I don’t have a strained relationship with my family, but I can tell you a story of how my life was transformed.
From the ages of 18-nearly 23, I was in an abusive relationship. Actually, scratch my previous statement… things *were* strained with my family, because I didn’t have the guts to leave the guy. I thought for sure he’d kill me or hurt me. I tried to break things off with him a couple times– needless to say, he wouldn’t let me go without a fight. Finally, I broke up through a text message. I knew this was the only way. He was at my house several minutes later, trying to break the front door down. I wouldn’t see him. He stalked me for a bit, did some pretty awful thing to try to manipulate his way back in my life. I stood my ground.
I lost myself in that relationship. After becoming single for the first time since I was 16, I had no idea who I was. It was a long recovery to ground myself, to create a good life for myself, the sort I knew I deserved. Here are my tips to you:
(1) Treat yourself with kindness. You are magnificent. You are beautiful. You have something incredible and unique to offer the world. Treat youself with the kindness you deserve, and you will attract people in your life that will treat you as you treat yourself. Spoil yourself. This doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Take a long bath, listen to your favorite music, cook yourself something grand. Do it regularly. Do this because you love yourself, and if you don’t feel you love yourself, do it because you’re learning to love yourself. Having a good relationship with yourself is the basis of all other relationships, romantic and platonic.
(2) Drop any negative influences in your life. When I was in an abusive relationship, I had many friends who were also dating abusers. After I ended it, I realized I wanted something different in my life, and those friends were keeping me down. I let them go. I’ve since met amazing people who have nothing but zeal for life and all the world has to offer. They encourage me and my dreams. You deserve to spend *your* precious time only with people who make you feel good.
(3) Find your bliss. If you haven’t already. Find whatever it is that you’re passionate about, and pursue it. This means trying a lot of new things, getting out of your comfort zone. It might mean signing up for a ceramics class, writing poetry for the first time, baking a pie from scratch. Whatever it is, find it and never let it go. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing, makes you feel so amazing that time flies while you’re doing it– this is your bliss. This is one of the things that makes life worth living and will give you a sense of purpose. “Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were only walls” –Joseph Campbell.
(4) Volunteer. Sometimes we need to see people who have even less in order to take our minds off ourselves. Not that you need to take your mind off yourself, but focusing on the needs of others helps us to be grateful for everything we’ve got.
You will meet someone who will care for you deeply, encourage you and all your dreams, help you be the best version of who you are with kindness and love. It will happen. In the meantime, do things that make you feel good about you. Make sure when you meet him, you’re wildly beautiful from being so passionate about life and the pursuit of your dreams. I think you will have a family one day– imagine telling your daughters all you learned from being on your own. You will be such a strong mother and example for them. Even this sucky situation might be, one day, seen in a positive light.
I hope you feel better soon. Do something for me. Make sure you treat yourself to the most kick-ass Christmas ever. Plan something really wonderful and exciting. You deserve it.