By T.M. Brunson
I have a host of single girlfriends. The ones that I'm closer to are looking for companionship/a partnership with someone; but they've gone through lots of ups and downs.
Recently, I noticed a change in one of my girlfriends. Before, she seemed sad—a lot. She had been with someone, off and on, for years. She wasn't happy in her relationship (if you could call it that.)
She told me that once she realized that she was giving 80 to their 20 and replaced that 80 that you give to someone with giving 80 back to yourself, it was a game-changer.
I sat back and thought about it.
All of that energy that one spends giving so much of oneself to someone else, trying to please them and make them happy, trying to organize date nights, or bending over backwards to make sure you look good for them...it's exhausting!
It just made me think about past relationships and how much I have given of myself for other people. I am a giver; and I'm not sure I would even know how to react to being a receiver. However, I need to learn. I would change plans to accommodate other people's schedules. I would decide not to do something that I wanted to do because another person didn't want to do it.
I would lose myself in someone else.
Over. And over. And over again.
I very rarely was in a short relationship. My shortest one being three months—when I was young and dumb and felt bad about breaking up with someone and ended up buying him a pair of sneakers. Did I think that he needed a parting gift? He was no dummy. He accepted them. 😂
My average being seven years. I was blindsided by that one because I didn't see the signs. I dropped four dress sizes because I was devastated and, maybe, a little depressed.
My longest relationship being 15 years. And when we parted ways, it felt like a death because I gave SO much of myself. Constantly.
In a rom-com, this would be seen as a positive thing because you're just so in love that you "lose yourself," lose all sense of time...and become "one" with someone else.
However, in reality, when you lose yourself...your well-being, you lose the best part of you and get used to doing what others want to do and forget what you like to do.
Then the change happens.
When you get rid of the negative thoughts in your mind... it's another game-changer.
It really helps you to open up.
It's an amazing feeling.
Now I'm not going to lie. You might feel weird at first because you're so used to giving all the time.
But once you have self-awareness, you will be less stressed. You will find peace. You might have less friends; but you will be happier. My goal for the past two years was to find peace.
THE AGE-OLD QUESTION
Someone recently asked me: besides your kids, what makes you truly happy?
I had to think about it. Like, literally, I paused for a very long time. Everything cycled back to my kids because they are at the top of my mind in everything that I do. I haven't thought about myself in SO long, that I didn't even know where to begin to think about what makes me happy.
I've always wanted to travel more, so I know that traveling makes me happy. That's, basically, all I could think of as an answer to that question.
I'm on the other side of my mid-40s now. I am getting older. Things are happening. Back issues. Blood pressure issues... I am incorporating more water and more exercise (moving my body) and less salt.
At one point, I wasn't thinking very positively and thought I would have a stroke and die, so I, impulsively, booked a trip away, by myself, to relax. I am not broadcasting going away because I know how people feel about women, especially women of color, traveling alone and disappearing. I've told a few key people in my life (who are not worry-warts) so I will have a chain of people to reach out to just in case something happens.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
What has been the biggest game-changer in your life?
Please feel free to share your happy thoughts in our FB group @allmommyissues.com.