2016 has been a year of tremendous growth for me and has truly been one of the best years of my life. However, it didn’t start out so great. It actually began horribly. I opened the year experiencing the worst heartbreak of my life (outside of my grandparents passing away) by way of my boyfriend basically leaving me for someone else. This heartbreak brought me all the way to my knees. In one word, it was devastating. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to go anywhere. All I wanted to do was be around my family and, since I live three hours from my family, that’s just what I did. For 3 weekends straight, I went home to be loved on by them. Their love for me brought me back to life and I’m forever grateful for that.
While dealing with the day to day of this breakup, I was in extreme emotional pain and while going through it, all I could think was that I didn’t want to experience it ever again. I knew in order to never experience it again that I had to dig deeper within myself to figure out what got me to this point in the first place. I needed to figure out what was so broken in me that I even allowed myself to stay in such a toxic relationship. A relationship where I knew he wasn’t good for me. I knew he wasn’t in a mentally or emotionally mature enough space to commit to me the way I deserved to be committed to and, yet, I stayed.
I stayed for three long years where I devalued myself for 2 of those 3 years. I allowed my love for him to be greater than the love for myself. I allowed the potential for who I wanted him to be to outweigh who he was in the present. I knew I should’ve left the very first time that I found out he had cheated in 2013, but I stayed. I allowed him to talk me into staying. I was weak to the sweet words he would tell me. I was weak to the way I felt when things were good. And if we are being completely honest, I was weak to the sex. How many of us have stayed in situations for far too long because of at least one of these reasons? Probably all of us, if we are being truthful.
As women, we have so much power, but let others take it away from us because we don’t know our worth. We don’t love ourselves enough to stand up and say “no.” We don’t value ourselves enough to get out of toxic situations out of the fear of having to be alone. Being alone is a good thing. Just because you are alone doesn’t mean you’re “alone.” I wanted my power back…desperately.
Once I reached that conclusion, I really started to take my going to see a therapist seriously. In the black community we kind of shun the idea of going to talk to somebody about what we are going through. We always say that God will fix it and that he wouldn’t put more on us than we could carry. I believe that, but I also believe that he created mental health professionals for a reason. I was serious about getting better mentally and emotionally. I knew I had some hard work ahead of me, but I was ready for it. I was ready to open my heart and my mind to learning more about myself and truly being vulnerable. I found a therapist who believed in God and that I could be completely comfortable with. Finding a therapist you are comfortable with is the most important factor in having a successful experience.
Counseling was one of the best decisions I could’ve made for myself. It helped me to see so many things that I may not have been able to see otherwise. I am able to see how important mental and emotional health are and when those two are out of whack, your decision making will show it. You will end up making decisions that more than likely will hurt you in the long run.
I’ve been single this entire year and it’s been the best decision I could’ve made! I have been able to solely focus on myself. I’ve been able to figure out what it is that I want and need. I’ve found strength in me that I didn’t know I had. At this point in my life, I can honestly say that I am 100% filled with joy and happiness. I fully trust myself now. I trust myself to not settle just because a man sells me a dream. I trust myself to actually be in a healthy, adult relationship without sabotaging it. I trust myself to go with my intuition and not my heart.
Looking back on this heartbreak, I am able to see how necessary it was for my growth as a woman. Because of this one tragic heartbreak, I know I AM a better woman. I am so grateful to have experienced all of this because I learned how to truly forgive someone. I learned how to no longer be the victim in situations. I now know that actions mean so much more than words and I value those whose actions actually match their words. Those are the people I keep around me. I learned how to take every positive that I can from an overall negative situation so that I can grow. I learned what true peace really feels like and I cherish that. I learned to live freely.
In 2016, I found the courage to choose me. I pray that we all have the strength and courage to choose ourselves and to get the help we need when we know we need it. ❤️
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