Every relationship has its ups and its downs. It’s how you channel the negativity you experience from the downs that really make a difference in you as an individual. I was once in a toxic relationship for three years that was bound to end. Often, we make the mistake of using that little bit of energy we have left when the fight ends to try and make up or mend the issue. I didn’t have the confidence at the time to completely walk away, but I did have the realization that I deserved more. I reached a breaking point that ended up being the greatest thing to happen to me. So instead of apologizing, instead of begging, instead of forgetting, I bought a plane ticket.
I set off to do the one thing I had only ever dreamt of doing: traveling alone.
My brother was the only person that knew I was leaving and that was only because I needed a ride to the airport. The rest of my family didn’t know until right before take-off and I chose not to read their responses until I had landed at my destination- Israel. I couldn’t risk someone deterring me from doing what I knew I had to do. No one could have prepared me for the life-changing experiences I would go through during my trip. I didn’t plan anything for my trip. Instead, I decided to live in the moment and see what happens when you live each day like it may be your last- safely, of course! I met unforgettable people from all over the world, I ate amazing food, and I walked more in one week than I had in my entire life.
These experiences would forever change my outlook on life. I learned that negative energy no longer had to consume me or control my behavior. The high I experienced during my trip, the high of enjoying life, didn’t come to an end when I came back. After a trip, for most of us, it’s easy to get back into the motions of everything we hate about our lives, whether it’s a relationship, a job, or even where we live. When I got back, I decided I wasn’t going to do this. Instead, I would try to correct the things about my life that didn’t bring me positivity. But I didn’t want to overwhelm myself by trying to fix everything at once. I started by rebuilding my confidence and learning how to prioritize me again.
I thought back to what was always important to me and what I slowly let go over time: creating, writing, building, thinking–I totally forgot how amazing that feeling was when you brought an idea to life.
Finding the courage to move on from my relationship was probably the hardest step. Not calling, not texting, not watching the dog, not watching Snapchat stories. I could only handle it one day at a time, but the following steps made it easier.
Look damn good. My confidence reached an all-time low and I slowly started to stop taking care of myself. It was time for a haircut. I even got a blow-dry (for the first time), bought new clothes, and Lasik eye surgery.
Try something new. I asked myself, “What did you always want to do?” I created a list and slowly checked things off, one-by-one. Motorcycle license, boudoir photoshoot, rock-climbing, another tattoo, sex museum, acting classes… just being a few examples.
Make new friends. My friends were always tied to the relationship I was in, but I couldn’t allow that to keep happening. I needed to build my own support unit.
Explore. I allowed so many things to continue to push me further away from the world, such as bad traffic, bad weather, mean people, high cost. I spent my free time driving around and exploring things by chance. I actively pushed myself to explore places.
Be single. From ages 15-25, I was in back-to-back long-term monogamous relationships. It was an endless cycle of emotional ups and downs. I started to spend time with people who mattered and stopped looking for love. I wanted to come across it by chance and be emotionally ready when it happened.
None of this happened overnight and not in that perfect order. It was over a course of about two years before I reached where I am now. It’s important to not criticize ourselves or live in a world where we think complaints or negativity will no longer exist. What matters is how we deal with those aspects of our life.
Want to make changes but don’t know where to start?
- Minimize negative people and environments – you cannot control how your friends act, but you can control who your friends are.
- Realign your focus – don’t dwell on the failures, instead congratulate wins and ask yourself, “What went well?” Pat yourself on the back, literally, and feel good about your accomplishments.
- No phones during lunch – pick a meal time during the day to completely disconnect while eating. Be in the moment, you and your food, or with the other people around you. Taste every bite, look around, and breathe.
- Take it one day at a time and see where you end up. This is definitely not a fix that will happen in a day or a month, but once you remember what is important the negative energy will no longer ruin your day or stop you from what you’ve always wanted to do.
Published by Vyky Saiz
Edited by Brittany Priore