In a generation that prides itself on independence, love often goes awry.
Despite the hope that the connection you’ve made with another person is somehow different, more rare and more definite than any other, life has a reputation of getting in the way.
You outgrow and get tired of each other, and sometimes, someone newer and more mysterious comes along and lies in the space you used to fill.
You try to guard your heart, knowing the possibility of regret, but it’s no easy feat.
You end up caring more than you believed you ever would, and when your partner is gone – out of reach or under the cloak of friendship – you can’t help but hang on for dear life.
You cling to the sadness, the hatred or the hope.
When you’ve run through every emotion you could feel, you turn back to what you know best: the independence of being out of love and letting that be okay.
But when you question why your ex had to leave, and why you had to let him or her go, remember these small truths:
1. You can hate your ex, but it’s easier to let it go.
You probably don’t realize the excessive amount of time you spend listing all the reasons why your ex sucks as a human.
What you could be doing instead is focusing on the people around you who don’t suck, yourself included.
Hating is just as active an emotion as loving, and your ex isn't worth either one. You’re better than that.
2. Your ex is not a monster, and you’re not a saint.
Judge away, but neither of you will ever be perfect. That vision you keep in your mind of what you should’ve been, or what would’ve been if your ex wasn't so deficient at life, is simply fiction.
When you swore to yourself (and all of your friends) your ex was the worst thing that ever happened to you, you were giving him or her way too much credit.
Your ex was capable of breaking your heart, but not much more.
You can cast all the blame on your ex's shoulders, but it won’t lessen your guilt. It’s all right, kid. You fell in love.
3. Eventually, the bad is worth the good.
Your memory is defensive of you, and it’ll only replay the horrible things that occurred so you don’t go back.
Those small interims of light and playfulness, of kisses on foreheads and childhood stories told for hours will be purposefully forgotten.
The few nice things your ex said and did, in the shadow of everything else, will seem like a fantasy.
But it happened, and it’s worth remembering.
It’s what will help you let your ex go, despite how strange that may seem. It justifies everything you once questioned, and will become your saving grace because, no, you were never crazy.
It all happened. Your ex cared.
4. Look at who you are as a result of your ex, and be grateful.
You may not want to admit it, but your ex changed you. He or she altered your entire existence just by walking into your life.
When your ex made you smile uncontrollably, it inspired you to be better, to be more. When your ex broke you so irreparably that you lost the ease of laughter, you could feel yourself toughening with every moment.
Deep down, you knew you'd have a chance at a new beginning.
Regardless of whether or not your ex gave it to you, you were always chasing your own happiness because of him or her.
5. It was never a rejection of you.
Odds are it was a lot more than that. If your ex got to know you, every facet of what makes you who you are, and felt he or she could do without you, that’s his or her ill judgment.
You know your worth, and how much your loved ones value you. If your ex couldn’t do the same, then he or she never deserved a moment of your life.
But your ex got everything you were willing to give, and you should never be ashamed of that. You were all that you could be to your ex, all he or she would let you be. And the beauty of it is you tried and failed brilliantly.
You gave it your best shot.
6. You won’t get over it, but you will move on.
Let’s face it: Every time you “accidentally” run into your ex, you’ll be assaulted with flashbacks of the memories you both share. You’ll miss the idea of it all, and the bubble of happiness that only remains in your dreams. You feel as if you no longer have the right to look at your ex the way you did, and he or she hesitates over your name.
It dawns on you with terrible clarity that you’ll always react to your ex this way; your ex will always be what once was. But you also know what’s important to you and what makes you happy, and your ex is neither.
7. Eventually happens sooner than you think.
On a day that seems like any other, you’ll wake up to a new perspective. You’ll rely on the fact that whomever is meant to be in your life will be. You won’t pity yourself because your ex didn’t stay; you’ll be proud you didn’t need him or her to.
You’ll be grateful for all the ones who did, and you'll accept them for who they are. But most importantly, you’ll never define yourself by the people who didn’t love you back.
You’ll define yourself by how you loved them anyway.