I hear phrases like these on a regular basis from women who claim they want to be in faithful, committed relationships. I’ve been guilty of the same. Kind of an oxymoron we are living. I’ve seen young ladies request prayer for their man in bible study, break curses over their boo’s life, speak life over his every endeavor and then when things don’t work out, claim that he is the worst, most trifling man they ever met. Of course, I understand that the root of this shift in energy is rooted in pain, fear, and rejection. Of course, I understand that sometimes thing go south in a relationship and it’s easy to blame one party, exclusively, for the demise of that relationship. But, I think many of us can account for bringing ‘that same energy’ into our next relationship, if we even make it that far. But who wants to live their life making decisions that are based in pain, fear and rejection? That is an obvious set up for either a tumultuous relationship or a life spent alone, despite not wanting to be.
I wrote a post a couple of years ago entitled ‘Things I Wish I Had Done After My Breakup.’ Thank God for growth, I feel differently about some of the things I wrote, and primarily what I wish I’d done after my past breakups was be more concerned about myself. I wish that I had been more introspective about how I could grow, heal and evolve from my past experiences. I wish I’d had a perspective of gratitude upon exiting those experiences. We are all beautiful creatures, crafted by The Maker, regardless of whether we happen to fall into the category of being someone’s ex. I wouldn’t be who I am without the men I’ve dated in the past, they helped shape me into the woman I am today and the woman I’m becoming. And while there may have been some bad times, there were so many good ones, beautiful memories and experiences that I can absolutely still smile about and be thankful for.
Here is what I learned, not about men, but about myself and what I want from the end of my past relationships.
ONE: What do we learn from puppy love? Before we are hurt, before we have any hang ups or generalizations about the opposite sex. Through this young man, I learned that I love simplicity and the man handling all dates financially. I learned that I love a nightly phone call where I can connect with the man I love. Shoot, I learned that I just love talking on the phone with my people! For me, there is nothing like genuine interaction and intimacy of a late night telephone call. I learned that I love doing simple, fun things. And I appreciate the elimination of guess work and the feeling of security that comes with knowing who is going to pay. You got it, boo. Thank you.
TWO: Ah, that young adult, we can do what we want, college love. From this, I learned the importance of friendship and how much I value it. There was a light heartedness that came from that foundation of friendship. I learned that sometimes I can put on a mask which is rooted in my desire to be perfect and that real love frees you from perfection and allows you to be who you are in any season and at any moment. I learned that life doesn’t always need to be scheduled and organized and planned out, spontaneity is refreshing and life giving. From this particular experience, I learned that I am so sentimental! I love keeping memories that remind me of the best times. And although spontaneity is beautiful, I learned that you can be intentional with both yourself and others about creating moments that you will remember forever.
THREE: Do situationships count as an ex? Lol. Sometimes, I feel like they count even more. What didn’t I learn? That’s the real question. I learned that it’s more about me than it is about others. I learned that old pain isn’t cute on a new woman, on a grown woman, on any woman. I learned that I can be humble and still understand that I am a high value woman, that my time is valuable and that I can’t allow the actions of others to dictate my behavior or my character. I found that avoiding my feelings isn’t the same as not letting them control me. I learned that I can’t take care of, love and cherish another person if I am not doing those things for myself. I learned that I have so much to offer, not just to a man, but to the world and I cannot lose sight of that whether I’m in a relationship or not. I learned that it’s OK to focus on what I want and align myself with it every day. And finally, I learned that unconditional love is a much easier practice when your cup is full and you love from a place of overflow.
I’m forever grateful for these these beautiful (black) men. [haha, I had to] Their presence, not just in my life, but here on this planet should be valued and I look forward to all of us flourishing in the next stages of life.
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