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This Is How You Love and Respect Yourself, As Told By Someone Who Had Lost And Found Herself The Hard Way

I have always confused “love” with “infatuation,” hence dating a bunch of guys. And although I had only loved two men for real half a decade, my reputation of being a ‘slut’ precedes me until today.

People, especially my best friends; let alone mom and dad, kept telling me to “love myself first” and to “respect myself.” I never knew what that bullshit meant before until I got my heart severely broken by a fuckboy who disrespected me in the cruelest way.

Before, when I was younger and naïve (like all of us were), I would always quickly jump into dating guys right after I knew them. And when I got my heart broken, I try to replace them with another man to ‘immediately’ ease the pain.

I was afraid of being alone back then, and the only thing I thought of doing to cease that hideous fact is to date. I also kept going back to exes who’ve hurt me over and over, just because they felt familiar… and “company.”

When the aforementioned fuckboy destroyed my reputation, verbally abused me, took away (some) of my money, and replaced me with another woman amidst the fall down three to four months ago, I realized a bunch of things that I haven’t in the past five years I’ve been dating. And when I did, I realized how much of a jerk I was to myself, leading me to finally understand what that “bullshit” from long ago really meant (loving and respecting yourself, as advised by my best friends and mom & dad).

What I’ve learned at this very moment of my life is that you can’t control what is or what will happen in your life, but you can always control how you can react along the process. Social media can’t help you brush those off. I mean, displaying a strong persona of a woman who ‘doesn’t easily succumb to her vulnerability’ doesn’t shrug that off. Because even if you keep posting how much of an ‘independent woman that doesn’t need a man’ you are but deep inside feels like a lonely little girl who needs loving, you’d be very much ‘full’ of all the words you’ve said (… or typed) when someone who makes you feel ‘loved’ comes along.

Loneliness is a bitch. It makes you do crazy things that destroy you. Let alone make you jump for impulsive bad decisions just so you could cope up with it. But let me tell you something: things are better off when you’re happy alone than lonely with someone else. And when you’re (already) happy alone, then you’re on the first step onto loving yourself more.

I honestly lost myself out there because of I felt lonely. As mentioned, I tried dating or going back to an ex just so I could cope up with it. But here’s the thing – when you lose yourself out there, your self-love and self-respect will start to slowly diminish. You’ll end up trying to find it from men to men, thinking their love is your way back. But it isn’t.

When you lose yourself out there, finding your way back is harder than the searching. You won’t even recognize you’ve already destroyed yourself in the first place, let alone along the process.

When you give everything of you without leaving some for yourself – or say, giving every piece of you to just anyone – you’re going to look for it elsewhere, most especially when you have nothing else to lose. Consider yourself buying a bag of bread from the last buck you own because you’re hungry, and when people who claim to be ‘hungry’ wanted some of it and thought you’d share, you ended up giving them the whole bag instead.  And because there’s no bread left for you and got hungry again then, you go along finding a piece of it from someone you think has one.

But the bread isn’t in them. It’s in you all along. You should have learned how to create bread first with the last buck you own before giving it all away.

In this metaphor, the bread is the act of “love.”  Finding, loving and completing yourself steps in when you know how to create one to suffice for yourself.  Since you’ll be needing a foundation of it, you will need to learn more about yourself.  And in the bread metaphor, investing the last buck you have into learning how to make one tells you that you should invest some time into knowing yourself deeply (before you can create one). Once you already know how to show that expertise, giving it away for free would never be a heartache.

When you find yourself and learn more about how to choose and empower you, you’d learn to give everything for the person you love, while making sure you have some for yourself. If he’s not the one? Then leave him be. Move on to the next. Same as when you know how to make bread, you wouldn’t mind giving it to the hungry people without losing one for yourself again. And when a person full of gluttony in his eyes asks you for one and wastes it? Well, at least you still know how to make one.

When I realized these things and compared them to my past relationships that kept repeating alongside my never-ending situation with different men, that’s when I knew what I lacked: self-love and self-respect. I didn’t know! I didn’t know where to start, or how was it done. All I knew for step one was I needed to invest my time for myself, learn how to be happy alone, and be really happy with the people that matter. I thought it was all about the how you should look, but actually, it’s all about how it should feel.

You know, redeeming yourself isn’t too late, though. You can always hit restart and start over with life. When you realize it’s time to walk away, and that you deserve better, you start loving yourself. And that’s what also constitutes self-respect – when you know how to love yourself now.

I’ve realized all of this when for the first time in forever, I haven’t gone dating other men to stitch my wounds and heal my broken heart. I realized I could be happy alone when I started hanging out more with my friends and family instead. Along the process, came the greatest price of all. And I’d never trade this one for anything in the world.

So here’s the thing: when you love someone, you don’t destroy them. You nurture them. At the same time, if you love yourself, you won’t destroy you or do anything that could potentially destroy you either. Do not ever go back to the person you don’t deserve, or settle for someone because loneliness keeps kicking in. Instead, do the things that make you happy. Nurture yourself. Pamper yourself. Put yourself first. Make yourself feel good. Choose you – always you. And stay the hell away from those losers who only want something out of you.

Self-respect comes in next. When you love yourself, you stay away from the things that are bad for you. In my case, I came to realize this when that fuckboy from four months ago tried to reconcile and be friends with me after all the disrespect and social media disses. I realized, “why should I be friends with someone who caused too much pain in the ass after using and destroying me?” You wouldn’t believe how good it felt when I finally said, “no.” I felt empowered. I felt like a badass, lady-boss. And in that moment, I felt what self-respect was after all those years.

I am telling you my story because I don’t want this experience and ‘once in a lifetime’ lesson to be put to waste. I have always learned things the hard way, especially this one, and this is the least I could do to contribute to mankind: write my lessons. And my dear, if you’re struggling enough to love and respect yourself (may it be because of anxiety and/or past experiences), don’t ever wait for a fuckboy to destroy you just so you’d ‘know’ what it is. This saying may be too overrated, but it is entirely true that you should know what you really do deserve and give yourself the same kind of love you give to others (hell, I believe you should be giving yourself more!). Remember, your mother didn’t struggle enough to push you out of her womb, gave you everything she has, and nurtured you to be the woman you are now, just to be destroyed by someone (err, a fuckboy for instance) who never gave many contributions to your life on the first place.

You deserve better. Always always always remember that.

Thank you to the ones who never gave up on me: BEST friends, family, and the people I never thought nor expected to stick around. You guys rule!



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