Relationships

I Quit The Relationship… So Why Do I Feel Guilty?

September 21, 2017

Guilt. It’s a powerful emotion. Its an emotion that is so overcoming and so all- consuming that it’s easy to get lost in. Guilt is huge when it come to toxic relationships. It is one of the major factors in why some people stay in bad relationships long past expiration dates. The guilt of hurting the other person’s feelings, the guilt of walking away when you’ve finally have had enough, or even the guilt of putting up boundaries and actually sticking to them, are all enough to cause negative feelings that can end you back up in the same relationship you know is not good for you. When you’re stuck in a toxic relationship cycle it’s so easy to lose who you really are, lose your sense of boundaries being more than trampled on, and even lose your sense of self-worth. I don’t think that people necessarily know how it feels until you really experience the emotional roller coaster that comes along with the hot and cold nature of a bad relationship. One day he likes you, the next you’re nothing. One minute he’s telling you he loves you, the next he’s making you feel like you’re the worst person in the world. The intensity from one emotion to the next is what some may call passion, some may see as normal, and some may see as just plain toxic.

So why do we allow guilt to consume us while we are working on distancing ourselves from toxic people? Why do we let guilt take over as we are removing ourselves from toxic relationships all together? Why do we feel guilty for putting ourselves first for once and saying no? And why do we allow a man who doesn’t respect us, to consume such a huge aspect of our lives?

For me it was always hope. Naïve optimism is what I have now come to call it. The hope that one day he would change. That one day he would become the prince charming that I had always knew he could be, if he just dug down deep into himself. I had projected the man I wished he would become into a future that potentially could be, but likely would not ever be. I was living in a fairy-tale land where reality and fantasy, were two different stories. I hoped that if I just stayed a little longer, bent this boundary just one more time, or continued to hold on to what we had, eventually he would come around and would turn into the man that I saw the potential he could be… But eventually every girl gets pushed to her breaking point. The devastating point where reality sets in and everything around her begins to come crumbling down. She is forced to come face to face with the reality that this man isn’t who she has projected him to be. That the way her feelings are continuously taken for granted isn’t normal and she has to start to instill boundaries. Eventually she even knows she will have to start the process of exiting the relationship all together, that things can’t go on like this. She is forced to choose herself for once. Cue the initial sting of guilt that plagues her after the initial break-up “I’m better off without him” high has worn off.

The high that comes along with standing up for yourself is sadly, usually short lived after you’ve ended a toxic relationship. The guilt for potentially hurting his feelings come flooding in faster than you can even imagine. You may start to feel guilty for standing up to him, for cutting him off, or for walking away completely. Why do we feel this way? After struggling with this battle for years I came to realize it was always because I didn’t love myself enough to realize that the boundaries I halfheartedly instilled should have never been crossed. Somewhere along the roller-coaster ride of a so-called relationship, his feelings had somehow become priority one. I had put this guy on a pedestal where what he thought, and how he felt, mattered more than I did. The moment boundaries were crossed the first time, was the moment that I should have said goodbye. When they were continuously crossed over and over, and my feelings were continuously taken advantage of I should have simply walked away. But instead I allowed the guilt I felt towards him to push my feelings to the side once again. My emotional investment kept me in a place where I allowed his feelings to come first, and in turn, right back up on the pedestal he went.

The guilt that had been ingrained into my mind was just a natural reaction to every other fight I ever had with any of the toxic relationships that I allowed to come into my life. He would do something that took advantage of my feelings for him, I would get upset, and he would make me out to be a crazy person for apparently over reacting. The guilt would set in for standing up for myself and I would give back in to him. My lack of a backbone when it came to guys I cared about was a weakness. I would always be scared that he would leave me, he would end things with me, or he would say something hurtful and all my self-esteem issues would come flooding in. I couldn’t handle the rejection so I would do anything to get us back to the place where we were “normal.” I would let way too many things slide. My fear of being alone allowed men who didn’t really care enough about me to really care, take advantage of my emotions. I guess in all reality, I allowed it because I didn’t have a strong enough sense of self worth to say a solid no. This is every emotionally unavailable man’s weapon. His lack of empathy and lack of genuine feelings towards you are made clear in this moment. He knows he can manipulate your feelings to make you feel like it is your fault for whatever had just happened, and you unfortunately start to believe him.

Every time you start to feel like you did something wrong, you start to lose a little bit of your self worth. Every time you start to lose a little bit of your self worth, the more control he starts to have over you. You stay in the relationship because you have created these excuses in your mind that aren’t true. You start to think that maybe he is right, maybe you are crazy. Maybe you did overreact. Or the even worse excuse of he’s the best I am ever going to get. I love him, doesn’t love conquer all? Or even the excuse I have heard time and time again- I’ve put so much time into this relationship I don’t feel like starting over again. So what happens? You stay and nothing ever changes.

