It’s Not Supposed To Hurt
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book. This portion, in particular, comes from a chapter on having the courage to choose yourself and healing your heart.
I’ve been in the repetitive cycle when I could count on disappointment and felt at fault for everything. He is never going to suddenly change and choose you. It’s on you to choose you. I know this is a lot easier said than done, but love is not supposed to hurt. Love is not supposed to hurt. Love is not supposed to hurt.
I’m still working through some of my own desire to dive into a old habits, but I’m in a much happier place now than I was when I was deeply invested in that relationship. The girl that ran the show when I was in that relationship is not who I am now. She was hurt, sad, confused, and constantly searched for some validation from him. I look back on her and have so much love for her heart. She tried so hard, gave up so much of herself to make that relationship work. She was doing the best she could. She was doing the best she could with a limited set of beliefs. Those beliefs sounded something like this:
He said he wanted to marry me, so I need this to work.
He said he loves me, so this must be what romantic love feels like.
I should be in a relationship because everyone else is. This is how life is supposed to happen.
There’s something wrong with me if I’m single.
There’s something wrong with me if I make him mad.
Our values are radically different, but I can tone down some of mine to make him feel more comfortable.
He’s busy, of course he doesn’t want to spend time with me.
My face quickly falls into my hands as I read those thoughts back to myself. There was so much pain and shame throughout the years we spent together. I frequently felt that I did something wrong and should always be apologizing. If you can see yourself in those words or you know what that pain feels like, I hope you’ll read your own name as I write this letter…
Girl, this isn’t worth it anymore. I know you love him and I know you’ve given yourself away to make him stay, but I need you back. I want you to live a life that makes you laugh each day and feels so good you can’t believe it could be true. I want you to look around at your life and feel gratitude for what you have created. When you spend more time feeling sad than you do happy, it’s time to move on. This life is far too short to spend your time hoping someone will come around and give you all the things you’ve been waiting for when the right person will show up for you in ways you don’t even expect. I write this letter to you now as the happiest version of myself I have been in years. I’m also writing this as a single woman. I thought single and happy were mutually exclusive for far too long. I can stand here today, in this place I’ve created for myself, and know that every decision I’ve made has brought me to this moment. I am happy. I am proud. Most importantly, I am grateful. I learned how to choose me after years of doing the exact opposite. I know the value of listening to my gut and following my soul. Was it easy? No. But it was worth it.
Your heart already knows what will make you happy. The challenge is in releasing all the fears, worries, and people-pleasing beliefs you’ve been raised to believe in order to be truly happy. I don’t want you to spend another night crying yourself to sleep. I don’t want you to stare at another text from a silly boy who thinks he knows you better than you know yourself, crying out to the universe to explain why this one didn’t work. I don’t want you to keep track of each time your heart was hurt and use it as further proof that you should just give up on relationships because it’ll never work anyway. I don’t want you to carry weight you didn’t do anything to gain on your own shoulders because you think it was all your fault.
You didn’t do anything wrong, sweet girl. The pain you’re carrying so close to your heart is like carrying an umbrella on a sunny day – it’ll keep you safe from the possible burn, but your skin deserves to feel the warmth of the sunlight. You are so smart and so strong and so beautiful. You have no reason to feel the shame you’re feeling. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s okay to release your grip on the past. Have faith in what’s to come. Your life is still ahead of you. Some of your most beautiful days are still ahead of you. But, right now, I need you to take my hand and let me heal your heart. We can work through this together. Happiness is not so far away, my dear. Step out from the shade and feel the sunlight.
I’m right here.
I’ve got you.
Take my hand.