Reminiscing on Love Lost

You guys know this story well enough from me: breaking up sucks. I never much thought about how much it would hurt while I was in my relationship with X, but now I know. It is even worse when you’re still in love with the person and you realize you need to break up. It’s not always because you’re not in love anymore, you know?

A dear friend of mine is on the verge of sparking her relationship again with her ex (for the ninetieth time), and though many can see how perfectly wrong he is for her, I also understand where her mind is right now. I’ve been there. I considered getting back with X, remember back to some of my May posts? For some reason though I saw the errors of my thinking before I acted, thought better of why we broke up to begin with, and decided to look towards my future as a strong individual rather than depend on someone else for my happiness. I moved on. Now I am the most independent I have ever been, I love my life entirely, and I am surrounded by fantastic people who tell me my worth daily. It  amazes me to look back and reminisce on the love I’ve lost and the loves I’ve gained…

It started with me dating the “perfect” guy. He was kind, sweet, funny, and charming — essentially everything I could have wanted in a guy. Let’s not forget to mention he was my best friend and my most loyal confidant going on four years. We meshed so well.

The first couple of years we were constantly laughing, cuddling, watching fast car movies, and making Pinterest dinners together. We had a total blast. His imperfections were endearing to me and I was completely and utterly in love.

I spent a lot of my free time from schoolwork planning our future together, both in my head and out in the open. I mused at wedding plans and where we might live post-graduation. I thought about the future more than I lived in the present. I played the love-smitten girl well.

It wasn’t until we became engaged that I began to see our relationship in an entirely different light. Have you heard that expression that women marry a man thinking he will change and men marry a woman hoping she won’t? In retrospect, I think this is where my mind was. I found myself trying harder and harder to connect with X on our differing views. I started to become weary. I started to become cynical. I kept thinking that it was just a hiccup in our relationship due to “wedding stress.”

Until one day, it hit me: this was not just a hiccup. X and I were different. Too different. We wanted different things in life, we held different expectations of how life should be. As this revelation overcame me, I knew in my heart that we had always been different. The faults in him I once found endearing now ate at me. The way he allowed his mother to treat me, his constant pressure to move the wedding date later, his decision of no longer wanting children, his lack of interest in applying himself at school or work, his obsession with pornography… these had created a distance between us, a chasm that was widening at an alarmingly rapid rate.

In the same way, I could tell I was getting on his nerves as well. The job I took following graduation did not meet his standards of pay, I was becoming more extroverted as I aged, I wanted to step up our faith values, and I openly criticized his mother — I mean, for good reason but I do realize now that I was putting down his mom, the main women in his life since he was born. It didn’t seem I was a good match for X.

I was exhausted from attempting to reach over this gap in our relationship with no bridge to help. I tried to toss him a rope, but there was no one on the other side of the chasm to catch it. I was no longer growing in this relationship, and neither was he.

Then one day I thought, I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore.

That thought made my heart sick. Here I was with a beautiful ring on my finger telling the whole world how happily in love I am and strutting around with more wedding Pins than should be allowed on a profile, but I knew I couldn’t move forward.

It wasn’t fair to either of us.

But I was so torn.

X was still, with all his faults, my best friend of over eight years. I cared deeply about him. I loved him. I bounced around a lot of feelings and thoughts: Maybe we can get through this. Maybe he will change. I can’t live without him in my life. This is because the hardest part of breaking up with someone you love is convincing yourself that you need to do it in the first place. I knew in my heart this decision was for the best, but I couldn’t face the looming levels of pain I expected to consumer me if went ahead and called off the relationship.

To this day, our break up is not one of which I am proud. I wish I could have handled it a million different ways. With months worth of bottled anger at my expectations not being met, though, it’s no wonder I handled things the way I did. (Word of advice: communicate. Always. Don’t save your words for an end-all fight.)

In the aftermath, I felt like a criminal for my behavior. Not only did I feel shame, but I lost a piece of myself in that break up. I lost my closest companion, my Good Morning and Good Night texts, all my crazy inside jokes. I lost four years of my life and what I thought was my entire future. I was intensely lonely and distraught. A song on the radio, his favorite drink being ordered by your bar neighbor, or a simple note hidden away in a book suddenly brought back all those memories of the good times.

I felt crippling doubt as well. For months following I would have the urge to text X about my day, to share a happy moment or ask for advice on a tough subject. It was like reliving the break up over and over again. There were weeks I couldn’t eat, months I couldn’t sleep.

And then… I realized that the way I felt was totally normal. Sometimes the right decision is the most difficult. Neither side was willing to compromise our ideals for the future meaning we truly were not meant to be. The reality versus our expectations was crushingly plain. I couldn’t fix my feelings, but I had already fixed what I could by ending my broken relationship. I know now that it was the best decision for myself, and I can move forward knowing I had a wonderful first love which opened my eyes to relationships in my future. I now know what I want and what I deserve.