Ladies! Why do you think that someone who exploits your emotions, who plays continuous mind games with you, and doesn’t care enough about you to really care, is the best you’re ever going to get? You deserve so much more from life and from a love that is mediocre at best. I know he may be like the drug you can’t quit, but since when is a drug habit ever healthy? A toxic relationship is not ever going to be the best you’re going to get! One sided relationships are not worth your time. If he really and truly wanted to keep you around, trust me he would. I learned that lesson the hard way. It was time to stop living in my fairy-tale land and face reality. What if he doesn’t ever change? What if this is how he is going to be for the rest of his life? Are you willing to spend the rest of your life being unhappy, manipulated, and walked all over, all because you don’t think there is someone out there who really will love you the way you deserved to be loved? Don’t get me wrong, every relationship is going to have ups and downs. But it is only ever going to work out if both parties are equally invested. If you’re holding on to a toxic relationship and the other person is doing little to nothing to try and work at making the relationship better, then do yourself a favor and walk away. Let go. The longer you hold on to someone who doesn’t care, the longer you rob yourself of the opportunity to find someone who truly will. Dating is the time that your relationship should be at its best! If it’s terrible during the dating stage, what makes you think it’s going to get better once you’re married? Why torture yourself with spending the rest of your life feeling less than loved?

I know the guilt is real. You feel guilty because you truly care for this person. Your feelings were genuinely real and you’ve been engulfed in a relationship that is so one sided you’ve conditioned yourself to feel this way. You’re so used to always giving, that when you finally stopped you feel like you’ve done something wrong. You feel guilty because you’ve been manipulated into feeling like a horrible person any time you ever tried to stand up for yourself. This has become your new normal. You feel guilty because maybe you did hurt his feelings for a split second, but remind yourself of how many times he has hurt yours. That guilt will go away with time, trust me. You need to learn how to stay strong and slowly each day will get easier. The beginning is emotionally torture. It takes time to grow your self worth, so be patient. It’s like any other muscle you want to get stronger… You have to keep working at it and eventually your stamina increases.

I used to be a big believer in “it is hard for people to really change who they are.” I used to believe that people are who they are at their core, but maybe with a lot of blood, sweat and tears, toxic people could change a small part of themselves… eventually. I spent so many years trying to force relationships that weren’t in my best interest, all because I would hope something would finally give and either him or me would change and things would fall in to place. I always hoped that he would change for ME. Or I would change and just accept all the toxicity as my new normal and learn to be happy. It honestly got me no where but more and more heartbroken every time a new problem would arise. I stayed in relationships way past expiration dates and wasted precious time on people who had no interest in anyone but themselves. I stayed in toxic relationships all because the guilt of giving up on someone who claimed they needed me was too much for me to handle. It would continuously eat away at me. I found it so hard to find the strength to walk away…. So I prayed. I prayed for strength. I prayed for the courage to walk away and I prayed for the wisdom to know that I deserved so much more.

It has become so clear to me that you can’t force anyone to change… but God can. He has the ability to change anyone’s heart if THEY ask. It can’t be forced. While this gives me hope that people can change, I’ve also realized I need to remove myself from situations that are not in my best interest. I can’t sit back and hope someone will change and put myself through agony over and over because this change is never guaranteed. I’ve prayed over the feelings of guilt and I have learned to walk away. I decided to give it all to Jesus. He is the one who can move mountains. If it’s meant to be, it will be. I’ve seen Him make huge changes in people… but these changes can’t be forced, and they can’t be done by YOU. You can’t force anyone to pray for the changes, or even to be open to allowing God to make these changes. All you can do is decide what’s best for you, stick to that decision, and pray. Let go and let God.

I had someone who mentored me through a tough time tell me that God never wants us to go back to a situation that He has called us to leave, especially when it is something toxic that is draining us of our happiness. If you want the change, but they don’t, then that’s not an open invitation to just stay in the mess and pray for a miracle. Pray for the strength to leave, pray for God’s will in the relationship, and take the time to really listen. If you know it’s time to go, which deep down we always do when the relationship is bad, then it’s okay to walk away. Don’t ever feel guilty for taking steps back when the situation is toxic…

Like I have said before. Like attracts like. Broken attracts broken. Step back and really look at yourself. It’s okay to focus on making yourself a priority. To find out who you are, and to learn to really love yourself. Take some time to address the emotional issues hiding inside yourself that has made you think that someone who continuously exploits your emotions is the best you’re ever going to get. You can’t ever expect anyone to deal or fix these issues that even you don’t even want to address.

The hardest part of letting go of a toxic relationship is learning to put yourself first. Your needs. Your wants. Your boundaries. They all matter. Don’t let the guilt of standing up for yourself allow yourself to go back to a situation that doesn’t bring you the happiness you deserve. You don’t deserve to feel like you’re wrong when you’ve been mistreated. Don’t let yourself feel guilty for ending a relationship that is not healthy for you, or is no longer something you want. Its time to switch off heart mode and switch on brain mode. Listen to what your friends and family are saying, even when you don’t believe the words they speak. These are the people who love you the most and only want you to have the best in life. Stay strong, even when you don’t think you can. Every day will get easier so please don’t give up. Focus on yourself even on the days where it seems downright impossible. Pray to God for the strength to tackle this mountain, and eventually you will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You are worth so much more!

Psalm 86:13

 

Emotional Healing

Finding Yourself In Your Emotional Discomfort

September 8, 2017
Finding Yourself In Your Emotional Discomfort

Everyone has something, someone, or some way to find solitude in times of emotional discomfort. Whether it be turning to friends and family, a glass of wine, or a pint of ice-cream, we all have ways of coping with the uncomfortable situations that life always has a way of throwing at us. We all have a way to dull the sting of rejection or a certain routine we use to deal with a day that just doesn’t seem to be going right. Some people may be in a season where they have to fight more uphill battles than normal and there seems to be days where more of the bad outweighs the good. Some may feel like they are completely stuck at rock bottom with no way out. Searching for comfort during these times is only natural, after all you want to find a way to put your soul at ease. We all search for something to let ourselves feel secure, and to validate that we are going to be okay. I had always been told to be thankful for the discomfort because it’s during these valleys where we experience the most growth. But for me the discomfort of facing myself and my issues was something that sometimes was too much to handle. I found myself turning to new relationships, a bottle of wine, or distracting myself from whatever emotional mountain I was tackling, by pretending it wasn’t there and then constantly getting frustrated when I would end back up at square one. I knew something had to change, but what exactly was it that needed to change?

