Losing Yourself in a Relationship

I remember standing in front of my mirror, eye to eye with the reflection of myself, feeling numb and confused. I didn’t recognize myself. Not in the way of which I truly saw my reflection distorted, yet when I stared at the reflection of the face staring back – I felt a deep disconnect and dissociation. My fingertips felt numb on my skin. I didn’t know what to do but to sleep away the feeling. I was within the first week of my first major breakup. It was at this moment that I realized that I had lost a sense of myself.

Although I am young in perspective, I feel like this was a huge moment for me in my growth. At first, it was extremely scary. I was walking in constant unease. Everything felt black and white. My mundane tasks flew by me as my tunnel vision zeroed in on my emotions, which at the time were nowhere near being happy. Honestly, it really sucked.

During that time, I was attending therapy and I remember my therapist giving me a simple task to do that changed my perspective on everything. She asked me to write down the top 3-5 things I was truly passionate about. Once I completed that, she asked me to compare my effort with engaging in these things from before and after my relationship. I recognized that a few of the things I wrote down remained about the same but a few of the others I had blown off – one being friendships. I was spending a lot of time with my significant other and neglecting to make an effort to spend more time with the other people that had just as much importance in my life.

Along with neglecting friendships, I found a bunch of other things I had been pushing off. To my surprise, all of these things related to bettering myself as a whole. As a whole. As a whole…because I realized, I was not just a half or even less than. I began to spend a lot of my time doing yoga, reconnecting with my friends, and doing whatever I could to change my environment. Even changing my sheets on my bed helped bring a sense of peace.

Back then, I would’ve completely ignored anyone who told me it was going to get better. The only thing that made me feel like I was going to be okay was when I would purge my feelings onto paper. Yet, the time went by and every day I felt less and less dependent. I began to grasp a sense of myself again, and that was a powerful feeling to have back.

Since then, I have gained a new respect for myself when it comes to being in a relationship. I am aware of the red flags, I am cognizant of my emotional meter, and I am putting most of my effort into loving myself first. I often think people forget that a relationship should be about a team effort. This equal effort is to maximize each other’s happiness by having the other around. No one should ever feel anything close to how I felt. Everyone should be able to look in the mirror and say “that’s me, I am loved, and I am enough.”

- Harmony B.

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