It’s easy to become jaded about love — just looking at my own relationship resume and all the awful, toxic guys I’ve dated is enough to make me feel cynical and bitter. But I’m not going to let it happen — here’s why:
- Not every guy is a jerk. I hate when guys say all women are gold diggers or high maintenance, so how can I say that all guys are terrible? Yes, I’ve been hurt (a lot), but so have a lot of guys out there. It’s not like there’s a bunch of hurt reserved for women or that as women we’re just cursed to have our hearts broken.
- I have to take some responsibility. Okay, although I was in a lot of unhealthy relationships, it’s not like I can shift responsibility. Yes, some of it was out of my control (like dating an abuser), but other times my gut was telling me the guy in question was not worth my time and I ignored it time and time again. If I’d listened to my inner voice and GTFO, I would have minimized my pain.
- I go with Maya Angelou on this one. Poet and author Maya Angelou said it best: “To those who have given up on love, I say, trust life a little bit.” This is so true. After a string of toxic relationships, I found a guy who is so amazing, proving to me that there are always great people out there!
- What I call bad experiences actually helped me grow. Most of my self-growth happened during the worst relationships, so although I hate that I’ve gone through them, the pain has taught me so much more than the happiness ever could. It woke me up and pushed me to be stronger, not put up with crap and have higher standards.
- My past has no hold over my life. Life is so much more powerful than the past could ever be. My past, with all its heartache, is dead. Isn’t that a cool thought? If I kept on resurrecting it in my mind, I’d be allowing the ghosts to haunt me and stop me from being around the living now. It would also make me really angry, and who wants to feel that way?
- Every time I carry emotional baggage, those bastards win. Hey, everyone has some sort of emotional baggage, but carrying it through life is just exhausting for me. It also means I’m carrying the past into my present, sucking it of its potential. The best revenge on a painful past is to leave it in the dust that I create as I run away from it.
- Bitterness is just a defense mechanism, but one I don’t need. Sometimes what’s really going on beneath bitterness is a fear of getting hurt again. So the walls come up. After the last toxic relationship I had, I became bitter and shut myself off from love for months. A friend remarked how hard I had become, which made me realize I didn’t want to be a person hardened by life. That might block out the pain, but the disclaimer is that it also blocks out happiness.
- There’s a difference between being bitter and being wise. Being hurt so much has taught me that there’s always a choice: I can allow it to make me bitter or it can just make me wise. I chose the latter because it gives me more room to grow. Bitterness would only keep me stuck to who I was, and honestly, I’d rather focus on who I can be.