I had hit a roadblock in my emotional growth. I had accepted who I had become and while I wasn’t the best person, I also wasn’t the worst. I had become accustomed to a certain way of life and I figured that I was, who I was, and these were just the cards I was dealt with. I honestly didn’t ever think too much about changing the way I viewed life. I definitely didn’t ever think about taking control and changing my behaviours. I always just figured I would find a guy who would come in, sweep me off my feet, and fix whatever it was that I couldn’t fix myself. I didn’t feel like I needed to put any effort in, all I had to worry about was my own selfish motives and everything was going to be coming up daisies…. Eventually….

I had become someone who feared the unknown. I hated feeling discomfort in my emotions. I would use any avenue to dull the sting I felt deep down after a breakup, rejection, or when something didn’t end up going my way. I would turn to alcohol, junk food, another boy, TV, or the loving ear of a friend and family, all to try and dull the ache I was feeling deep inside. I would talk to my friends about the same issues over and over and constantly felt the need to seek the validation I was an okay human being for acting the way I did. I hated heartbreak, I hated rejection, and I hated loneliness. These are my weaknesses, and I used to do anything in my power to do what I thought I had to do to dull the sting of these emotions. But what I learned along the way was the longer I put off the feelings of discomfort I had to deal with that surrounded these emotions, the longer I was going to be stuck wandering in the wilderness.

Not everyone is going to have to deal with their issues this way. Some people tackle that mountain head on. Some people can deal with their emotions and still find comfort in the use of other band-aids. They are able to find that middle ground where healing derives from. For me I recognized that seeking outside validation didn’t help me heal who I was inside, it only helped me to keep going down the same path I had wandered down hundreds of times. I needed to learn to press into the discomfort. Press into the ugly emotions and tackle them head on. To really feel what I was feeling and see what was causing me to act certain ways. I realized that what people told me was true… beauty really does rise from the ashes. I found a new strength in myself. I battled through the darkness with the help of friends, my family, and mainly with the help of God. I have always had to be one to learn the lessons the hard way. I spent 27 years running from my emotions, running from the wounds I needed to heal, and running towards worldly things to gain my validation and find my place in the world.

I really had to press into my faith during these times. I still have days where I have to ask God to give me strength. I pray for solitude to learn His lesson through the dark times, to transform my heart and allow me to see the plan that He has for me. I stopped running from Him and asked him to show me His plan. I faced the discomfort head on. I took time to myself, away from all social media, away from all outside distraction and I took some time to really see who I was, who I wanted to be, and who I was called to be. I decided that I was no longer going to live my life based on what I had planned for it to be anymore and to fully submit to what God was trying to tell me. The discomfort sucked, like really sucked. I took myself through some really dark emotions, emotions I had always been scared of or ashamed to feel. There were times I just kept to myself because I knew that if I started to turn to someone else I would stunt my growth by falling back into the same known paths. I wanted to know what God wanted to teach me. I was tired of skirting the issues that I need to deal with to become exactly who God wants me to be.

God turned out to be my anchor. He guided me through every storm, through every emotional discomfort and through every day where I struggled to just make it through. Depression used to be such an ugly part of my life that I honestly thought I was going to be plagued with it forever. I used that time to seek out God and He slowly started to heal me. The farther I turned from worldly validation and the more I turned towards the guidance of the One who loves us the most, the more I started to learn about myself. Sometimes God allows us to go through the dark times over and over, at our own accord to force us to realize that we need Him.  Gods love for us is always there, He is always there. But we have free will and sometimes He allows us to do it our way in order to bring us back to Him. I am sure He struggled watching me struggle as I tried to do everything my way.  I am such a stubborn person, that I always thought I could do everything on my own. I felt the burden of my life and felt like such a weight was on my shoulder. Times were dark, I will not lie. I was drowning and had no way to know which way was up, until I was forced to readdress the choices I was making in my life. God was there. He was there the whole time. He never left me, I turned from Him. I struggled for so long all because I would not choose to live the life He had planned for me.

I still deal with valleys. I still have good days, and bad days.  I still have days where I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing. I still struggle with issues and wounds that have been with me since I was a child. But now I see the beauty in the struggle because I know I am going to learn something about myself and come out on the other side stronger than ever. God doesn’t ever leave us. He will never give us emotions that are too hard for us to handle. He guides us through the discomfort.  If we submit to Him and ask Him what we are supposed to learn during these difficult times He is always there to lessen the burden.

