We're each given a few moments in our lives that make us the people we are. We enter these moments as one person and leave as another. They mold us. They push us in a different direction and change our futures forever.
Sometimes these moments simply happen to us. Sometimes they don't require our participation -- or even our acceptance. Other times, we're the driving force. We're guiding the railroad switch.
I'm certain you've lived through one or two of these moments. Maybe they changed your life for the better; maybe they changed you into a stronger, wiser person. Or maybe they harmed you.
But "for better or worse" isn't always so clear-cut. Sometimes our changes in life can bring us both good and bad. We don't live in only the light or the dark -- we live in both.
I remember the moment I decided to set my life on a different path. I remember the conversation I had with my girlfriend. I remember the look in her eyes as tears started to fill them.
I remember wiping my own tears off my face, knowing I was doing what needed to happen. I also knew that I would love her for the rest of my life.
She didn’t want me to go. She wanted to keep trying, fighting and figuring out a way for it to work. We both felt that we were soulmates.
But I knew that I wasn't in a place in my life where I could be the partner she deserved. It didn’t matter so much to her; she just wanted me to be in her life. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stand breaking her heart a little every day as I created distance between us.
I couldn’t keep looking into her eyes every day -- the eyes that begged me to open up again, to give myself to her as she had done for me. I couldn’t put her first, and she deserved someone who would. She deserved someone who appreciated that she was the most amazing woman in the world.
I wish that I could have been that person. I was too egotistical. It was a period of crisis for me. I had no idea what I was going to do with my life.
She should have been enough -- and, looking back, I realize she was. But I didn’t understand that. I didn’t know better. I had to learn, and the only way for me to do that was to be alone.
That one moment changed everything. I now look back on that moment as the thing that made my life both better and more painful. I lost my love, but I found myself. Is it a trade that I would make again, if I had to?
Honestly, I don’t know. I knew I never would be happy if I didn't find myself. But I also know that I won't be happy in the future if I don't again find a love like the one we shared.
My inability to put her needs first changed everything. I didn't love and care for her more than I loved and cared for myself, and that changed the direction of my life. It changed the way I look at the world and interact with it. It altered my chances of finding true love.
It's incredibly difficult to put someone's wants, needs, hopes, dreams and happiness ahead of your own.
Granted, this is easier to do when we're overcome by passion and emotion -- as tends to happen in the "honeymoon stage." But doing it on an everyday basis isn't easy. And that's what love should be. It should be prioritizing the love of your life -- day in and day out.
When two people in a relationship care more for each other than they do for themselves, magic happens.
The only way to find happiness in life is to make others happy. Focusing only on your own happiness is pointless. And I'm not the only one saying that. It will just never fulfill you.
If you focus on your own success, nothing will ever be enough. Yes, it's true: The more you have, the less you want. But we want to want; we need to want. Wanting gives our lives purpose. And there is only one thing in the world that we will forever crave. That's love. No matter how much love we have in our lives, we will always find room for more.
I'm not going to tell you that all you need to do for love is put someone else's happiness over your own.
There's more to it than that. But when you do find the right person, you need to put yourself second. Be certain that you love this person more than you love yourself. If you don't, the relationship won't work.