alone in this, so if you find yourself struggling with any of these habits I encourage you to break them, because I promise you’re worth more then negativity.
- Telling yourself you are ugly, not as pretty as that person, would be better looking if… SERIOUSLY JUST STOP. You are you and you look like you. Learn to accept it, embrace it, own it, because CONFIDENCE is the most attractive quality.
- Stop telling yourself you aren’t good enough. Good enough for who or what? Think about this, if there is someone in your life that you feel you aren’t “good enough” for, then they are not good enough for you or you need to stop and reflect on the relationship you have with that person. Do they ever show or tell you that you aren’t good enough? If yes, then walk away. If no, then open your eyes and see that they love you for YOU. JUST. THE. WAY. YOU. ARE.
- Forgive. Forgive others. Forgive yourself. It is the hardest thing to do but holding on to pain only hinders you.
- No more living with regret. “Regret is a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming yourself for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been, or wishing you could undo a previous choice that you made. If there is an opportunity to change the situation, regret—while painful to experience—can sometimes be a helpful emotion. The pain of regret can result in refocusing and taking corrective action or pursuing a new path. If you have an addiction, regret can be a motivator to give up a harmful substance and live healthier.” ~Psychology Today
- Stop living with guilt. Guilt can be helpful when it keeps you from intentionally harming others or violating deeply-held values. Excessive guilt, however, can cripple us and take the joy out of life—not letting you enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
- No more all-or-none thinking. From panic to low self-esteem, from perfectionism to hopelessness…
- Overgeneralizing- believing that if you fail at one thing you fail at all things. The classic, ” I suck at this.” — Random tangent, I used to (and sometimes still catch myself slipping up) say this to myself ALL THE TIME. The best example I can give is art. I am terrible at art, it is not my strong suit at all. Well here is the kicker — my whole life I said “I suck at art” or “I can’t draw” etc. Because I thought this and told myself, FOR YEARS, that I was not an artist I limited myself. If I can’t draw that must me mean that I suck at ALL art right? No. When I finally opened myself up to the world of art I realized something, simple yet profound. Just because I am not good at drawing doesn’t mean I am not an artist. Guess, what I got my degree in? Photography. I took creative writing classes, graphic class, film training… I AM AN ARTIST – just not the pencil and paper type. SO STOP OVERGENERALIZING – you will close off doors.
- Be thankful, as hard as it may be, find something to be thankful for everyday. Not practicing gratitude is very dangerous for your mental help. You get stuck in the “whoa-is-me-tail-spin.” Believe me I know I have struggled with angry, depressive thoughts my whole life .
- Lastly, allow for some grace. We are not perfect people we will break and un-break these habits all the time. So allow yourself a moment to dust off and try again.
Well you guys, that is my little spiel. I hope you can understand where I am coming from. I want people to break free and be aware of what brings down there mental health. I know for me, while I still have my problems. being AWARE of them has done wonders for my state of being. And, you know what? I feel better and enjoy my life a whole more.