We all have our demons to deal with. Our struggles are all different, some are worse than others. But knowing that God has our back seriously was life-changing for me. There is beauty in the discomfort if we take the time to figure out what we need to learn. Every valley pushed me closer to Him. Every trial, He was there. Every hard night, He guided me and gave me comfort. So don’t ever give up, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

Deuteronomy 31:8

sarah sig

Emotional Healing

Dear Younger Self… Stop Worrying About Gaining Acceptance

August 30, 2017

The struggle of gaining acceptance has always been something that has plagued me. I was always worried about what other people thought about me, or didn’t think about me. I was continuously worried about gaining the approval of everyone around me, specifically when it came to relationships. I always found myself bending my values and allowing my boundaries to be trampled all over, just so some guy would half-heartedly like me. I found myself people pleasing my way through life, which in turn left me in some heart breaking and uncomfortable situations. I find myself looking back to 6 months ago, a year ago, and even multiple years ago and genuinely wish I could have saved myself from all the pain and suffering I endured. Some of it was self inflicted, some of it was at the hands of others. But no matter the source, a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided if I could just give myself some advice about the cold hard facts of life. Acceptance isn’t everything.

The sad thing is that younger me probably would not have taken those words of advice to heart. I wish I could have crammed it into my stubborn head that you’re not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is okay!  I see so many girls who are enduring the pain that I put myself through, just to feel loved and accepted. It honestly breaks my heart to see girls not being true to themselves just to gain some boys acceptance. I know all to well the pain of heartbreak all because you want to be wanted… but what I have learned is that all of that suffering can be avoided if you just take a minute to step back, reassess, and realize that the right people are going to love you and fit perfectly into your life without having to force it.

“Don’t chase people, chase yourself. Continue to always strive to grow emotionally and spiritually. The right people will fall in line.”

I know for me, I always thought I had this thing called life figured out. Anyone that knew me around that time knows that my life motto was “I do what I want.”  My parents knew nothing, my friends knew nothing, and I spent every waking moment trying to control every single aspect of my life to fit into this grand idea I had of how my life was supposed to turn out. I searched for acceptance from boys, from family members, and from friends to gain the validation that I was on the right path. College, marriage, kids… that’s what I based my value on. If I didn’t have some type of relationship I found myself feeling worthless and during these difficult times my self esteem came to an all-time low. I continuously struggled to gain acceptance and I based my worth on if I was in a relationship or not.  I’d assess my happiness based on if I had a guy in my life. Even if it was clear to me and everyone around me that he did not fit, at least I had someone. I would allow my loneliness to dictate my mood, and even worse I would let the guy who so clearly did not belong influence my views. But at that point I figured that a bad relationship was better than no relationship. Even if I was in a relationship that was not good for me emotionally, I would stay because it was better than being alone. I would struggle to conform to be someone he wanted me to be, just to say I had a relationship. I would do anything to gain acceptance, and it started to control my life.

I think this is a struggle that so many women deal with. We have been brought up in a society where being single is sometimes looked down upon. People feel sorry for women that are in their 30’s and single. It used to be the norm to just get married and have kids, but times are evolving and so should our mentalities about being single. Your life doesn’t start until you start a family or have found the man you want to spend the rest of your life with. Your life starts when you start to accept that these are the cards you were dealt and its time to make the best of them. I think one of the major problems we deal with in society is that so many girls feel the pressure that they have to act a certain way, look a certain way, or have a certain mind set to be good enough and worthy enough for a relationship. Social media has become such a strong influencing force that as soon as you get one new trend down, a new one is already popping up making you feel like you’re always one step behind. So many girls are influenced by celebrities and people in the media. They are the ones who set the standards for how to act and how to look. But the truth is that these standards are unrealistic and nearly impossible to live up to. Self worth when you’re at a young age is already hard enough to attain and in this time and age I believe self worth is at an all-time low.  I constantly find myself looking back at my past and cringing in some situations I think about. I want to go back and tell myself to stop stressing, stop worrying, stop caring what others think and just do you.

So, this week I asked some of my closest friends if they could go back and give themselves at a younger age some words of about relationships what would it be? These are the answers I received…

 

“I would say to quit worrying and putting so much pressure on myself. I didn’t take the opportunity to enjoy that season in my life because I was more concerned about finding a man over finding myself. My self esteem was at an all-time low because of it. I also wish I would have just put it all into God’s hands.”

“Probably to just be open to meeting new guys and have them be friends first.  You don’t always have to be on the prowl for a boyfriend. I think if I would have just taken the time to actually just hang out and really get to know certain guys first, I never would have taken certain relationships to the next level. I would have realized that I had nothing in common with the guy in the first place and nothing romantic would have ever come from it. If nothing did then at least you have the bonus of a new friend!”

“Don’t rush. Don’t worry about finding a boyfriend. The right one will come to you and in the mean time take the time to enjoy the single life while you can. Also listen to your friends and family. They have your best interests at heart and can always see past the bullsh*t.”

“Be patient. Don’t worry so much about finding someone when you’re young. Be more worried about experiencing life on your own and finding out who you truly want to be. Give yourself that time to go to school and travel the world, all without the stress of finding a relationship. Don’t be afraid to express how you feel about someone. The worst they can say is they don’t have the same feelings and then you’ll save yourself heartbreak by not wasting time wondering.”

“Things happen for a reason and sometimes you have to endure the bad to get to the good. Never regret a dating situation because it forms you into being a better person. Learn from your mistakes. It will help you figure out what you like and what you don’t. Sometimes you have to go through some sh*tty relationships before you find the right one. But always love yourself and work to build that confidence in yourself. If you’re not confident, or have self love, any relationship is likely not going to work very well.”

“I’ve always had issues with trust due to my parent’s problems. I always thought that not trusting someone and being vulnerable would be less heart ache if I was ever cheated on. So, I would tell my younger self to let go of that fear because if you don’t trust your significant other, chances are you’re only pushing them away. Its okay to be vulnerable and let people in. The right person won’t hurt you.”

