Ask What You Want Wednesdays, Confidence, Dating with Anxiety, Personal Growth, Readers Questions
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Ask What You Want Wednesday | Starting Over

I have very recently ended a relationship of two+ years. We both knew near the end things were not going as they were before. He moved away due to his career and that is what amplified our problems. We were forced to talk more which neither of us are good at. Pulled out of comfort zones. He avoided and I clung. In the end he put his foot down and it likely was for the best. I’m going through intense “emdr” therapy to hopefully work through past traumas. He was my best friend and partner. He was my main support. I’m in a new city away from family for my career. I absolutely love my job and will not leave it. Though I want to move back home and hide away. I feel lost, my routine is mixed up and nothing feels solid anymore. We both are to “blame” for the relationship not working. We openly spoke about wanting different things, though I still feel I wanted to make it work. I cannot force someone to love me or stay. How do I start putting a focus on myself now? How do I put myself out there and try to find friends to begin my own life? I feel constant panic, guilt and much more. I feel like everything I worked on in therapy (not guilting and putting myself down) has went out the window. My family is not the best system of support. How do I pick up pieces, where do I begin? I feel like a failure. 

Oh my dear reader, you are most certainly not a failure. You are anything BUT a failure. It sounds like you are doing a great deal of looking back, so from this point on the only time you should look back is to acknowledge how far you’ve come, the strength and courage you have shown, and the important things you’ve learned about yourself and your heart. It can often feel upsetting to see we’ve taken a few steps back, but what we’re ignoring is the thousands of steps you took forward to get to that spot in the first place.

It’s okay to still love someone even in light of knowing, in the long run, they are not your forever-person. This is so painful and it will take time to find distance and calm from this. On a daily basis remind yourself of this: it is vital to show yourself patience and understanding. Be gentle with yourself and each day say “it’s okay if I still miss him, but today I will try my best to move forward a little more into my new future.” Instead of fighting your pain and longing, be kind to it and understand that it is part of the process.

I went through serious heartache a few years back. Every time my brain started to put myself down, I’d immediately think the phrase “I love you, Hattie.” It sounds silly, and feels silly at first, but who cares…nobody can hear your thoughts. Do it. Over and over again. Every day all day. Soon, it will feel more natural and right. Because it IS right.

I know when I’ve gone through a breakup people have said things like “it’s been X number of months…why are you still sad?” Just ignore these thoughts. No one can understand what your heart has gone through and that’s okay. Stop telling yourself you should be acting a certain way. You are doing the best you can.

As far as focusing on yourself? Sometimes the best approach to this is by focusing on others. As in, getting out in the world and helping in some way. Whether this comes in the form of tutoring someone once a week, walking dogs at the humane society, picking up trash in your neighborhood park, or donating a dollar a day to your favorite charity. The minute you start reconnecting with the world around you it will continue to unfold and show you what it has to offer in return. If you are in a new city, away from family (who aren’t the best support in the first place), trying to make new friends — just reach out in ways that connect you to your community. It’s hard to do on your own, but even just the simple act of researching options will remind you that you are capable of so much more. Then take the first baby step, which lead to more steps. You can do it.

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