For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with self-improvement.
I clearly remember the phone ringing as I dashed across the room to grab the receiver from the wall before any of my siblings could get to it.
We just got home from a two-week vacation down the shore with my mom. I haven’t seen my boyfriend since the night before we left.
He was a tall, slightly chunky boy I had been dating for two years. He was the leader of his pack and he chose to date me—the quiet, tiny girl, with the long, light brown hair.
He could have dated anyone, but he chose me.
“Hello?” I say out of breath from my sprint.
“Hi!” His sweet voice sings through the phone.
My heart does a happy dance.
“I’m breaking up with you,” he says.
Everything around me suddenly went silent.
For the following month, I sat in my room, cried, and sang along to “All Cried Out” by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.
What did I do wrong?
I made it my mission to fix what he didn’t like about me, so I could be better in my next relationship. The funny thing was, I didn’t even know why he dumped me. We were 12; it wasn’t supposed to last forever, but I took it so personally.
That is when my obsession with fixing myself began. This went both ways. Whether I was the dumper or dumpee, I felt the need to fix myself after each breakup.
I’ve read books on where I went wrong, how I contributed to the problem, and how to be better. Through the years, I have learned that I didn’t love myself, I had codependency issues, and I tend to hold on to the past for way too long—to name a few.
My question is: when do we just accept ourselves as we are without the need to fix ourselves? When do we just accept the fact that maybe—just maybe—we are not the problem.
I’ve been learning how to fix all my broken pieces my entire life. But why was I the one who needed to fix myself?
Most of the time, I wasn’t even the problem, so why do we feel the need to fix ourselves after a breakup? Do we think the ones who broke our hearts are putting time into fixing themselves? No—they are moving the fudge on and living life, just as they are.
So we should probably do the same, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I always feel that everyone should work on bettering themselves. I personally push myself every day to be a better person, to love a little harder, and to be the best version of myself. But I’ve obsessed for way too long on the fact that I need to fix myself—all the time.
But sometimes, it’s really not me; it’s the other person—it’s you.
For example, when someone cheats, this should be an easy one to understand. But some people will still think they did something wrong that made the other person cheat. This absolutely wasn’t your fault; you were faithful and trustworthy. You need to acknowledge the fact that this person wasn’t mature enough to handle all of your faithfulness and trustworthiness. You are better off without them.
Or when someone is a narcissist. But this one can be tricky because this person is so good at what they do that it’s their job to make you think it is your fault.
Trust yourself enough to see through their narcissistic ways and believe in your gut. It is never wrong, so don’t let this person ever make you doubt your gut feeling. You know deep within that this person will always make you feel like it’s you, but trust in yourself.
Or when someone lies. This person can’t be trusted and therefore, what in the world do you need to fix? You trusted that this person would be honest, and there is nothing wrong with being trusting. You have nothing to change here.
They hurt you time and time again, which means that this person simply doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter what you say or do—this person will never be the right person for you.
A loving relationship is when two people truly care for each other, and one that comes without hurt, as it would be painful for you to hurt the person you love. You can’t be faulted for the ways you love. So keep on loving—just not this person.
Each of these relationship scenarios is brought into our lives to teach us something; to learn the lesson and move on, so that when the right person comes, we don’t miss them.
We don’t need to always fix ourselves after a breakup, because we are perfect as we are, including our broken pieces.
At the end of the day, we might all be a little broken, and that is okay.
We should all work on ourselves in every area of our lives, except that we should work for ourselves—not for anyone else.
It definitely isn’t you. So don’t change your beautiful self for anyone else but you.