“Don’t push too hard for someone when it works it work, when it doesn’t it doesn’t. They aren’t the right one so just let it go and move on.”

 

The period in life where you are trying to figure out who you are and what you want to accomplish with your life can be daunting, frustrating even. Some days you feel so lost, and some days you feel like you’re on top of the world. Loneliness, low self esteem, and low self worth are something we all deal with at some time or another. They can be unfortunate factors of life that drive you into situations that weren’t necessarily the best thing for you. They can make you feel like you have to be a certain person to be loved. They can make you search for your validation in men, and they can keep you in relationships long past their expiration dates. I found that I was constantly trying to people please my way through life and conform to fit a certain mold just to gain acceptance. I would not only deal with toxic relationships longer than I should have, but I would also deal with toxic friendships past their expiration date because I was terrified to lose someone. Losing someone meant to me that I was no longer good enough for them, and that was something my broken ego could not handle.  I would give in to doing things for people that I loathed doing, and would partake in activities that I new were wrong, all to gain that acceptance. The worst thing I ever did to myself was conforming to be what I thought I had to be to get a guy to like me. To allow my values to be skewed, boundaries to be crossed, and ultimately hide who I truly was all to gain the acceptance of someone who didn’t really care enough to really care.

Some of the closest people in my life would tell me to just focus on myself, love myself, and the rest will all fall into place. I really do wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to just enjoy the ride, instead of constantly struggling to find a man. When the time is right, the right one will come.

Even when I started writing this blog, I was worried about what people would think. What would my exes think? What would their friends and families think? I found myself constantly worrying about losing people in my life because I was doing something different. Sure, some people have made comments, some people have criticized what I am doing. But ultimately it has shown me who are the people who will stand beside me and belong in my life. When you stop forcing relationships, and just worry about yourself you will find that life gets a whole lot easier.

Ultimately, I found that I needed to surrender myself to God. I gave myself fully into his plan and the stress of always having to worry about what other people thought about me has faded away. By learning that He has a plan and submitting myself to that plan rather than by controlling everything around me, I have slowly started to figure out who I am, what I want, and how I expect to be treated. I no longer search for the acceptance of others. So take the advice of people who love you, take the advice of everyone around you who only wants to see you succeed in life. Stop worrying about the opinions of others, or if some boy that’s not worth your time likes you. The right person will come in to your life at the right time. If they are apart of God’s plan for your life, they will be there.  

Philippians 4:6

sarah sig

Emotional Healing

Taking Control of Your Life: When Is It Time To Make A Change?

August 21, 2017

Change happens, it’s a fact of life, and as hard as it can be to accept sometimes, it can become the best gift we are ever given…

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.

 

Psalm 147:3

Relationships

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: Valuing Opinions

July 23, 2017
I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends: Valuing Other’s Opinions

How many times have you asked the opinion of someone close to you, who’s opinion you truly value and trust, but when it comes to your relationship you feel like they are completely out of touch? After all, they don’t really understand your feelings toward that one person, and they don’t really understand the connection you two have. They aren’t there to experience that passion, so what right do they have to tell you your relationship is toxic? When you two are good, you’re good.  But what about when things are bad? When you’re calling your best friend for the 500th time, asking for a different answer to the same question you’ve repeatedly asked… Why do we so quickly brush their opinion off as irrelevant? Why do we somehow doubt that our friends and family have our best interests at heart? I’ve found in the past that if the answer I was searching for, and the answer I was receiving were not the same, I typically would dismiss their opinion and carry on as I did before because clearly I knew what was best for me, right?… and that way of thinking my friends, got me nowhere. So, by ignoring the opinions of loved ones who have nothing but our best interests at heart, are we just cheating ourselves by carrying on in a bubble of make-believe happiness?

From the lack of self-awareness I have experienced in the past, the opinion of my friends and family on any type of relationship has quickly become one of my top priorities. My weakness of trying to fix someone is a continuous struggle and without the opinions of my friends I would have been caught up in certain relationships long past their expiry dates (not saying I didn’t ever push that expiry date to the very edge.) Sometimes I had found myself so blinded by what I considered as passion, that I forgot to take a look at the cold hard facts. Some relationships had become so skewed, and my views so distorted, that I lost sight of who the person on the other end of the relationship had either become, or possibly had been from the very beginning. I could never understand that someone could say one thing, and do the opposite. That not everyone’s actions followed their words, and that some people were able to flat out lie to your face without thinking about it twice. I guess I considered myself an optimist when it came to certain relationships. I was always trying to pretend the bad wasn’t as bad as it really was, and if I just held on for a little bit longer things would finally get better. I tried to salvage relationships that should have been left in the past where they belonged, all because I had a hard time seeing I deserved to be treated better. One minute I would be complaining to a friend about how I was so frustrated, and then the next I would be pretending that everything was coming up roses. Clearly, I could not be in control of my emotions, but you know who always could point me in the right direction? My friends.

By continuously living in my fairy-tale land, allowing certain people more importance in my life than they had proven to deserve, and allowing toxic people to control my mood each day, I continuously found myself in situations that brought me nothing but heart break. I had created an anxiety filled world wondering if I was going to get ghosted, ignored, or forgotten about. I was attracted to fixer-uppers and no matter what anyone said, I could never find myself able to throw in the towel until that person was put fully back together. I’d ignore the opinions of my friends, yet I would keep complaining to them about the type of guy I seemed to always date. Have you ever had a friend tell you the cold hard truth about the fact they think you deserve to be treated better and yet  you still continue to disregard their words of advice? You claim to know what you are doing and dismiss the opinion you blatantly asked for? I had done this so many times I don’t think I can even count anymore. I had found myself some days so far down the rabbit hole that I didn’t know which was up.