And I have to hope X will be as happy and understanding of what our time together meant someday as well.

Breaking up with someone you love is terrible, and it’s scary. It is necessary, however, to be able to move into a happier stage of your life. I want everyone, especially my friend, to know this: it is easy to think you’re the only one going through a rough break up when you’re heartbroken, but you are not alone! So let your heart mourn, but have faith that better things are right around the corner.

10 Reasons I’m Happy

Happiness.

It’s the term I most often use when asked what I am looking for in life. A loving partner, a meaningful purpose, a high-paying job, and endless world travel are also some things that come to mind, however all of these are means to that ultimate end: happiness.

It seems to me that a lot of people would answer this same way, and upon thinking about the things that make me happy and talking with those around me, I’ve compiled a list of traits which bring out genuine happiness in people.

1. Belief in a greater meaning to life
Whether you believe in a specific religious belief or a spiritual ideal, the fact that you in something seems to matter in terms of happiness. To me, religion provides a personal creed, a direction in life, and a sense of purpose which allows me to know that once my time on earth is over I will have further meaning.

2. Do not take material objects for true wealth
Money is the root of all types of evil, right? For people who are genuinely happy, material objects are not the only purposes to life. I’m not denying that happy people don’t need money to exist, and that working a job which earns you money is not important. What I am saying is that when it comes down to it, money does not dictate happy peoples lives. Though I am sensible with my earnings, I will never let money or possessions prevent me from pursuing a passion.

3. Love themselves for who they are
I am far from being egotistical, but it truly is important to be comfortable with your own abilities to truly be happy. Even if you continuing to work in certain areas, always accept and embrace yourself in every manner possible. Keep true to yourself and don’t delve in what some may define as weakness.

4. Relationships are not the basis to life
If you’ve ever read my blog, you know that my relations with those around me help turn my world. The saddest time in my life was when I let the presence or absence of someone determine my well-being. Since I’m come to the realization that relationships are an extension to my life rather than a basis, though, my happiness level has soared. I am content with myself, and my friendships are simply an extension of that self-content. I no longer look for people to fill voids in my life or to help me feel a certain way. Instead, I surround myself with people who bring out the characteristics in myself that I like, and I can be happy with knowing that’s enough.

5. Welcome change
Some people cannot even switch from Windows 7 to 8 without a major breakdown. So it’s important to remember that life is a constant lesson with suggestions and criticism being thrown around continuously. You will be a much happier person when you welcome all of life’s random happenings and approach them with consideration and respect, rather than defensively.

6. Figure out own solutions and direction
I have never been afraid of change, but I think I genuinely became happiest when I began to operate under the realization that change starts from within. I have tried so many different mantras and practices for making my life better, and though some may not have became part of my daily routine, the act of consciously deciding to support and attempt them was enough to give me direction and goals for awhile. It’s a case of free will and the fact that I was able to make such decisions increases my happiness.

7. Do not compare themselves to others
Jealousy is not a good thing, guys. Everyone has something different and exciting to offer the world, and when you finally decide to embrace your own talents and specialties you will be so much happier! I am a HUGE perfectionist and tend to compare myself to others quite often. However, I can attest that when I come out of my slump and recognize all I can accomplish myself, my heart feels surprisingly light.

8. Victor, not a victim
Nothing makes me angrier than hearing a person complain about the injustices done to them. I mean, we all go through unexpected break-ups and failures in the workplace. Some of us even experience more serious issues. However, what good does it do to dwell on these things? Being a victim does not strengthen you! Receiving sympathy does not strengthen you!

9. Live in the present
To me, there is no point in reminiscing about the past and fantasizing about the future. I mean, yes, I find myself doing it. A lot. But really, what can I do about either when I’m living right here, right now, in the present? I prefer to realize this fact, and use it as motivation to make the most out of my life. It’s much easier and healthier to live in the present — you can focus on what is happening at hand rather than worrying about regrets from the past or concerns over the future.

10. Engage in purposeful activities
Nothing makes me happier than doing something I love and I know has meaning. Whether that mean I love my job, I’m participating in a volunteer opportunity, or I’m simply sitting down and writing a blog post, I’m happy. So it’s simple; find something you genuinely enjoy doing and do it!

I find myself being happier every day I live. I am surrounded by loving and caring people, I enjoy my work and free time activities, and I strive to be the best person I can to help move that happiness forward. Everyone has bad days, but mine seem to be rare and far between. I am so eternally grateful and humbled.

Do any of these characteristics play a part in your own happiness? I find it amazing how different people can be but yet how similar as well. The world is a big place, but when you stop to think about simple matters (such as what makes you happy) then the world can become a bit smaller.