Society has done a great job in dictating the standards on how we should live our lives. Sike! Society says we should go to college, graduate, land an awesome career, get married, have children, etc. However, what if that wasn’t how the cards are dealt for us? Does that mean we have somehow failed? Of course not!
Imagine being in a relationship and not even realizing it’s unhealthy. It doesn’t start out that way (all the time), however, as time goes on, you choose to ignore red flags and before you know it, you’re emotionally invested in something that does you more harm than good.
From my own experience, I didn’t realize I was in an unhealthy relationship until after I got out. I was so consumed in making sure my significant other was happy that I didn’t realize the toll it was having on me. Honestly speaking, I’ve been in multiple unhealthy relationships. So much so, that I forgot what a healthy relationship was supposed to look and feel like.
I was recently having a conversation with my friend about this. She said to me, “Jazz, I don’t find myself thinking about him (the guy she’s dating) every moment of the day. Before I realize it, most of the day has gone by. When I finally hear from him though, it’s a pleasant surprise.” I had to self-reflect before I responded to her comment. I’ve been there before. Finding myself thinking of a guy more than I think about myself and all the other things going on in my life. It was then that I replied to her and said “It’s normal to not think about them all day. That allows you time to think about other things in your life”. It was as if I was having an outer body experience. I found myself talking to the old Jazz, prior to all the growth I’ve made over the past few month,s as well as to my friend.
My challenge in the past has always been that once I liked someone, I’d consume myself with them and how to make them happy. When in reality, I should have continued to put myself first. Dating or being in a relationship should compliment who you already are. It shouldn’t validate or define who you are entirely.
In a healthy functioning relationship, you should be able to live your life as an individual without feeling the risk of losing your relationship by doing that. That’s where I struggled for years. I had been in so many unhealthy relationships that I thought abandoning who I was as an individual was normal. Doing whatever I needed to do to try to keep someone else from doing what they wanted to do was what I thought the societal standard was. After realizing the toll these relationships had on my confidence, emotional healthy, physical health, and even other relationships, I had to make a change. It was time to define my new normal in my own way.
This pandemic has caused the new normal that consists of wearing face masks, social distancing, and washing your hands more than before. The pandemic also forced a slow-down in how we date people and we are now more able to evaluate or process situations better before we are actually in them in some cases. Creating a new normal doesn’t have to be a bad thing. A new normal can save lives! So, I’ve decided to take the steps necessary to create my new normal. My life depended on it. You can do the same.
My journey has consisted of therapy, prayer, bible devotion, exercise, and self-reflection. This journey hasn’t been easy. This journey is ongoing. I believe this journey is helping prepare me for my future spouse. Sometimes challenges come to build our character, display our weaknesses, and show us areas of improvement. Though the challenges don’t always feel good, I know the reward will be worth it in the end. The thought of being confident in who I am as a black woman despite my past is a place I’m getting closer to each day! I have confidence now, but I know there is so much more happiness ahead for me. There is happiness ahead for you too.
If you’re like me, and you’ve been in unhealthy relationships in the past, it’s not too late to change things for the better. Remember, it won’t be easy, but you’re not alone, and it’ll be worth it in the end.
Living Out Loud is a place in life where we can live without guilt or shame, where the opinions of others won’t impact how we see ourselves or live our lives, and where our past doesn’t hold us back from the bright future that lies ahead.
Choose to do the work with me so that we can all Live Out Loud!