There is something so addicting about certain types of emotionally unavailable men, or men we deem as fixer uppers that it’s like a drug that just can’t be quit. Something about them keeps some of us always going back for more, and slowly the glass we could so clearly see through before becomes cloudy, distorted, and scratched. I know that if I wouldn’t of had the support of some truly amazing people around me I would have kept myself in some situations that were less than optimal for my emotional health. On the days I couldn’t see clearly, they were always there to lead the way. Even though I sometimes think I know better in certain situations (which I don’t, btw) I have made sure to take the opinions that they given to me to heart. It’s a breath of fresh air to know that the only agenda they have is clear, and that they only want what’s best for me. By surrounding yourself with positivity in friendships and familial relationships, you are not only allowing yourself to start growing and setting boundaries in romantic relationships, but it allows you to see how healthy and functional relationships should really be. A huge step for me was realizing that I would never let my friends be in a relationship like the ones I was putting myself through. I valued their well-being way too much to see them upset over a boy. So why did I not hold myself to the same standard? Somewhere along the road I had forgotten my worth, I forgot that I deserved someone who cared enough to really care. That’s one of the many perks of having genuine friends- they are always there to continuously remind you just how much more you deserve, not only in relationships, but life in general. There are some people in life that make you laugh a little longer, smile a little bigger, and live just a little bit better.

I’ve truly been blessed with an amazing group of family and friends. I thank God each and every day for every single person who He has brought in to my life. Everyone who I keep close is someone who has done nothing but stand by my side and support me through every mistake I’ve made (sometimes multiple times) and has walked with me through every valley I have ever created for myself. I know there have been days when dealing with my bad choices in relationships, or the repetition of the same old story on repeat, that they have felt like banging their heads up against a concrete wall.  I am sure all the eye rolls and “here we go agains” when I would try it my way “just one more time,” were more frequent during certain months over others.  But what I have learned through everything is that true friends will stand by you, love you, and do nothing but try and help you get through a sticky situation that you may not be seeing clearly. Someone who truly cares about you, will never put themselves into a position to lose you. Valuing the opinions of loved ones who have the ability to see situations for what they really are and allow you to see the bigger picture should be something we strive for in life. Having genuine people who support you and continuously outpour their love are the true blessings that are sometimes taken for granted. Whenever you hear something about your relationship from someone who’s opinion you truly value, try to see the truth in their comments. Take off your blinders and accept that they love you and only want to see you happy.

So a huge shout-out to everyone who has spent uncountable hours talking with me late into the night whenever I needed them. All the endless supportive texts telling me what to do, even when I decided to do it my way, and all the countless hours spent discussing boys over endless bottles of wine. I appreciate every one of you more than you will ever know!

Proverbs 18:24

sarah sig

Relationships

He Claims He Has Changed… Now What?

July 19, 2017
He Claims He Has Changed… Now What?

I think whenever you break up with someone you genuinely care about (unless he’s a truly awful human being), you always deep down, dream of how things would have been if things could have worked out. It’s easy to dream about how it always seems to happen in the movies. It starts with him coming back to you claiming he has changed, and off you two ride into the sunset, happier than ever.

Be honest with yourself, how many times during a breakup does the thought ever cross your mind about getting back together with an ex? It’s hard to not let your mind wander back into fairy-tale land and think about all the “what could have been’s” if he would have just became the man you put on that pedestal and you imagined he could have become. Separating fact from fiction can become a chore during this time. It’s always easier to focus on the good rather than the bad and soon you can have yourself convinced that the relationship wasn’t as bad as you originally thought and all the reasons your broke up are easy to fix.

Cue the domino effect of letting him back in, especially if he shows back up claiming he has changed. While I have seen ex’s reuniting actually work out a time or two, more than likely the reasons you broke up are still going to be legitimate reasons.  So what do you do if your ex comes back into your life and claims he is ready for another shot? He tells you all the things you want to hear, says he will prove to you he has changed, and for an instant there is a glimmer of hope?

 

“If they miss you, they’ll call. If they want you, they’ll say it. If they care, they’ll show it… and if not, they aren’t worth your time.”

-unknown

 

I am guilty of giving every single one of my exes one too many chances for the opportunity to hurt me repeatedly. Too many to even count in some instances. I always try and see the best in people, give them the benefit of the doubt and allow them to show me who they have really become… which to this date has still not ever worked out FYI. I used to think everyone is capable of changing who they are and everyone has the ability to become someone better than they were yesterday. I used to like to call it optimism, but now I see it for what it is… my weakness. Optimism is my weakness. Not everyone wants to change, and honestly, not everyone should have to.

Like I have said in previous posts, I have a huge weakness for people who I think can change for the better. People who I have dictated need to change. I see their brokenness and instantly a part of me thinks that I can save them- cue my god complex.

So when they come back and claim they have made all the changes I hoped for, I tend to believe them, if only for an instant. This has become a huge obstacle in my life, and has ended up causing me a great deal of heartbreak. All that has ever come from letting someone back into my life that has hurt me in the past, is more opportunity for them to hurt me time and time again. So how do you ever really know if someone has truly changed and it’s a good idea to get back together? How do you know if you should ever believe them? Easy. Actions always speak louder than words. Let me explain….

