It finally happened. Rock bottom. I hit it. I let someone I cared about deeply convince me that all my worst fears about myself were true. Someone I loved, trusted and believed.
It physically hurts. I felt it. Something inside me finally broke.
This time, unlike the countless times before, this time was the last. This relationship no longer serves me, I no longer need this person in my life. I no longer want this person in my life.
I finally decided that I love myself enough to leave.
I know we have all struggled with this at some point in our lives. Someone you loved or trusted- a friend, a co-worker, a wife, a partner- betrayed you. They lied to you. They did the unthinkable. And I am not immune. I have done this to someone I truly love. And it makes me sick to my stomach to think of him feeling like I do right now.
The hardest things to do, I have found, is to let go of something that no longer serves you, something that once did in every way you could have hoped for. You stay in it, you wait for them to turn back into the person they were. You take them back again and again. You convince yourself that they didn’t mean it, that they would never do something like that again, that all of the time and energy, all the love or trust you had for them, wasn’t wasted. They would come back, truly mean it when they say they would never hurt you again, and they would truly never hurt you again.
And you want to justify it to yourself when they do hurt you again. They don’t realize what they are doing. They are hurting worse than the pain they are causing you. They will change. They will go back to the trustworthy, loving, loyal friend, coworker, wife, or partner they once were.
And they do it again and again. And you let them. And you will do it, you will stay in it until you simply can’t anymore, until something deep inside you breaks. And you will vow that you will never, ever let them do this to you again. But this time, you mean it.
Now comes the hard part. You have to let them go. You have to let go of a dream or a delusion or a hope that you had based your life on. You have to admit to yourself that your judge of character was wrong, that you made a colossal mistake, that you followed your heart, listened to your instinct, and that you were completely wrong.
And you have to let go.
It is so much harder now because they are completely immersed in your life, maybe still living with you, or you have to see them every day at your workplace, or you are reminded of them again and again on your Facebook page. You try not to look, you try not to go to the same places, but you can’t stop yourself.
You have to, I have to, decide that it is time to leave. You can’t reach out anymore, you can’t keep tabs on them anymore. It will kill you over and over. It will make you believe that this is what a friendship or relationship is and how it will end up.
You have to find the strength to leave all of it behind except the lessons you learned.
This is our wake-up call. We will heed the signs. We will believe them when they lie or cheat or betray us. We can decide to forgive them the first time. We can decide to give them a second chance. But we will not give them a third. This time, we will find the strength to love ourselves more.
And we still follow our hearts and we still listen to our gut, because they did not, in fact, break us.
And we let them go.