What causes someone to decide to take a leap of faith and completely change the way they are living their life? For some people it’s a no brainer, if something isn’t working you fix it. If you have a leaky faucet, you take care of the leak, saving you trouble in the long run. For others, the sound of the leaky faucet is normal, comforting even. It’s comfortable to stay stuck in a routine, even if everything is crashing and burning around you. Some people choose to stay optimistic that things will eventually turn around. Some people accept change and see the growth potential. Others fear it and see the discomfort of the unknown. What I have learned is that as scary as change can be, the opportunities it opens are far more exciting and the benefits typically always outweigh the negative, especially when it comes to emotional growth.
I was talking to a girlfriend about how I was slowly losing interest in the topic of toxic relationships, how I didn’t feel the need to continuously hate on a certain type of man all the time and didn’t necessarily feel like this was a huge part of my life anymore. She was quick to point out that this was likely because the healing process was working… this hit me straight to the heart. When I looked in retrospect I realized I no longer was the same girl I was even 5 months ago.
Back then I was constantly struggling to find myself, struggling to stand up for myself, and struggling to make any sense to what I was doing with my life. I was a walking train wreck when it came to life and relationships and I was at the end of my rope. I was throwing in the towel when it came to men and I was just going to accept that these were my cards that I was dealt. I found myself drowning myself in emotional band-aids that were not only bad for my physical well being, but also for my emotional well-being. So what made me decide to flip the switch on how I was living my life? Well it wasn’t an easy choice for me, and honestly its been one of the hardest things I have done with myself.
This change was kind of forced upon me in the beginning. I was the girl who hated change, like really despised it. Change was the enemy. I thought I was happy with where I was at in life, and the thought of disrupting the routine I had become accustomed to was not even a blip on my radar. I had a routine down, and I knew what to expect most days. But I was also at a point in my life where people were fed up with my drama, my actions, and my continuous string of bad choices. I think that just about every person that was important to me had made some comment about how I needed to make a some type of change- especially with my choice in men I allowed into my life. While I knew their comments came straight from a place of love, I neglected to take the words of wisdom to heart. Stuck in my selfishness I figured I knew better than everyone else and I had a plan for my life, even if that plan wasn’t panning out at all like I had envisioned. I wanted to control every aspect of my life down to the smallest detail and relinquishing that control was not about to happen. I resisted change, and feared it. I had become comfortable with things, and had accepted my life as it was…
I was about to lose some people in my life who meant the world to me. I was making foolish choice, after foolish choice. I was so unhappy with how my life was unfolding (even though I never would admit it) that I was taking it out on everyone around me. I never thought that the choices I was making in my present were ultimately molding my future. I always thought that everyone else around me was the problem. When I talk about toxic people and the reason I can explain them so well is only because I was one of them. I felt like the world owed me something, and I was constantly looking for others to validate my feelings and to make me feel better. A new relationship? Sure, he would be a good distraction from myself. Oh he’s just as big of a mess as I am? Perfect, I can fix him. I was in a constant merry go round of bad relationships and I never once thought about getting off, until I was so dizzy that I was forced to.
The changes started off small, I started off by cutting out dating all together. Emotionally unavailable men were my drug, and I needed to quit that habit cold turkey. It was time to make myself priority one for once. I needed to really deal with the emotional demons that I was clinging on to for some reason unbeknownst to me. This was eye opening and was to this day one of the hardest things I have had to overcome. I was forced to take a good hard look in the mirror and see myself for who I really was. I had become someone I did not know anymore. Someone I was not proud of, and the choices I had been making for myself only glorified that. I had become a pro at playing make believe. I was living in a fairy-tale land where I claimed I was happy, even though inside I was a mess. I pretended I knew what I was doing with my life, even though I didn’t know what I was even doing with myself tomorrow. The road map of my life had become so confusing that not even siri herself could have navigated it. But by allowing myself to be completely and blatantly honest with myself I could start rebuilding myself into someone who I could be proud of.
The biggest step I took to starting to change things was by asking myself if I would ever want my future kids to have the same life as I was creating for myself. Yes, I had a lot of fun, I had accomplished some huge goals, and I had some amazing friends and my family was always supportive. But slowly I was losing all of that all because I didn’t want to accept that I was my own worst enemy. So in turn, the answer became not a chance! I then asked myself if what I was doing with my life was really fulfilling me in any way other than short term enjoyment? Did I want to live the rest of my life dealing with toxic relationships, living the party girl lifestyle and ultimately wasting time with emotional band-aids that served me no purpose other than wasting weekends and money? Or did I want to find out what made me me, find out what my passions were and pursue those? Could I create a life I could be proud of? I had a friend who I hadn’t seen in years tell me he missed the upbeat positive, fun loving girl who had came in to his life in the middle of a small town in Texas and instantly became important to him. So where was that girl? I had no idea where that girl had gone, but I knew that I was not her anymore. Chains of events had broken her spirit.
Making the decision to change drastic parts of your life is not only daunting, but overwhelming. If you’ve known a certain lifestyle for so long it may seem impossible to start tackling that mountain. I realized that step one for me was that I needed to start getting my priorities in order and stop allowing toxic people to occupy such a huge part of my life. Boundaries needed to be instilled and values needed to be adhered too. I was so tired of feeling defeated, feeling lost, and feeling like I wasn’t living the best life I could be. I took a step back and began to slowly reassess my priorites, my beliefs, and what I wanted out of life. I decided to stop living in the past where I had been hurt by not only other people, but by myself. I chose to start focusing on a future that I could get excited about. I started saying no to things that I had felt obligation to in the past, and started exploring things that I could really be passionate about. What I have come to realize is that as you start to enjoy your own company, your life, and start to find your purpose all the other darkness slowly fades away. Sure, it takes some time to find out what makes you, you. But if you take the time to put as much time and effort into yourself, rather than people who take advantage of you, you’ll slowly start to see everything fall into place.
Taking the steps to making changes has been one of the hardest, yet amazing things I have done for myself. I no longer look for my validation and happiness in others. I have stopped tolerating people who take advantage of my emotions, and started appreciating the people who have stood beside me through the thick and the thin. Mostly I have started to appreciate my relationship with God. The work that He has done in my life is something that has brought joy to my life daily. I cannot even take credit for the work that has been done in my life, all credit goes to Him. By realizing that He never planned a life for me filled with so much hurt and destruction, made it so much easier to let all of those things go. By allowing all of my past anger and resentment to people and to myself fall to the wayside I have come to realize that there is happiness in every day. Perspective is key. It’s easy to get wrapped up in what could have been’s, and our own plans for our lives, that we forget to see the beauty in the life that He has so graciously laid out in front of us. By relinquishing control and realizing that I wasn’t destined to living a life filled with certain men and people who broke me emotionally, I was set free. As I continued to search for that girl I used to be, I ended up finding something so much bigger. I found God. By finding God, I found myself. By finding myself, I found out life doesn’t have to be so daunting. I am in no way perfect and I know that I never will be. I make mistakes daily and there are days I doubt that I have made any changes at all. But what I do try to do is continuously work to better myself every single day. When you make the change to better yourself, you make the change to better your life.