I have one ex who it seems like we can never quit each other. Just as I would start to move on, he would swoop back in. We even recently joked my blog could be called “the life of me and him.”  My weakness about giving second, and third chances to ex’s was brought to light when I let him back in for just a moment. He told me everything I wanted to hear, and for a hot minute I believed him. I guess deep down it’s what I had been hoping for deep in my heart, even though I had decided in my brain that I was going to let him go. Well just like I suspected, within just a few days it became reality that things were just as they were in the past. While I have seen some big changes in him to better his overall life, when it comes to him and me it  quickly became clear it was still going to be the same toxic relationship cycle we had become so familiar with in the past.  But by identifying my weakness, I was able to see the situation for what it was. I have come to learn that my heart has become a pro at clouding my judgement, and sometimes I have to take a moment to let my brain take over even when my heart is trying to tell me a different story.

If anything, I have come to accept that my heart has a way of finding its way into situations that can potentially lead me back into trouble. It has taken a while, but I have learned to allowed Jesus to slowly guard my heart.

I had the feeling instantaneously that things were going to head back to how they were… call it gut instinct. I decided to lay it all out on the line about what I wanted for things to move forward. If this was going to work, it was going to be on my terms this time. I knew my heart couldn’t be in control, and I had to let my instincts lead. I was over playing games, and at this point in my life I knew what I wanted if things were ever going to work out. It’s okay to test the waters before you ever make the decision to go back to an ex, in fact if going back to an ex is something you’re considering you should make it a priority. If this is your second, or even third time giving it a shot, you need to be honest with yourself and with him about what you want out of the relationship. Long gone are the days where games need to be played. What has that gotten you in the past? The track record shows nothing but heartbreak.

You are allowed to communicate with him right off the start with what you expect from the relationship and what you want from him without the worry of coming off as needy. If he doesn’t reciprocate your feelings then why waste your time and even allow yourself to get your heart broken again? Is it worth it? Like I said actions always speak louder than words. If he wants to commit, he will. If he wants to be present, he will. There won’t ever be the hot and cold relationship you have experienced in the past. These changes should start immediately, not when he thinks they should. It’s easy to tell someone something they want to hear, but actually committing to those words is the part that needs to be focused on. He can tell you he has changed until he’s blue in the face, but if his actions don’t line up then you’re only cheating yourself by allowing someone back in that hasn’t proven he deserves to be there.

By never communicating with my ex’s in the past and allowing them to always have the power in the relationship by waiting for them to show me the changes, I ended up wasting a lot of time dealing with emotions that I should have never exposed myself to in the first place. Getting back into a relationship with an ex who has hurt you in the past is probably almost never a good idea. I relate it to getting mad you get burnt when you touch a hot stove. You know the stove is hot, yet you touch it again thinking maybe this time it won’t hurt. But for some of us out there we have to learn the lessons the hard way.

I am never going to be the girl who can completely shut out someone I have cared about in the past. I have come to accept that I will always have a place in my heart for these people, even if I know they are not good for me. But by learning to accept my weaknesses, set boundaries that I am not willing to bend, and by being completely honest with myself, I have kept myself from getting back into situation’s where I would have ended up with my heart broken again.

Sometimes what our heart wants, is not always in the best interest for ourselves. People can change who they are in some aspects of their lives, but deep down we are who we are. While we can change certain choices we make in life, how we interact with people and how our heart reacts to certain situations are usually with us from birth. All I want for any of my ex’s is for them to be happy and live the best lives they can. Sometimes the hardest part of a breakup is the realization and acceptance that their happiness is not ever going to have you included in it. But by continuously exposing yourself to a situation that has gotten you nothing but heartbreak, you are only ever robbing yourself of the happiness you deserve as well.

Proverbs 4:23

sarah sig

Relationships

Removing Toxic People: Why We Need To Let Go

July 11, 2017
Removing Toxic People: Why We Need To Let Go

Like toxic relationships, toxic people in general are not only detrimental to your emotional state, but they slowly start to take a toll on your soul.  Realizing someone in your life- whether that be a boyfriend, best friend, or family member- is no longer good for you, can be a devastating blow. All the “what ifs” and “what could of beens” suddenly become “no longers” and you may see your bright glimmering future come crashing down before your eyes. This awareness can be one of the hardest pills to swallow. Sometimes the person who you love the most, can cause you the most heartbreak. So why do we allow toxic people to stay in our lives long past their expiration date? Obligation? The fear of a future without them? Or do we simply not realize that someone is toxic for us?

Sometimes you never really see how toxic somebody is until you breathe fresher air. Someone can come into your life who is so filled with happiness and love that it’s like a burst of fresh air into a hot muggy room. All the darkness that may surround you is brought to light and you are smacked hard with the realization that you’ve been wrapped up in a relationship that has a cloud of doom lingering over it.  Cutting people from your life that not only bring you down, but exploit you, and take advantage of your empathy and compassion is something that you should never have to apologize for. You can love them just the same, from a safe distance.

It’s hard to make the decision to cut somebody special to you out of your life, but if the only experience you have with them is toxic, then it’s time to create some distance. I know we are supposed to love everyone, and help those who need it, but lines need to be drawn at some point if someone continuously takes advantage of your love and affection. What you allow will always continue when it comes to these types of relationships. If boundaries are never guarded, then toxic people will continue to trample all over them. Stand your ground and realize its okay to put distance between yourself and someone who does nothing but use and abuse you. So how and where do you start to remove the toxicity from your life altogether?

