A few years ago, I got out of a relationship that left my self-esteem broken and bloodied.
I didn't even want to get out of my emotionally abusive relationship. I felt so worthless and thought my heart DESERVED to be flung around like a rubber band.
My friends and family had to intervene like I was some sort of love junkie. (I was secretly addicted to my prescribed benzos, but they didn't know that.)
After a mountain of pressure from the people I loved, I finally mustered up the courage to call my ex. My best friend was squeezing my hand so hard, I thought it would crack.
"I can't do this anymore," I mumbled.
"This. This relationship. It's over."
"But I love you."
"If you love me, you won't make this harder on me than it already is, and you'll never contact me again." I hung up the phone as I choked back a sob.
"You did it! I'm so proud of you. Now, your life can start!" my best friend cheered, handing me a tall glass of champagne.
However those champagne bubbles popped, and after a few hours, I had to deal with the sobering reality that I was heartbroken and alone.
And I wasn't even alone with myself because I had lost myself. I had given my self-esteem to my ex, and she ran off with it. She stored my confidence somewhere far, far away, and I didn't know how to get to it.
I thought the only way I could get it back was by going back to her.
"NO!" my best friend would scream. "You need to get over her and get your confidence back."
And I got it back. It was real work, but I got over the person who destroyed me from the inside out.
And so can you.
Here's how to get over someone who killed your self-esteem.
I don't care how much money you have or you don't have, you need to get yourself in therapy right now.
I used to think therapy was only for rich, neurotic, Manhattan natives, but trust me, that's not true! I went years without a dentist, let alone a therapist.
But, my sweet kitten, we need to get you into therapy so you can figure out why you let yourself fall in love with someone who treats you this way.
You need to confront all the pain and trauma you've endured because of the destructive relationship patterns that's destroyed your life.
Because something drew you to this toxic relationship, and until you get to the root of it, you'll never break the cycle. You'll keep falling for energy vampires who suck the life right out of you.
And you're so deserving of someone who will treat you like a fucking empress, not like a deflated air mattress in a dirty hotel room.
Surround yourself with only amazing people who are your biggest fans.
You've cut ties with your toxic lover who robbed you of your self-worth, and that's awesome (even though you might not feel awesome... yet).
But now, it is time for a big, giant life cleanse. So take a good look around you, babes.
Do you have that one friend who always greets you with a bitchy comment that leaves you feeling like an insecure teenager?
Do you have that friend who only calls you to score drugs or to sit at your table when you have bottle service?
Do you have a sibling who constantly tells you to lose weight or a family member who disapproves of everything you do?
It's time to blow the negativity out, or it will blow you out.
I don't care if you've known these people since first grade. I don't care if you share the same blood. Friends and family are in our lives to make us feel better, not worse!
In this particularly vulnerable time, you can't risk letting negativity in. You have a raw, open wound, and you want to be in environments that will heal it — not infect it further.
Surround yourself with the people who make you feel happy. Maybe it's that one girl who sits next to at work. Now is a time to invest in positive energy.
Immerse yourself in all the things you used to LOVE to do.
Close your eyes, and remember your life before this relationship. You had hobbies before this person swooped in and sucked the air out of you. You used to do things simply because they made you happy.
Maybe you liked to run for hours outside and get lost in the music pulsing in your headphones.
Maybe you liked to go to the movies alone, sit in the darkness with some popcorn and cry your eyes out to a dramatic scene.
Whatever it is you liked to do, immerse yourself in it now! When you do something you love — something entirely independent of others — you will begin to feel human again.
You'll remember you CAN feel good on your own. And that empowering feeling will propel you out of the dirty soil of heartbreak and bring you back to the LIGHT, girl.
Chances are, when you were with your shitty ex who destroyed your self-esteem, you stopped dressing like yourself, huh? Maybe you watered your style down to blend in with theirs.
Maybe they made you feel like you weren't interesting and exotic, so you stopped trying to be.
Well, I'm here to tell you that you are interesting and exotic, and you don't have to appease your shitty ex anymore.
So go to the salon and get that haircut that you've always wanted, baby. Go blonde. Go raven. Start wearing ripped jeans and sequin shoes! Animal prints! Whatever! Just don't you dare hold back!
When you start to dress like yourself, you'll find yourself again. Fashion, beauty and style are outer expressions of how we feel inside.
So if we feel horrible and dress blandly as a result, we will feel the same.
But sometimes, we can trick ourselves into feeling sparkly and beautiful by dressing sparkly and beautifully.
Take care of yourself.
As someone who has shunned self-care for most of my life, I'm only recently learning the remarkable power of it.
You need to treat yourself like you would treat your beautiful but wounded best friend.
Wouldn't you want to pay for her to get a massage to ease the stress? Wouldn't you advise her to get at least eight hours of sleep each night? Wouldn't you encourage her to go to yoga, eat well and get a manicure because she fucking DESERVES IT?
Hey, I have news for you: Your sad and wounded best friend is you!
So treat her like gold. And soon enough, she'll start believing she's gold.