I’ve been hurt before.
I’ve been hurt several times.
I’ve experienced heartache in a way I wouldn’t recommend for my worst enemy.
It was the origin of all feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, and hatred.
I allowed heartache to be a heavy influence in the decisions I made. Most of which carried greater consequences, but at the time, I did not show any concern.
After the last break up with my child’s father, the time where I said “this was it” and actually followed through with it, I found myself making very careless decisions: engaging in relations with other men I never really took interest in, picked up a habit of smoking and drinking (more), and always looking for a babysitter to go out. Many would describe this as just living the college lifestyle, but for those who truly knew me, that was way outside of my character. I would blame my behavior on our broken relationship. He did this to me, therefore, this is why I am acting this way.
Little did I know how much power I was relinquishing from my own hands by succumbing to irrational emotions. I allowed the baggage from my former relationship to dictate my thoughts, actions, and behaviors from then on out.
I WAS AVOIDING ACCOUNTABILITY OF MY OWN FLAWS AND WRONGDOINGS.
I wanted to heal and recover so bad, but was going about it completely the wrong way. I was voluntarily ripping open my wound over and over again. With time, I did begin to heal and forgive, but I do know I am not all the way there yet.
I grew defensive VERY easy. The time it took to gain back self-respect, self-love, self-value, I’ve actually developed a very hard exterior that I don’t like peeling back. It is my protection, my covering. I developed a mindset to never let a man say certain things to me anymore or do certain things to me anymore. If I ever did have and interest in a guy and he did something as small as a mustard seed to offend me, I used that as my cue to drop him like we never met.
That was my repetition. No feelings. Things worked out better for me that way, I thought.
Until May of 2014, I entered into a relationship, and a serious one at that. I had already been friends with him for some years as we both went to the same university. This is my first relationship since my child’s father (even though I dated regularly but nothing official) so everything is completely new to me.
When I say everything he said and did was cause for me to jump to the defense, I mean EVERYTHING. It didn’t matter what it was, but I always found a reason to feel attacked by him. The first eight months of our relationship I always drove him to say,
“I DIDN’T DO THIS TO YOU!”
I was unfairly putting him in a position to mend a heart he had no parts in breaking.
It’s been a little over a year and a half in this relationship and I am beyond grateful for him, grateful for his love for my child, and grateful that he is willing to put up with my baggage. He is so patient with me. The crazy thing is if roles were reversed, I would’ve called it quits a long time ago.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about letting go of my emotional baggage in the time we’ve been together.
LOOK AT THE PERSON AND NOT THE ACT
In the times I feel offended by something he has said or done, I have to keep him in mind as a person. Do I trust his intentions? Yes. Do I think he would ever set out to hurt me? No. If he did offend me, do I think it was on purpose? No. I make it a constant effort now to remind myself of this, and I’m doing A LOT better (well, you’ll have to ask him).
REMEMBER THE FOUNDATION OF FRIENDSHIP
He is a very giving, selfless, and loyal individual. When we were just friends and I wasn’t checking for him (all of undergrad), he was always a good friend to others and me. Whether it was taking me to lunch, putting together furniture in my apartment, helping me move, or listening to my goals and aspirations! I can truly call him my homie, lover, and friend.
LEARN TO LOVE PAST THE FLAWS
If people just up and decided to leave us where we lay based on our flaws and shortcomings, all of us would be lonely individuals. He shows me my value as a person and that I was greater than my wrongs.
I don’t have it all together, but I do believe I have a healthier mindset and spirit because of him. I can honestly say I’ve loosened my grip on a lot of bags that Mama Erykah was speaking to me about years ago in her song ‘Bag Lady’:
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gon’ get in your way
My partner has even taken some bags from my hands and tossed them to their rightful place.
Peeling off this hard exterior is not easy, but because I know I am genuinely loved and cared for, it makes it a little bit easier. Those bags aren’t worth passing up opportunities for healing, redemption, and newness. And they definitely aren’t worth losing his friendship.
Do you have baggage that almost ruined a good relationship?