Start with forgiveness…

Forgiving someone that has hurt you can not only be mentally difficult, but it can be emotionally difficult. It’s hard to not want to get even and hurt them back, or be rude to them when you see them on the street. Isn’t the old saying “don’t get mad, get even??” I’m not saying you have to verbally express to every single person who’s hurt you that you forgive them, but getting your heart and soul to that place is important. Allowing yourself to let go of the emotional pain you’ve experienced takes some deep inner exploration and healing. It takes endless self control and it takes an intensely strong will. Carrying around the anger and bitterness you’ve felt towards people who have hurt you in your past not only eats away at your soul, but it seeps into the relationships you have in your present and will have in your future. If you continuously think everyone you meet is going to betray you, you miss out on the true intimacy that relationships are meant to have. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, and I’m not saying it’s going to happen right now. But the sooner you rid yourself of all the negativity you feel you can learn to leave the pain where it belongs, in the past. By forgiving you’re letting go, and by letting go you’re opening yourself up to a whole new level of freedom.

Create boundaries…

By creating healthy boundaries with toxic people you will find that toxic relationships and friendships will slowly fall to the wayside all on their own. You’ll have less tolerance for bad behaviour and certain actions will no longer be acceptable. You get to decide what behaviour you deem as acceptable and what behaviour is not. The scariest part of instilling these boundaries is the thought of losing people who you care about. But if someone is continuously exploiting and taking advantage of the love you so freely give by continuously breaking promises and hurting you, it’s time to draw some lines. It’s easy to become a doormat to people who don’t care about your feelings all because you care about theirs. I’ve come to learn that there is a difference between being kind and being nice. Kind people have no problem with setting boundaries, and respectfully let others know when they’ve been crossed. Nice people tend to put on a fake smile and pretend that a loved one’s negative words or actions never hurt them, even when they did, leaving themselves open to being an emotional doormat.  Always be kind, but know it’s okay to distance yourself from toxic people.

Love Yourself …

You’re not always going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Just because someone doesn’t see or value your uniqueness doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you! Some people prefer puppies, and some prefer kittens. You never have to explain to anyone why you do what you do, and why you are who you are, as long as you are living your most authentic life! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You have a purpose and you deserve to experience happiness in this life just by being you. Don’t ever let anybody make you feel bad for not being what they think you should be. Never apologize for being true to yourself. When you learn to love yourself the opinions of other’s become less and less important and you’ll find it easier to stop allowing toxic people from controlling your opinion of yourself.

Find your happiness…

Happy people are deep-down truly happy for other people. Someone who tries to tear you down for living your life, guilt’s you into feeling bad for setting boundaries, or tells you you can’t accomplish something you’re passionate about is the definition of a toxic person. Misery loves company after all. Everyone has a right to live their life how they want, to find their passion, and to live a joyous life! Never let someone else’s view of what should make you happy become your view. By removing yourself from situations and people who no longer fit into your plan for your life, you allow yourself to live your most authentic life. Doing something just because it makes somebody else happy, doesn’t always mean it’s going to be what makes you happy. It’s okay to say no. So find what you love, pursue it and never apologize, no matter what anyone else thinks or says. It’s not their life to live, it’s yours.

Trust in something bigger…

The moment I started growing the one relationship that I had neglected for so long, was the moment I realized that the only validation I needed was from God. When I took a good hard look at how I had been living my life, and the hole I had slowly dug myself into, I realized not only was it not glorifying to the God I claimed I had a relationship with, but it was definitely not what He had planned for me. As I kept surrounding myself with certain people who continuously tore apart my values and did nothing but exploit my feelings, I found myself stuck in a rut of unworthiness. My self esteem had taken blow after blow and somewhere along the line I had lost who I really was. I had become so unhappy with myself that I was constantly looking for someone else to validate my worth. Seeking this validation got me into some fairly unhealthy relationships.  I had created a life for myself that I had become embarrassed of and I started to realize just how far down the rabbit hole I had gone. I decided that I was no longer going to be people pleasing my way through life anymore by allowing toxic people to control it. By allowing the control to be given to something bigger than me, I finally found the peace and healing I had been looking for.

Personally, I have found that cutting toxic relationships from my life was one of the hardest things I have done this far. I have a huge people pleasing side when it comes to people who are not good for me. I have a soft spot for people who are “broken” and I find that I continuously want to fix them. It’s hard for me to throw in the towel on a lost cause, especially when I feel a deep connection to them. But what I’ve learned is that by not allowing someone to take advantage of your empathy and compassion is just what the doctor ordered… for you, and for them. It’s okay to let-go of someone who continuously exploits you, it doesn’t mean that you don’t care, it just means that you have to disconnect yourself from a path that wasn’t ever meant for you. It’s okay to take charge and turn the car around. This may be an ah-ha moment for the toxic person, or it may not matter to them at all. Either way there is only so much you can do to help someone who doesn’t want to be helped. You’re allowed to take a step back, or remove yourself from a situation that is going to lead you down a detrimental path. “Let go and let God” has become my personal mantra these days. I’ve learned to remove myself from toxic people physically, but find my self continuously praying for them to find the happiness that they deserve to experience as well. The only person you have the ability to change for the better is yourself, the rest is out of your control. So focus on yourself and never stop searching for opportunities to grow yourself emotionally and spiritually.

1 Corinthians 15:33

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